Trouble Falling Asleep? Best to Skip the Drugs

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Millions of Americans have trouble falling asleep. Many of them turn to prescription medication to help them drift off to dream land. While there are a number of different drugs, each that affect the body in a different way, there is conclusive evidence that some of those drugs may have lasting effects. Instead of using medication, natural methods are always the best.

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Exercise throughout the Day

Studies have shown that small amount of vigorous exercise in the morning is more effective at waking the body up than caffeine. This does not have to be much, instead just run up and down the stairs 2 or 3 times. At that point your blood will be moving, and your brain will have the oxygen it needs to snap out of your slumber.

But you can easily drift back into a semi-conscious state if you don’t stay active. Instead, make it a point to move around a bit every few hours. This can be as simple as walking around the block, climbing up a flight of stairs, or even doing a few jumping jacks right where you are. The point is to get your heart rate up and keep everything moving inside you.

After work in the evening, you will want to get some vigorous exercise (you can do it in the morning before work, but many people prefer to use exercise as stress reliever). For at least 30 minutes you want to get your heart rate up and over 160 beats per minute. This means running, jogging, biking, running stairs, etc. Just get it up, and keep it up.

But make sure you cool down before you plan to sleep. Your body will need about 2 hours at rest before bedtime to ensure your heart rate isn’t up when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Eat Properly

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are what keep your body happy and healthy. Small amounts of lean meats, and a little dairy should be consumed as well. But keep in mind it’s not only what you eat, but when you eat.

If you have caffeine before bed, you are obviously going to have trouble falling asleep (even if you claim it doesn’t affect you, it does). But there are other foods as well that keep you up. Too much salt can make you feel swollen and make your body work harder keeping you awake. Fatty foods and processed foods do the same thing. Others that are healthy, such as aged cheeses, can cause you to stay up at night. And while a small drink of alcohol can calm your nerves, anything over one serving will end up giving you a more restless sleep than if you had nothing. If you really want to get to bed easily, skip the alcohol and have half a glass of milk (no, warming it beforehand doesn’t help).

Skip the Medication

Medication is the easiest way to get to sleep. But there are serious side effects. For instance, many senior citizens take Valium, Ativan, or other anti-anxiety medications to calm their mind and help them drift off a night. However, studies have shown that these drugs actually increase the risk of developing dementia such as Alzheimer’s. Instead of putting yourself at risk, try the natural route. If you are still having trouble, Melatonin is a natural herb for sleeping. Just take the smallest amount possible, too much will keep you awake.

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Trouble Falling Asleep? Best to Skip the Drugs, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.