BONUS Sleep Strategies
Photo by nomao saeki on Unsplash
Have you incorporated these strategies and you're still struggling with sleep? Maybe you need a little boost of outside help. I am of course a huge advocate of using acupuncture to regulate sleep. I've seen it help in a range of cases, from acute bouts of insomnia to weaning off nightly sleep aid use. But if you're not quite ready to make that time/money/energy commitment to invest in acupuncture, the next step might be to experiment with magnesium supplementation.
I'm personally a huge fan of magnesium. Magnesium gets used in many of our body systems and processes. I'm a big fan of Ancient Minerals, who do a great job explaining magnesium deficiencies and supplement therapy, so I'll redirect you there for more details! The cliff notes version is that most of us are likely deficient in magnesium (as we're getting less and less from our modern diets), and could benefit from supplementing. I frequently recommend experimenting with magnesium for the following complaints, and see great results:
Poor sleep quality
Stress & Anxiety
Muscle tension & pain
You can supplement magnesium a couple of ways- internally and through your skin. I'm a big fan of both! For constipation, I recommend internal supplementation, as magnesium helps draw water to your colon and soften stool. For internal use, I like Natural Calm by Natural Vitality. It comes in powdered form, which you mix with water.
For muscle tension and pain, I recommend applying magnesium topically to the areas of discomfort. To apply magnesium topically, we use "magnesium oil." It's not technically an oil, but rather magnesium in solution. When magnesium dissolves into water, it creates a viscous liquid which got the name "oil." It commonly comes in the form of a spray. It can cause a weird sensation on your skin- almost prickly feeling - so experiment with a small area first. This sensation reminds me of when the sun dries salty water off my skin at the beach! Apply directly to areas of tension, or try applying to your abdomen and/or back (areas that I find less sensitive to this sensation) for general absorption.
For sleep, stress, and anxiety, I suggest with experimenting with the different forms of magnesium. But I personally love magnesium enhanced baths and foot soaks the best! Simply add magnesium flakes to your bath or foot soak, and let your body absorb and do the rest. Soaking your feet in hot water in the evening has an added benefit in Chinese Medicine - the heat at your feet draws down and descends the chaotic energy and thoughts that can rise up to our heads! This descending can be very helpful in grounding, and anchoring you into this relaxed state before bed.
My last piece of advice for improving your sleep: don't stress about it. Stressing about not sleeping and a lack of sleep is probably the single worst thing you can do for your sleep quality. It is probably the one strategy that will guarantee a bad night's sleep. So as important as sleep is, don't stress and panic when you have a night, or a stretch of nights, of bad sleep. You have not done irreparable damage. You will survive and power through. Your body is an AMAZING specimen that has the capacity to compensate, recover, and get you back on track.
So the next time that you're tossing and turning, or staring at the clock, or lying there wired but tired, try not to stress. Be aware of what you feel in your body, reflect on all of the positive things in your life, read a few pages of your book, listen to a guided meditation, do some breathing exercises, or maybe play some peaceful music. But most importantly, take time to appreciate all of the amazing things your body is doing to serve you!