The Best Tools for Drifting Off to Sleep
How To Fall Asleep
Sleep is a precious and essential commodity but we tend to realize this only when we do not get enough of it.
The average person needs about eight hours of sleep every night in order to perform at his or her peak. Many people are tempted to turn to medication if their sleep is impaired, but there are many other things that might assist them in drifting off to sleep and keep them asleep for longer.
Eat Right to Sleep Right
A good place to start is by eating the right food before bed time. The amino acid tryptophan manufactures serotonin and melatonin, b
oth of which help to bring on sleep. Foods rich in this include turkey, eggs, bananas, nuts and seeds and low-fat dairy products. If carbohydrates are eaten with food containing tryptophan, the amino acid is more easily absorbed by the brain. Another amino acid that promotes restfulness is L-theanine, found in green tea.
Natural Sleeping Remedies
The hormone melatonin is available in capsule form and promotes sleep if taken in moderation. Magnesium and calcium in combination also have a calming effect if taken just before bed time.
Hops extract has a sedative effect and will promote sleep.
The valerian root has been known for centuries for its calming and sleep-inducing properties and capacity to deal with anxiety and depression. However, it should not be used for more than about two weeks, as it tends to have the opposite effect after that time.
Beds and Bedding
Ensuring that your bed is as comfortable as possible is the next important step. Whether you have a single mattress or a larger one, it should be replaced regularly and not be too soft or too firm. High-quality cotton sheets can improve your level of comfort and keep you cool at night. Your choice of pillows is very important: a pillow should support your head and neck sufficiently and keep you cool throughout the night. Whether you prefer natural down, memory foam or other man-made fibers, the correct pillow is essential. An air purifier in the bedroom could also prevent allergic reactions causing a blocked or runny nose and should therefore promote better sleep with fewer interruptions.
Lavender is well known for its calming properties. Its scent affects the parts of the brain that are associated with relaxation. Spray some essential oil of lavender on your pillow or bedding or sleep on a lavender-filled pillow. Lavender is known to be an antiseptic, a natural antibiotic and a detoxifier. The scent of jasmine is also used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and better sleep. Jasmine-scented powder can be used on bedding or on one’s person.
Using an eye mask eliminates any light that might enter your eyes. When the brain perceives it to be completely dark, the hormone melatonin is produced and that promotes sleep. Some eye masks contain herbs such as lavender and make use of aromatherapy to soothe and help you sleep better. Gel masks have a cooling effect and could help relieve allergies or sinusitis by gentle pressure on the face.
Sound machines, also called noise reducers, create ambient or white noise, which eliminates any background noise that might disturb your sleep. This will cut out the sounds of aeroplanes, trains, noisy neighbors and your partner snoring. You could leave the radio or television on in the background, but that is not true white noise. Another solution is wearing ear plugs to eliminate any distracting sounds.
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