If you have trouble getting enough sleep you can feel the impact on how well you function, but it’s not just a subjective feeling. Not getting enough sleep is such a serious matter that it is tracked by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as a threat to public health but you can cure insomnia. Data collected by the CDC tracks the impact of sleep-difficulties showing lack of sleep hinders our ability to concentrate, harms our memories (now and as we age), and our ability to do our jobs – be that in the home or outside. More seriously, the CDC has linked sleep insufficiency with car crashes, industrial disasters, medical treatment errors, and making us more prone to stress and disease. Even if you don’t suffer major disaster or disease from insomnia, clearly getting enough sleep is vital to your health.
Natural Treatments for Insomnia
The most common medical treatment for insomnia is pharmaceuticals, all of which have direct side effects and can impact body chemistry. These prescriptions are also ineffective in treating the cause of sleeplessness, whether it’s stress or underlying disease (such as thyroid issues, depression, and anxiety). Western medical doctors are more and more coming to prescribe more natural practices to treat insomnia and its underlying causes and more scientific studies are being held validating the effectiveness of yoga, meditation, and exercise in treating insomnia. The thinking behind these studies is that these practices decrease stress, lower the physical impacts of stress, and improve mood – leading to better sleep.
Successful Natural Practices for Eliminating Insomnia
Yoga, meditation, and exercise help your body combat the physical symptoms of insomnia and its related diseases such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, memory problems, and weight issues. They help bring your body back into balance chemically and improve your overall health in the now and in the future. Sleep deprivation, for instance, has been shown to decrease the gray matter in the brain, leading to decreased cognitive function as we age and even dementia. Since a simple meditation before bed can quiet the racing thoughts in your mind, the benefits are exponential. Such meditation can be a focused mind exercise or a warm bath with a stress-reducing bath mixture such as Jadience’s Stress Relieving Soak, which studies have shown to put people to sleep quicker. A calmer mind is also better to keep you asleep longer and without waking in the middle of the night worrying, improving the overall quality and effectiveness of your sleep.
Besides a stress-relieving, body enhancing yoga practice, there are yoga poses that have been identified to bring on sleep faster and keep us asleep longer. Poses such as forward bends (standing and resting), Child’s Pose, legs up the wall, Plow Pose, Corpse Pose (the Savanasa pose that ends most yoga classes), and various spinal twists relieve physical tension and calm the mind. Making these part of your bedtime ritual will lead to quick results. More strenuous exercise, on the other hand, should be done a few hours before bed because while it clears out the stress in your body, it also increases your body temperature and energy which can interfere with sleep. Once your body temperature drops sleep will come easier.
Taking Sleep Seriously
The CDC estimates that 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorders, collectively referred to as insomnia. Instead of relying on pharmaceutical companies and ineffective distractions, simple stress-reducing practices that align your body and mind can improve the quality of your sleep and the quality of your life.