It is amazes me how our attitude’s change about sleep as we get older. When we are younger we relish staying up late, brag about it, and generally try to milk every moment we can by staying awake. As we get older though we start to appreciate sleep time…trying to make sure we get a solid eight or more hours of dream time. We might even take naps. I know I plan my day around sleep time. I always want to ensure I get enough rest. If that means I have to go to bed at 6pm, before the best prime time shows even start, so be it. That is what a DVR and the weekend is for.
As a CrossFitter sleep is also important because that is when our bodies regenerate and rebuild. Sleep time is when we get stronger and we all want to get stronger right? We cannot expect to be healthy, fit, and strong if we ignore the benefits of adequate rest.
So what if you have trouble sleeping. I am one of the not-so rare folks who do. I wouldn’t say I have insomnia but I am definitely sleep challenged. It runs in the family. Like my father, I toss and turn and wake up numerous times each night. I have tried a variety of things to help fix these issues because I am not a fan of pharma meds and don’t want to go that route.
Here are some natural ways to help you sleep better…
Blackout curtains or a sleep mask – Total darkness often means a better night’s sleep. It also helps regulate our hormones better. Artificial light messes with our sleep systems so make sure to block all sources with blackout curtains. That way your neighbor’s porch light or street lights won’t be impeding your sleep. If you have artificial lights in your room such as the displays on alarm clocks or cable boxes, turn them off or use a sleep mask if you would rather not.
Get rid of EMF near the bed - Electrical appliances produce toxic electromagnetic fields called EMFs. It is not a good idea to have these devices near you when you are trying to sleep. To make your bedroom an EMF free sanctuary use a wood bed frame if you can (instead of metal) or just put your mattress on the floor. Turn off electrical devices or if you can, turn off the fuse that powers your bedroom. If you use a cell phone as an alarm clock (like I do!) keep it as far from you as possible, even if it means you have to get up and walk across the room to turn it off. You can also buy an EMF Neutralizer for your cell phone.
Eat light – Don’t fill your belly right before going to bed. That fires up numerous systems in order to digest the food and assimilate all the nutrients. Eat a couple hours before bed time or eat a light meal.
Take a bath/shower – A hot bath or shower is very relaxing before bed. You can also use a few drops of essential oils to relax you even more. Try Lavender, Roman Chamomile, or Marjoram.
Use a natural remedy – Many people swear by Valerian (an herb) and Melatonin (a hormone). For the latter, start with a teeny weensy dose, even if you have to cut an already small pill in half. It can be a powerful sleep aid but it can also have side effects for some people such as vivid nightmares.
Get alkaline - In order to detoxify during sleep the body must be alkaline. To keep the right balance we need to balance acid foods (dairy, grains, sugar, etc) with alkaline foods (greens, veggies, various fruits). The typical American diet is usually lacking in alkaline foods and excessive with the acid ones. Drinking alkaline water is important too. Read up on various water ionizer reviews and choose the best unit for you so that you drink alkaline water throughout the day.
Avoid stimulation – Don’t exercise right before bed, watch TV, or play on the computer. Take an hour or so before bed to wind down and stay away from artificial lights such as bright TV screens and computer monitors. We cannot expect our bodies to go from 60 to sleep in just a few seconds/minutes. We need to wind down naturally and prepare our bodies for sleep.
Do you have sleep tips to share?