Can't Sleep? 10 Ways to Beat Insomnia

I think we've all experienced nights where we toss and turn, terrified to look at the clock, dreading the sound of our alarm clock.  Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to sleep but your brain just WON'T to shut off. Getting consistent quality sleep is ESSENTIAL for vibrant skin, optimal health, energy, metabolism and weight maintenance, daily productivity, mental clarity and balanced emotions. When we rest, our bodies use this precious time away from the constant demands of our wake cycle to repair and replenish damaged cells.  When you provide your body with proper rest you will find yourself waking up easier, feeling more refreshed instead of groggy and lethargic.   The following tips will help you regulate your sleep cycle and conquer insomnia naturally and healthfully.

1.  Stick to a sleep schedule. This helps regulate your body's circadian clock for more quality nights of sleep. When we are exhausted that we feel tired and wired and ultimately have trouble sleeping.  When we have ample energy our body is able to sedate and calm the mind for rest. If you have trouble sleeping, it's best to avoid napping especially in the afternoon.

2.  Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.  Try writing in a Gratitude Journal. Studies have shown that writing at least 5 things you're grateful for each day puts you in a positive mind set which helps to induce a restful sleep.  You may also try slow deep breathing or meditation to wind down and calm the mind before hitting the sack. 

3.  Avoid sugar and caffeinated beverages especially after the morning.  You may try switching to green tea which has substantially less caffeine than coffee.  Sugary foods spike our blood sugar levels, affecting our stress hormones and ultimately waking us up in the middle of the night.

4.  Exercise daily.  Regular workouts help us sleep more soundly. Conversely, having a good night's sleep also supports weight loss since you will most likely do a better workout if you're rested!   Research done by Columbia University found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are heavier, gain more weight over time and have a harder time losing weight.   

5.  Sleep Genius is an app for Androids,  iphone and iPad that uses special music and sounds called "binaural beats" and "pink noise" that create ultimate relaxation in the brain to prepare for sleep. Sleep Genius' technology has been tested and used by NASA to help astronauts sleep. 

6. Evaluate the Feng Shui of your room. Your bedroom should be cool and uncluttered. Try to avoid large mirrors or bright colors such as red and orange which energize your room.

6. Turn off electronics such as laptops and TV a couple of hours before bedtime as the type of light emanating from the screens activate brain activity. Reading before bed is a great substitute and can actually induce sleepiness.  

7.  Aromatherapy.  Our sense of smell is intimately connected to our brain, which controls our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance which cause emotional & physical reactions. Scents of flowers and essential oils affect the part of the brain where memories are formed. Certain scents can trigger positive long-term emotions and thus elevate mood, reduce stress and promote sleep & relaxation.  Try adding scents of rose and lavender to a tissue and place under your pillow case or spritz an essential oil blend directly on your pillow for calming & soothing your mind before bedtime.

8.  Avoid alcohol & heavy meals in the evening. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort and indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. Try to have your meals 2-3 hours before bedtime. If still hungry try a light snack.

9. Natural Sleep Aids. Chamomile Tea, Valerian, Ashwaganda, Lemon Balm, Passion Flower, 5-HTP & Melatonin. Most herbs need to be taken consistently in regulated doses to have a strong affect.  

10.  Be sure to shower or take a bath each night. When you take the energy of your day with you to bed your sleep is restless and you wake up groggy.