Insomnia also referred to as habitual sleeplessness is the inability to sleep. It may be caused by many health conditions including, anxiety, depression, stress, too much caffeine, stimulants, and more. According to a study done by the CDC (Center For Disease Control), one out of every three adults in the United States is not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep, nightly. Additionally, studies have shown that women are more likely to suffer from habitual sleeplessness than men.
If you’re one of those people who find it increasingly difficult to come by adequate sleep at night, and you’re not a fan of over the counter or prescription sleep aids, you might want to consider some of these alternative and natural solutions.
Magnesium is a mineral that produces a sleep inducing chemical called serotonin. Experts recommend 250 to 400 mg of magnesium taken with calcium (600 to 1000 mg in gluconate, chelate or citrate forms) ) and a fruit (grapefruit) or fruit juice near bedtime. Doing so decreases the time it takes to fall asleep, decreases the number of times you awaken and increases REM (Rapid Eye Movement/paradoxical sleep) and deep sleep.
Chamomile is a herb with mild sedative properties. Drinking it in tea form several times throughout the day helps to calm and soothe the nervous system and promote restful sleep.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin. Serotonin, in turn, slows and calms nerve activity, giving the body a “feel good” signal. During the nighttime, serotonin is converted to melatonin, another hormone, which regulates sleep. Sources include bananas, figs, nut butter, dates, milk, turkey, tuna, lettuce, whole grain crackers, or
Lavender is an essential oil that contains calming properties. Inhaling the oil or rubbing a small amount on the base of your throat can be an effective sleep aid.
Conscious or diaphragmatic breathing supports the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, repair and digest. Breathing exercises throughout the day and before sleep keep the body in a calm state thus promoting better sleep at night.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.