Millions of Americans struggle to fall asleep each night. Are you one of those who tosses and turns? Perhaps you even take over the counter or prescription medicine to help you sleep. These drugs, over time, actually stop working and you have to take more and more – besides the fact that they don’t address the main contributing factor as to why you can’t actually sleep. Sleep is integral to overall health and wellenss, just as important as eating right, managing stress and exercising.
Let’s explore two of the reasons why you may not be getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Your mind is racing – If you are like me, bedtime is one of the only times that you are not in motion and your brain continues to run on high even after you lie down. I am always thinking about what I need to do tomorrow, what I didn’t get done today – etc…. and this keeps me up. I used to be able to go to bed at a decent time anticipating a great night’s sleep only to find myself still lying there awake 3 hours later. If this sounds like you – here are a few tips to help you wind down:
- Shut down the electronics – Put away all electronics at least 1 hour before bed – that means turn off your phone and computer – in fact, don’t even have them turned on in your bedroom. I now put my phone on my dresser where I can’t reach it – I could hear if someone called but I am less likely to want to check emails or search the web in the wee hours of the night.
- Enjoy some quiet time before bed – A nice cup of chamomile tea, some quiet music – set the mood so to speak – you could even have a warm bath with lavender oil and Epsom salts to relax your mind and body.
- Keep a journal – Getting rid of all those thoughts in your head help you to go to bed relaxed
You are in perimenopause or menopause – this is a hard time for women, trust me I know. As your hormones change sleep become very difficult. You may fall asleep but wake up several times in the night with hot flashes. Try this if the change of life is keeping you up at night:
- Be sure that you are getting enough exercise – at least twenty minutes per day of activity – walk a lot – take time to stretch – the body is designed to be in motion and this will help you sleep – just be sure not to exercise up to 2 hours before bed – morning is best
- Slow up on the caffeine – not only will it keep you up but it can also trigger hot flashed – try switching to herbal tea – whatever you do – do not consume coffee five hours before bed – even decaf.
- Make sure that your bedroom is cool – In the winter, always leave a window cracked. In the summer, set your thermostat to a lower temp than normal. There is even a bed fan that you can purchase that connects to the bottom of the bed to keep you cool under the sheets – be sure to wear comfortable pajamas that breathe
- Take a cool shower before bed – This reduces body temperature in preparation for sleep.
- Relax – It is imperative that you wind down before bed. Carve out some alone time to reflect and meditate. You may even want to set up a special quiet space reserved for times when you need to deflate.
- Stay on a schedule – Get up and go to bed at the same time each night and morning.
- Watch your diet – Eat healthily and drink plenty of water
- Switch to organic cotton bedding – You will be amazed at what a difference organic bedding can make to your sleep.
How Honey Can Help You Sleep
Raw honey is loaded with fructose and glucose. While glucose provides short bursts of energy, fructose takes longer to breakdown and is stored in the liver as glycogen. While you are sleeping, your brain keeps on working and needs the energy to perform all of its tasks. Stable glucose levels are important while you sleep and raw honey provides just the fuel necessary to keep everything balanced. Your brain will actually feed off of the liver glycogen at night.
Giving your brain the fuel it needs will allow you to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. As a bonus, you will wake up less hungry when you feed your brain in the evening.
How to use honey for fuel
First and foremost, it is essential that you use only raw, unpasteurized honey for your pre-bedtime snack. It is actually preferable that you find local honey. To use honey as a sleep aid simply consume 1 teaspoon of raw, unpasteurized honey about 30 minutes before you go to bed. Try this for about a week to see if it is helping. If not, increase your dose to two teaspoons and so on up to a tablespoon.
Honey works best as a sleep aid when you are consuming a diet rich in organic vegetables, healthy fats, and protein. Ditch the fast and greasy food and replace it with wholesome goodness if you really want to enjoy the best sleep possible. Don’t eat within a few hours of bedtime, this can also disrupt your sleep cycle.