Insomnia affects many people; 20 – 40% of adults have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. One in six regard it as a serious problem. Some experts believe it is the most prevalent health complaint next to pain. Insomnia is a problem itself, can be a symptom of other issues, such as stress, and can lead to hypertension and other health problems.
While there are good “sleep hygiene” tips here from the National Sleep Foundation you may find it helpful to incorporate relaxing holistic tips to help you have a better night’s sleep. A research study conducted by Herb Benson, MD found that people fell asleep more quickly when they incorporated the Benson-Henry Protocol mind-body relaxation techniques coupled with sleep hygiene compared to the group who only practiced the sleep hygiene.
Here are 3 Holistic Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
1. Relaxation Technique
Listen to a guided relaxation, imagery or meditation such as the ones found here. They may help calm a whirling mind, lower stress, tension and pain, and induce the relaxation response. Check out the Benson-Henry Protocol here.
2. Essential Oil/Aromatherapy
Calming essential oils also known as aromatherapy may relax your mind, emotions, and nervous system, such as lavender, roman chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, or sandalwood. Apply a small amount to your pillow case or rub a few drops into the palm of your hand with an unscented carrier oil or lotion, and then apply it to your wrist or neck. Spraying an aromatherapy mist that is a mixture of water with a few drops of essential oil into the room or onto your sheets may also do the trick.
Engaging in a meaningful ritual, prayer, or spirituality practice during a wind down period in bed or before going to bed may help you to feel more connected and less stressed or worried about what happened that day or will happen the next. This could be as simple as reading inspirational quotes or messages, reading from a favorite spiritual book, or reciting or reading a meaningful poem or prayer.
There are many factors that can affect your ability to have a good night’s sleep. Consult with your primary health care professional or seek support from a Holistic OT or trained professional in this area if insomnia is a problem that is not easily resolving.
Benson, Herb & Proctor, William (2010). Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing Your Personal Health Through the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc.