Every generation has their drug of choice. The 70’s had cocaine, the 80’s had crack, the 90’s had xtasy and these days, its prescription sleeping pills. Drugs like AmbienCR and Lunesta promise to lull users to bed with enticing, dream-inducing green butterflies that kiss you on your shoulders and give you a full night’s rest. (You know you’ve seen the commercial.) But what if someone shared a healthy way to sleep without popping a pill, would you try it?
If yes, then you’re in luck. Dr. Mao, author of “Secrets of Self Healing” and host of askdrmao.com lists a slew of sleep-encouraging practices that will get you between your sheets quicker than a good glass of red wine and a cute man. Not that we don’t want you to have that man…erm, never mind.
A few things Dr. Mao lists upfront are: maintaining a synchronized sleeping pattern, make sure your bedroom is in a place with minimal foot traffic and distractions and colors like blue, green, and gray definitely help set a sleepy mood. Here are a few more of Dr. Mao’s suggestions, be sure to tell us which ones work for you:
- Do not eat late. Your last meal should be no later than 7 p.m.
- Drink valerian or passionflower tea before bedtime every night for one month.
- Take a relaxing evening stroll an hour before bed.
- Soak your feet in hot, Epsom salt bath for 15 minutes before bedtime.
- Keep a journal at night. Emptying your thoughts onto paper helps you unburden your mind for a more peaceful sleep.
- Induce relaxation with a 15-minute meditation. Here’s how: Sit comfortably at the edge of a firm seat with your back erect and your head tilted slightly downward. Place your arms gently over your lap and breathe slowly, deliberately, and gently. Keep your eyes slightly closed.
- Do not exercise for at least two hours before bed. Interestingly, people with regular exercise routines have fewer episodes of insomnia. Exercising moderately for 30 minutes daily, combined with meditation in the evening, will not only help you fall and stay asleep, but will also increase the amount of time you spend in R.E.M. sleep. For some people, exercise alone is enough to overcome insomnia.
- You might also try Calm-Fort/Sleep formula with useful herbs like lily bulbs, polygala and turmeric that help manage stress and calm the spirit while relieve restlessness and alleviate insomnia.
- When all else fails, see your doctor because insomnia may be a sign of more serious problems.
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