There is a new health epidemic to worry about – and it is completely preventable. Striking nearly 60% of the general population, this danger is causing all sorts of problems including depression, weight gain, premature aging, high blood pressure and even fatal accidents. Causing more than 1,500 fatal car accidents every year and more than 40,000 non-fatal injuries, it is a disorder that needs to be stopped! So what is this dangerous health concern? According to researchers it is a lack of sleep.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated clearly in its 2013 report that “insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.” Later that year, the Better Sleep Council acknowledged that 48% of American adults fail to get enough sleep, with 35% of the general population getting less than seven hours of sleep daily – that’s almost 20% less than the recommended amount needed for optimal health. With statistics this startling, it is time for action.
Sleep Is Vital To Good Health
Sleep does more than make you feel rested. It is a vital component to good health. Without the proper amount of quality sleep the body is unable to:
- Recharge the brain.
- Repair damaged cells.
- Release essential hormones.
Fail to get enough sleep and none of these functions can take place – and that can leave vital organs and systems struggling to work properly.
Tips For Getting More Sleep
What keeps you awake at night? Put worry and restlessness to rest without using medication. Here are five natural ways to induce the kind of sleep your body craves.
Establish A Schedule
The human body loves schedules. It works best when it is prepared for the next activity – even if that activity is sleep. By going to bed at the some time every night, you are signaling your mind and body that it is time to succumb to slumber.
Of course, preparing yourself for bed at the same time is also important. This includes:
- Stay away from caffeine for an hour or so before your scheduled bedtime.
- Avoid heavy and spicy meals before bed, as well as sugary snacks.
- Stay away from the TV, computer, cell phone and computer games for at least two hours before retiring ( the activity, noise and blue light emitted from these devices can all inhibit melatonin production in the brain and keep you awake).
- Eliminate distractions (light, noise, etc).
- Develop a bedtime routine like brushing your teeth, getting into comfy PJ’s, reading, mediating, etc).
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are a wonderful all-natural way to help you relax – plus they induce sleep. Here are some basic sleep-inducing essential oils to try:
- Lavender: Known for its ability to make you relax and fall asleep, lavender can be rubbed into the wrist or temple, or simply sprayed on your bed linens for good results.
- Vetiver: Offering a strong smell, this oil is distilled from the plant’s roots and is a wonderful help for people who have a hard time shutting off their brain at night.
- Roman Chamomile: A light smell that induces relaxation, this soothing oil helps to include a feelings of peace.
- Marjoram: Great for rubbing into sore muscles and joints, this oil works well to ensure a calming sleep.
Tips: How To Use Essential Oils For Sleep
Essential oils can be used several ways for inducing a good night’s sleep:
- Topically: Simply rub the oil into the neck, wrists or temple.
- In the Air: Using a diffuser is simple and effective way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils all through the night.
- Linen Spritz: This is a simple technique that works well for many people. Simply mix your favorite essential oils with some water and spritz onto your bed linens and pillows before snuggling in for a comfortable night’s sleep.
You may think that you are an expert at breathing – after all, you do it all day long – but most people don’t breathe correctly, and that can affect sleep.
Breathing deeply and thoroughly is a skill that takes practice. But once you master it you will realize abundant health benefits; including the ability to sleep better. Here are some tips for better breathing:
- Take in each breathe slowly, hold and release (slowly).
- Breathe through your mouth; not your nose.
- Allow your stomach to protrude outward while in taking a breath (this allows you to take in sufficient oxygen); then flatten when exhaling.
The key to relaxation breathing before bed is to slow down and concentrate on your breathing technique.
No matter what type of meditation technique you use, the goal here is to get your mind to stop racing and calm your spirit before heading to bed. Some people use mantras; soothing music; still others yoga; while some simply clear their mind and relax for a few minutes. Each of these methods can be very effective in helping to slow down your thoughts and relax your body before retiring.
Relax Those Tense Muscles
Trying to sleep with tense muscles is like trying to stop a car while pushing on the gas pedal. It doesn’t work.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a simple technique that only takes a few minutes, yet is great at getting the whole body to relax. It requires focusing on every section of the body individually (face, shoulders, arms, backs, hips, butt, legs and feet).
The technique is simple: start with one area (like the face); tense the muscles in that area; hold for 2-3 seconds and then slowly release. By the time you get to your feet, you will notice that every muscle in your body is relaxed and ready to settle down for the night.
For many people, simply falling asleep can be a real chore. The key to a restful nights sleep is finding ways to prepare your body for sleep; calming the mind and emotions; and simple relaxing.
Proper sleep is vital to good health and a productive day. Try some of the tips above tonight and indulge in a something you’ve only dreamed of in the past – a good night’s sleep!