By Linda Pecone
It was the holiday season, we stayed up late shopping, wrapping, worrying, traveling or hosting. When it’s all over we were left more tired than ever. There are many types of sleep issues; some are as simple as being over stressed, such as the holidays, some are caused
by over thinking, while other types are unexplainable. As a night doula the hardest sleep to get is caring for an infant. It’s tough no matter how you stack the decks against sleep.
It’s very important to figure out which sort of “lack of sleep” you are struggling with and how it manifests. The over thinker may have trouble falling asleep or he or she may have trouble with waking and then not being able to get back to sleep. Those who are struggling with stress may find themselves too tense or wound up to fall asleep. No matter your issue there are natural remedies for getting your “Zzzz’s”.
If you have trouble falling asleep, but not staying asleep, this could also work for middle of the night wakers, try a good bedtime routine such as a bath or shower before bed, a hot cup of chamomile tea, and same bedtime if you can. Eventually your body will cooperate. If, or until that works try an herbal tea or tincture of hops, skullcap, or passionflower, or all three. You can try melatonin, but if your body is not lacking it it will not help. Melatonin is trial and error.
If your problem is over thinking, which is the number one cause of lack of sleep, try L-Theanine. It is, for the most part, a relaxing but non-sedating amino acid. It’s found in very high does in green tea. Don’t drink high doses of green tea though, it will keep you up all night for other reasons. It is the perfect cure for overthinking. It comes in capsules and can be found at your local health food store.
Finally, stress, stress affects us all at one time or another. Meditation is wonderful for stress, especially Yoga nidra. Never heard of it? Yoga nidra is an ancient but little-known yogic practice that’s becoming increasingly popular as both a form of meditation and a mind-body therapy. It is a systematic form of guided relaxation that typically is done for 35 to 40 minutes at a time. Practitioners say that it often brings immediate physical benefits, such as reduced stress and sleep. Check for a good Yoga nidra video on Youtube and try it out.
Next time I will address foods and digestion that can help you sleep better.
Linda Pecone, along with her husband, is a long time resident of Lyons Colorado. She is a certified herbalist, birth and postpartum doula, and has an in-home private chef business called Chef Doula. She has been making and selling her elderberry products in Lyons for several years. She is also the owner of The Little Yellow House on Second Avenue.