Get a Good Night's Sleep

good-sleep-naturalOne sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep…

I won't look at the clock…

It would be so great to get a good night's sleep...

Oh my goodness is it morning already? Oh no …

How do you increase your chances of a good night's sleep? What are the natural ways to get your body to rest and feel well rested after a good night's sleep when you wake up?

Around 10% of adults have long term problems sleeping and around 50% of us have some periods of insomnia (sleep trouble) at some point in our life. Most of us don't want to take any sleeping pills or drugs to make us sleep so what are the natural ways to get a good night's sleep?

Firstly maybe we can remove the cause?

Poor sleep often happens when we are stressed or for women pre-menstrual or when we've had too much coffee, maybe even some alcohol, stress and are pre-menstrual. For the guys – stress, alcohol all contribute to poor sleep.

In my holistic practice some of the common things I see are people who go off to sleep okay and then wake with adrenal cortisol (stress hormone) in the early hours worrying, or people who are so wired they can't go off to sleep in the first place or wake only after a brief sleep and lie awake for ages.

So what can you do?

Nutritionally magnesium deficiency is important for sleep. Magnesium is the mineral that is like Nature's calming mineral. A drink of Calcium and Magnesium before bed can really calm the body and help a better sleep.

We also need a good Vitamin D level to be able to absorb our minerals so getting a sunshine boost with exercise outside helps sleep. Do you remember as a child how well you slept after running around outside all day?

If you are in an office or work environment all day and on a computer try to take some supplemental Vitamin D, magnesium with calcium and see if you can have some time off the computer 1-2 hours before your bedtime.

I've tried it all ways and notice if doing computer work after about 10pm at night it definitely makes the body more awake and seems to turn off the melatonin that would normally be released by the body when you are in a dark room at night.

Avoiding coffee later in the day is a good idea too. Give alcohol a complete miss if you are really having trouble with sleep.

If you think you are wired and exhausted with early morning waking then see someone to help you with an adrenal check-up and adrenal herbs and nutrients so you are not spiking a big rush of adrenaline and cortisol at night keeping you awake.

The other traditional Chinese idea is that waking around 2-3am has something to do with the liver and gallbladder health. I have patients over the years that have gone on liver cleansing diets like Sandra Cabot or cut down their meals in the evening and only had a vegetarian light evening meal and animal protein earlier in the day and started sleeping better. It seems loading the body up with meat that is hard to digest later in the day can contribute somewhat to staying awake.

Hormonally women in their 30's and late 40's to 50's sometimes need some help with female herbs or natural progesterone type creams or products to help restore calm mood and sleep. I have helped many women with natural female hormonal preparations. There is more to this such as dark curtains, a good bed and so on.

In principle you can try chamomile tea, a good book once in bed and a walk during the day to help get you ready for sleep. Taking some magnesium at night before bed and using the other tips above can help sleep.

Here's to a good night's rest!