Sleep and Your Health – Part 2

Sleep: How can you promote sleep?

Now that you know all the reasons TO get enough sleep, let’s talk about ways to PROMOTE sleep.

The solution: Sleeping Pills versus Natural Remedies

You might think there’s little harm in taking a sleeping pill, right? Think again.
Alarmingly, a large study of 30,000 people published in the February 2012 issue of the British Medical Journal found a 300% increase in death in people who took fewer than 18 sleeping pills a year. Higher doses were linked to a greater than 500% increase in death. The authors of this study concluded that these sleeping drugs “may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 excess deaths in the USA alone.”
So let’s talk Natural Remedies.

Important pre-bedtime rituals:
• wind down
• go to bed at the same time (preferably between 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.)
• shut down all televisions, computers, cell phones and bright lights (use orange lighting 1 hour before bed)
• sip calming herbal teas, like chamomile

Pump up the melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain which causes our bodies to sleep.

Pump up the tryptophan
Tryptophan is the amino acid the body uses to make the feel-good and relaxation neurotransmitter serotonin.

Move for Better Sleep
It sounds so simple, but it’s true. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep better, and sleep more deeply.
In fact, in a study of adults who had mild sleep problems, the study participants were able to fall asleep faster and sleep for 45 minutes longer simply by exercising for 40 minutes twice a week.

One workout caveat: Schedule a morning or midday exercise routine. Exercising within 3 hours of bedtime can fire you up and make it difficult to sleep.

What about foods that promote sleep?

The good news is that there IS evidence that we can impact our sleep with the foods that we eat and by avoiding certain foods. That’s the topic of part II of this blog.

Have you tried any of these natural remedies? How did they work? What other natural remedies have you found that promote good sleep?
Be sure to read part II, it has all the answers to using Food as Medicine!