As a mom of two, I often wonder if I truly valued my sleep before I had kids. For example, did I know how lucky I was to have the option to sleep until noon on weekends, instead of praying for the clock not to show a time earlier than 7AM on a bright Saturday morning when the kids run into the room? While it’s understandable for parents of young children not to get too much sleep, unfortunately, millions of adults suffer with sleep problems without anyone bothering them. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that about 70 millions Americans can’t get a good night’s sleep.
Most people need about eight hours of sleep to function. I, for example, thrive on ten hours, while my husband can be fully functional on just six hours of sleep. Whether you can’t fall asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, those are sleep issues that will affect you the next day. Lack of sleep leads to a groggy, tired feeling throughout the day, coupled with problems concentrating, issues with memory and even depression.
If you are plagued by sleep problems, the first step is to see a doctor to make sure you don’t have an actual disorder. Sleep apnea, a condition where someone can stop breathing for a few seconds while asleep, as well as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), the need to move legs continuously because of an uncomfortable feeling, can both interfere with much needed sleep. If you suffer from these or other disorders, a doctor can diagnose it and treat it, helping you to sleep better
Natural Sleep Remedies and Sleep Aids
1. Homeopathy – I grew up using homeopathy to treat various ailments and issues, and Hyland’s has been instrumental in helping me fall asleep when my mind is running or I had too much caffeine late in the day. I use a product by this line called Insomnia, but this has been discontinued and replaced with Calms Forte. Homeopathy is completely natural, has no toxins, and is not habit forming. You can use it every day, or whenever the need arises.
2. Valerian Root – Valerian root has been used as a herbal sleep aid for centuries. I use it when I have a particularly stressful day to help me unwind and destress. I call Valerian a “natural Xenax” because I can feel my nerves calm after a few minutes of using the product. There have been studies done on the effects of this natural sleep remedy for insomnia, and several studies have backed up its effectiveness. Valerian comes in several forms, such as capsules, or what I like to use, drops.
Mayo Clinic reports that Valerian is most effective as a natural sleep remedy after being taken for two weeks. There is no exact dose, so read the directions on the box, and try doses for yourself to see which one is the most effective. The site also cautions that Valerian ” increases the sedative effect of depressants, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and narcotics… can interfere with some prescription medications… [and]… may interact with other dietary supplements, such as St. John’s wort.”
3. Environment – Although many people like a quick fix to their issues, and prefer to purchase a sleep aid, your environment is actually a big determinant of sleep quality. It has been found that any amount of light, even a small light from electronic devices, can interfere with sleep. In my house, we have blackout curtains in all of our bedrooms to block out sunlight. Also, blocking sound is a big help. When I travel, I pack ear plugs to help me sleep; at home, you can use a sound machine with peaceful sounds, such as ocean waves, to lull you to the dreamland. Reducing light and sound will go a long way in eliminating sleep problems; if not, try to use these natural sleep remedies before turning to dangerous prescription sleep medication.
Sleep is essential to function and take care of your family! Don’t lie awake night after night with no sleep in sight; instead try one of these three tips for a good night’s sleep!