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It’s All in a Good Night’s Sleep {part 5}

By Dr. Kate Flynn on Feb 21, 2016

It’s All in a Good Night’s Sleep {part 5}

Get a Little Help

 

There is nothing wrong with getting some additional help with sleep from supplements, teas, oils, and essences while implementing what you’ve learned throughout the previous parts of this article. {See parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, if you haven't already!} However, think of these as short-term fixes to get you over the hump while you work on correcting the source of your sleep disturbance. Using these things long-term may lead to desensitization and you may find that when you really need them, they won’t work as well as they did in the beginning. Also, keep in mind that this is a brief overview of what is available. It is not intended to be comprehensive. Work with your healthcare professional to make the best possible choices for you.

 

Supplements

A trip to the sleep aid section of your local health food store will provide an abundance of options all promising to have you sleeping peacefully tonight. The selection can be overwhelming. We’ll focus our discussion on the most popular and, in my experience, the most beneficial.

  • Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. It is of particular benefit to those of you that experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, work a swing or night shift, or commonly experience jet lag. With all of its benefits, remember that it is a hormone. Long-term use may diminish how much melatonin your body naturally produces.
  • 5-HTP increases serotonin production, a hormone that affects sleep, appetite, libido, and pain. It is a mood stabilizer that can bring about a calming effect in the nervous system. It should never be taken in combination with medicines used to treat depression.
  • Passion Flower is an herbal remedy useful for sleep and alleviation of upset stomach associated with nervousness or anxiety. As with most herbal remedies, it does have some side effects including mild dizziness and confusion. It should not be taken in combination with central nervous system depressants.

 

Herbal Teas

A hot cup of tea may do the trick. Whenever possible enjoy this part of your night-time routine about an hour before you would like to be asleep. This will lessen the odds of having to get up in the night to relieve your bladder. There are several brands of sleep-promoting teas on the market and most are easily found on the shelf of your local grocery store. While most of them contain a similar combination of herbs, some of them taste better than others. Try a few to determine which will work best for you. Yogi brand tea offers Bedtime Tea, Traditional Medicinals’ sleep promoting tea is called Nighty-Night, and Sleep and Relax from the Gaia brand.

 

Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for their beneficial effects throughout time. If your curiosity in them has peaked, do your research. There is a wide variety of product lines available and they range in quality. Some of them have contraindications and shouldn’t be used in certain situations. Several of them will help sooth your senses and help you sleep better. We’ll talk about a few of my favorites and you can take it from there.

  • Lavender oil eases muscle tension while bringing you into a calm and relax state. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love the smell of lavender and they way it helps them unwind.
  • Bergamot is another calming and soothing oil with a very pleasant scent. It can be beneficial in digestion, especially if you find yourself eating dinner too close to bedtime. Bergamot will also help to soothe tired muscles.
  • Roman Chamomile has a sweet scent that helps to sooth and relax the restless mind and body.

Choose the oil that resonates the highest with you. If possible, smell before you buy as their scent is an excellent indicator of quality. Compare them with other brands and consider seeking professional guidance. Oils can be used in a diffuser in your bedroom or you can put them on your body with a carrier oil such as coconut.

 

Flower Essences

Unlike essential oils, flower essences have no side effects or contraindications. They an electrical imprint of the flower that can be used to your benefit. Several of them will help to promote peaceful sleep, we’ll talk about a few to get you started.

  • Cherry Plum will help you relax and let go as it removes worry from your body and brings your mind into a state of surrender so that you may more easily fall asleep.
  • Impatiens flower essence works to mitigate the anxiety that comes with the ticking away of the hours on the clock when you can’t sleep. That anxiety prolongs an already difficult situation when peaceful sleep seems just out of reach.
  • White Chestnut essence works to calm the mind and rid it of unwanted thoughts about what happened today and what is heading your way tomorrow. The subject of these thoughts could be troublesome, or they could be due to the excitement associated with happy things. Whatever the thoughts, White Chestnut will bring the mind down from its hyperactive state, which will allow you to sleep.

 

Disclaimer: These recommendations are not a substitute for medical care. Consult with your medical professional before adding any of the above to your daily routine.

 

Once you can sleep, enjoy it! Don’t hurry yourself out of it, there is something to be said for clearing the sleep deficit. When my husband’s alarm goes off at 5:00 in the morning, I roll onto my other side, snuggle up into the blankets and drift right back to sleep. Sometimes, I don’t even hear it, and that’s when I truly celebrate how far I’ve come.

 

Dr. Kate FlynnDr. Kate is an intuitive and creative visionary with the ability to break patterns of dis-ease down into their component parts so that the flow of health may be restored. She fills in the gaps that other techniques and approaches have missed and discerns the best course of action.

Dr. Kate is a chiropractor, intuitive healer, and teacher. She is the creator of Activating Ascension, a platform for living, healing, and creating from the heart and founder of the Alternative Pain Clinic where she works with her patients to resolve the emotional components of their physical and emotional pain, complicated grief, and patterns of addiction.

Dr. Kate believes in the responsibility of empowering those seeking care so that they may ultimately see that true healing comes from within. She is happily married and helping to raise three wonderful children. Dr. Kate resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband and their dog, Phoebe.

 

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