Have you spent a lot of nights tossing and turning lately? Understandable, given all that’s going on.
Unfortunately, restless nights can lead to more than just daytime fatigue. Studies have shown that not getting all the sleep you need can not only increase your risk of developing viral infections but also affect your ability to recover if you do get sick.
Here are some ways to get the rest that you need now more than ever.
Research has shown that exercise helps you fall asleep more easy. And it’s not just blood-pumping workouts that help: Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that a daily yoga practice improved sleep quality and duration for participants with insomnia. (Other gentle exercises like qigong and tai chi have similar effects.)†
Make Your Bedroom Sleep-Ready
Proper sleep requires the proper setup. For example, bedding made from natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo and hemp is more breathable and can keep you cool at night, as can new "performance" sheets and pillowcases. You can also promote a cooler sleep environment by lowering the thermostat, switching on a fan, removing extra blankets and donning lighter sleepwear. What’s more, it’s a good idea to unplug from electronics for at least an hour before bedtime: Experts have found that the blue light these devices emit messes with your body’s internal clock.
Just as some foods and beverages (such as coffee) can inhibit sleep, there are others that promote deep, restful slumber. For example, cherries are a natural source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, bananas are a good source of muscle-relaxing magnesium, and walnuts contain sleepy time tryptophan.
…And Turn to Natural Remedies
Melatonin is available supplementally; look for a fast-acting product. So is magnesium, which is more effective when formulated with other sleep-support aids such as lemon balm extract, L-theanine and 5-HTP.*
Establish a Routine
A bedtime routine sends a message to the brain that snoozetime awaits. Consider rituals such as reading a book, brewing a cup of (decaf or herbal) tea or slipping into a warm bath. Steer clear of activities such as tuning into the news or making to-do lists, which will keep your mind buzzing. Start the routine about an hour before lights out; for maximum sleep benefits, aim to tuck in before 10 p.m.
Learn to Relax…
If tense muscles and a racing mind are making it impossible to fall asleep, try something called progressive muscle relaxation: Think about each muscle, one at a time, from the top of the head to the tips of the toes, clenching and unclenching each one before moving on to the next.
…Mediation May Help
Before crawling under the covers, set aside at least five minutes to meditate. A regular meditation practice has been found to help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making it easier to fall asleep and spend all night in a restful slumber.† New to the practice? Try downloading a guided meditation app.†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.
The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.