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Beat Sleep Deprivation With 7 Natural Remedies

Are you having trouble falling asleep? Insomnia can cause many effects on the mind and body including depression, fatigue, mood swings, inability to focus, and increase in appetite. Before you reach for the over the counter sleep aid, keep in mind that experts caution sleeping pills are not always safe or effective. Here are seven natural ways to fall asleep fast:

Eat a snack

Eating a calming snack about 90 minutes before bed like 1/2 a bowl of oatmeal with slice banana or a bowl of low-fat ice cream can help the sleeping process. Choose a low protein, high carbohydrate snack that will allow your metabolism to slow before bed.

Take Valerian root

This natural supplement prompts your brain to produce neurotransmitters that make you sleepy.

Take a break

Give yourself a massage by rubbing lotion in circular motions on areas of muscle tightness in your body. This promotes healing and relaxation resulting in a blissful sleep.

Enjoy a nice soak

Soaking in a warm bath raises your body temperature, and the cool down experienced after getting out of the bath produces a calming sleepiness. Add Epsom salts or a soothing lavender oil to the bath for a spa like experience.

Bath Soak

Lavender

A lavender scented eye mask or pillow will help you fall asleep in no time. The scent from lavender oil enhances slow-wave sleep, the very deep slumber in which the heartbeat slows and muscles relax.

Herbal tea

Caffeine free chamomile tea is a warm, soothing drink to sip on before bed. It promotes relaxation and peace.

Herbal Tea

Do yoga

As a form of mind-quieting physical activity, yoga does wonders for relaxation. Also, studies show that those who exercise sleep more hours than those who do not exercise. Yoga is the best of both worlds allowing your body to break a sweat and stretch at the same time.

Does Hypoallergenic Bedding Really Work?

Around 20 million people in the US alone suffer from allergies to dust mites and other allergens. My children are two of them. They suffer from such symptoms as breathing problems, sneezing, and hives when they are exposed to certain allergens. Hypoallergenic bedding like mattress covers was one of the first items that my allergy specialist recommended for allergy management. A number of people wonder if hypoallergenic bedding works. I am here to answer that question for the allergy sufferers in the world: Hypoallergenic bedding is quite effective in allergy management for children and adults. It can create the perfect treatment plan when it is used in conjunction with other treatment methods.

What is Hypoallergenic Bedding?

Hypoallergenic bedding consists of items such a pillows and pillowcases, comforters, mattresses, sheets, covers and the like. Manufacturers create this special bedding with the intention of causing the least amount of allergic reactions from a sufferer. Most hypoallergenic bedding is made of synthetic material as opposed to down filled materials that cause allergic reactions. Some hypoallergenic bedding is made of vinyl because vinyl is a material that repels dust mite droppings. Dust mites are located everywhere, and their droppings cause allergic reactions because they settle in the sheets, pillows and covers.

Hypoallergenic Sheets

Hypoallergenic bedding works by creating a barrier between the allergic person and the dust mites. The special material works to reduce the amount of vapors and skin flakes on which dust mites thrive. Eventually, the dust mites die and decrease the person’s chances of getting ill. You can find hypoallergenic bedding in a wide variety of online and physical locations. Most carriers label their special bedding as hypoallergenic. Consumer reviews and comparisons can help you to locate the most successful products for allergies. I purchased my children’s bedding through an online allergy club.

Allergy Proofing the Room

For maximum results, you will want to allergy proof the room. Your additional efforts will fortify the effectiveness of the hypoallergenic bedding. One thing you can do to decrease the amount of dust mites in the room is frequently wash the bedding. You may want to run the bedding through a washer with hot water two times per week to minimize infestation. Replacing old carpeting can help to minimize dust mites. Over time, they become trapped in the carpet. Starting with new carpeting can provide a breath of refreshing air the allergic person. Area rugs are an excellent choice because they can be removed and cleaned with ease.

If you have curtains in the bedroom, you can decrease allergic reactions by installing shades or blinds that you can easily wipe down to remove the dust mites. Cleaning the blinds with bleach several times a week can help to combat those annoying critters. Additionally, dusting is an effective practice that you can perform at least once per month to keep down dust mites. If the allergies are severe, then you can increase your dusting efforts to twice per month or once per week. Hypoallergenic bedding does work wonderfully, but multiple efforts will help you even more.

The Proper Usage & Effects of Aromatherapy

I had heard of aromatherapy in the past, but it was not until my best friend treated herself for depression that I realized its full potential. Aromatherapy can have quite a few positive effects on a person. If aromatherapy is used properly, it can provide relief for a multitude of physical and psychological conditions.  In addition, it’s a great romantic complement to satin bedding and the like :)

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils and candles for psychological, physical and spiritual wellness. The system works by invoking chemical changes in the brain through the sense of smell. Each oil or candle scent has a different effect on the psyche. My friend alternated between inhaling the oils and applying some of them to her skin.

Physical Effects of Aromatherapy

One of the most beneficial effects of aromatherapy is increased energy. Peppermint is an ideal aromatherapy product for increased energy. It has properties that continuously combat fatigue. Peppermint can be a lifesaver if you suffer from depression. My friend used peppermint in the morning so that she could awaken her mind and keep her body energized for her work shift. Peppermint is also effective for muscle aches and pains. It can be used as a treatment for gym injuries and illnesses such as the flu.

Aromatherapy Oils

Courtesy of Naomi King

The scent of roses is as pleasing as it is beneficial for sleep promotion. Its soothing qualities can help you fall asleep if you are suffering from insomnia or the effects of depression keep you up at night. Additionally, it has properties that can place you in a pleasant mood. Other scents that are notable for their uplifting properties are bergamot, cypress, lemongrass, lavender, jasmine, spruce, orange, rosemary and sage. The key to using aromatherapy properly is finding the scents that you enjoy smelling the most.

Conditions that involve overexcitement and nervousness need aromatherapy scents that can calm the nerves. Examples of such items are chamomile, sandalwood, and neroli. Geranium is also excellent for calming the nerves.

Ginger has been long known for its anti-nausea properties. It can be an amazing assistant with conditions such as the flu. Ginger is also a great element to use during the first trimester of pregnancy where nausea is prevalent.

You can use aromatherapy products as an alternative treatment for allergies and asthma. Eucalyptus is one of the most powerful ingredients for decongestion. It can be a powerful force if you use it in conjunction with other products such a humidifier.

Using Aromatherapy Effectively

As mentioned above, the most common way to use aromatherapy is by inhaling the oils. You can inhale the same scent or create a powerful blend and inhale it as needed. Inhaling the blend four times a day is great way to treat your condition. Alternatively, you can rub the oils on your skin or have someone perform a massage on you with the oils. Aromatherapy baths are great for the psyche as well. You can mix the oils with honey and add the mixture to hot bathwater for a relaxing or refreshing bath.

Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

There’s no denying how much insomnia (no, not the movie) can impact our daily routine. Whether it’s nodding off at work, taking extended naps, or feeling lethargic all day, insomnia often comes with a plethora of other issues. As you read this article, you’ll learn more about insomnia and how to treat it.

Causes

It’s important to note that there are two variations of insomnia: primary, which is strictly an inability to fall asleep or to sleep soundly through the night, and secondary, which is a type of insomnia induced by another health issue like asthma, heart issues, and so on. For those with acute insomnia, difficulty falling or staying asleep lasts anywhere from one night to a week. For those with chronic insomnia, sleep issues can last as long as several months or up to a year. The National Sleep Foundation states that one of the most common forms of insomnia is stress-induced insomnia. Acute, stress-induced insomnia can be caused by a highly stressful job, an especially jam-packed week with the kids, or major life changes like a wedding or the loss of a loved one. Other causes of actute insomnia can include bodily pain, some medications, and external factors like nearby noisiness. My insomnia was particularly present during the middle of my first pregnancy and battling intense discomfort and pain. For my husband, his encounters with insomnia are naturally worse when approaching a major deadline at work and can least for a few nights. Chronic insomnia is generally caused by more intense stress or severe depression and anxiety.

Symptoms

Insomnia

Courtesy of Carlos Martz

The most obvious symptoms of insomnia include fatigue and lethargy during the day, waking up repeatedly during the night, and an inability to fall back asleep. Other symptoms include grouchiness and difficulty focusing or remembering things.

Treatment

Because getting a full night’s rest is essential in maintaining a healthy, strong immune system, treating insomnia is critical in avoiding illnesses. Treating acute insomnia can often be as simple as tweaking your sleep habits. For example, avoiding late-night snacks and the use of stimulating electronics like your laptop and TV later on in the evening can have a substantial influence on your ability to sleep. My husband and I can attest to this, as we’ve both suffered from insomnia whenever we eat dessert in bed while watching TV right before going to sleep, so it’s best to entertain yourself with a book an hour or two before bed to avoid excessive stimulation. Similarly, choosing the right bedding and sheet sets can be very helpful.  If changing your nighttime habits proves to be ineffective, consulting with your doctor for prescription sleep aids is best for treating acute insomnia. For more severe cases of insomnia, behavioral therapy is often suggested to help break the behavioral habits that may hinder your ability to sleep.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that insomnia can be detrimental to your energy and health. By simply improving your nighttime habits or consulting with your doctor, you can easily overcome this challenge and enjoy a restful night’s sleep again.

Foods That Help & Hurt Your Sleep

Beware Nighttime Snacks!

Before rummaging through the refrigerator for a late night snack, stop to consider your food choices – your body and brain will thank you in the morning. Just like certain foods are good or bad for your heart, so too are certain foods good or bad for your sleep cycle. The right morsel can send you happily off to dreamland, while the wrong one can keep you awake for hours on end.
Cheese

Do’s

Good choices include snacks that are rich in tryptophan, a substance that makes you drowsy and promotes sleep. These foods include:

  • • anything in the dairy category, such as cheese and milk
  • • nuts
  • • bananas
  • • honey
  • • eggs

Giving into you carb cravings isn’t a bad idea either – carbs increase the amount of tryptophan to just the right proportions in your blood to help you drift off.

 

Bigtime Don’ts

But whatever you do, don’t eat a heavy meal right before bed – stick to light snacks. A large amount of food sitting in your stomach will activate digestion, which may disrupt your drifting-off-to-dreamland process.  One easy way to do this is by looking how much is left in the fridge when you’re done eating.  If it started out full, and looks like this at the end, you may be doing it wrong!

Late-night refrigerator hunting.

Avoid Fats Like The Plague

What’s more, you should steer clear of foods high in fat as well, like burgers, steak, or French fries.  Recent studies indicate that fatty foods disrupt sleep cycles, especially if eaten right before bed. So if you’re getting late night cravings, choose your nibbles wisely for a restful and successful night’s sleep.

This Sounded Familiar

You may have noticed that the advice here could just as easily have been found in a general diet article.  Just like eating the right foods has other benefits, if you eat right, you’ll get more sleep and function better throughout the day.