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According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of U.S. adults routinely sleep fewer than six hours a night. This is not great news since a good night’s sleep is essential for our well being and overall health. The benefits of good sleep range from improved heart health to weight loss. Having at least 8 hours of sleep is important for your productivity and mood. If you can’t fall asleep every night and find yourself trying to sneak in naps during the day, try these natural remedies for a better night’s sleep.

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Valerian

Valerian is an herb frequently recommended as a natural remedy to people suffering from sleeps disorders and insomnia. Research shows that valerian can improve sleep quality and help people to fall asleep faster and wake less often during the night. Effects of valerian are similar to those of prescribed benzodiazepine without effect of benzodiazepine medication. You can get valerian supplements in a form of capsules, tablets or liquid extracts.

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Get a sweet snack

Ever heard not to eat before bed? Well, having a small sweet snack, like a cookie or a piece of fruit might actually help you fall asleep easier. Spikes in blood sugar can suppress the activity of orexin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates arousal and wakefulness. Research compared the effects of a sugary drink and a similar tasting sugar-free drink on participants whose sleep had been restricted to five hours the previous night. Those who drank the sugar reported feeling sleepier and had slower reaction times when tested.

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Keep your feet warm

Keeping your feet warm is a key to fall asleep easier so put on a pair of warm socks or places a hot water bottle near your feet. A study published in the journal Nature showed that the degree of dilation of blood vessels in the skin of the hands and feet is the best physiological predictor for the rapid onset of sleep. When your hands and feet are warm, the blood vessels dilate more, helping you to fall asleep quickly.

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Sleep on hop pillow

Hops contain a chemical called dimethylvinyl carbinol, which produces a sedative effect when ingested or inhaled. A traditional and very old remedy for insomnia is to sleep on a pillow stuffed with dried hops. You can either buy ready-made pillows online or buy some hops from a brewing supplier and make one yourself.

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Relaxation Exercises

Progressive Muscle Relaxation teaches you how to relax your muscles through a two- step process. First, you systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, such as your neck and shoulders. Next, you release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them. You can do it while lying down in bed before going to sleep - breathe in for the count of three while clenching the muscles in your toes, then breathe out slowly, letting your feet go limp. Move up your body, using the same technique for each muscle group.

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Have a warm bath

The temperature of our body falls at night, which helps to trigger the onset of sleep. Studies found that rapid decline in body temperature increases the possibility of falling asleep and facilities an entry into deeper stages of sleep. Have a hot bath jut before going to bed – if your raise your body temperature about 2 hours before going to sleep, the cool-down period will help you to sleep better.

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Try Lavender

Aromatherapy with lavender is proven to promote relaxation, improve sleep quality, lift mood and slow the activity of the nervous system in people suffering from sleep disorders. In one of the studies, participants who smelled lavender essential oil for four two-minute periods just before bedtime slept better and had longer periods of slow wave sleep. You can either use an aromatherapy diffuser to fill your bedroom with the scent of lavender essential oil or spray your bed sheets with lavender aroma.

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Happy Baby Yoga Pose

This easy yoga pose will help you to relax and unwind and will rock you to sleep. Lie on your back on the bed and hug both knees into your chest. Reach between your knees and grab the inside soles of your feet. Turn the bottoms of your feet up toward the ceiling. Hold the pose for five deep breaths, and then release your feet. Hug your knees into your chest and rock your body from side to side while taking ten long, deep breaths.

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Supplement with melatonin

Melatonin is naturally released in our body’s pineal glands in response to night-time darkness. It helps to maintain the body’s internal clock and plays a critical role in the sleep cycle. Studies show that melatonin can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, prolong the sleeping period and boost daytime alertness. The best way to take melatonin is just before going to bed.

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Visualization

Visualization helps to calm down the mind and detach from the reality. It will help you distress and keep away the thoughts and worries that keep you awake. It can also help you get back to sleep if you wake during the night. Try closing your eyes and imagine that you are somewhere far away on holidays, lying on a warm, peaceful beach. Try to feel the sun on your face, smell the sea and hear the waves lapping at the shore. Breathe slowly and deeply in time to the waves, and allow yourself to drift off to sleep as if you were floating on the water.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.