Coloradans aren’t getting enough sleep. Like all Americans, according to the last Gallup poll that measured hours spent sleeping, the average was 6.8 hours per night. Compare this to 1910 when people averaged 9 hours per night, and we have a true epidemic of sleeplessness. In addition to making you grumpy, a new UCLA study has shown that sleep deprivation affects memory by disrupting our brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other.
If you have tossed and turned the night away, unable to get the recommended 8 hours of Z’s each night, there are a number of natural remedies that are harmless and inexpensive. Although, in2016, according to Consumer Reports, Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleeping aids and remedies. In Manitou Springs, Colorado, SunWater Spa believes that meditation, gentle self-massage, restorative yoga or home practice and a soak in a mineral or healing oil infused warm bath tub can clear the mind of everyday stresses and promote a good night sleep.
According to Gabriela Silva, Spa Services Manager at SunWater Spa, “A surprising amount of tension is held in the scalp, temples and muscles of the jaw. Self-massage of the scalp and face is an easy and enjoyable routine to adopt before bed that can help you destress and get ready for deep, relaxing sleep — especially when combined with essential oils. You can use the pads of your fingers and thumbs in a light, circular motion to gently rub your scalp, forehead, temples, sinuses and jaw line. Incorporate aromatherapy by adding a drop of quality lavender, chamomile or valerian oil to your wrists or the soles of your feet.
You can also put the oils in a diffuser or a warm epsom salt bath before bed. The magnesium in epsom salt is a vital mineral which promotes rest and relaxation.
Calm and quiet the mind and body at the end of your day by holding a restorative yoga pose like Balasana (Child’s Pose), Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose), Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) and Savasana (Corpse Pose). Performing restorative stretches like these while paying attention to your breath will slow your heart rate, release muscle tension and bring your mind into focus for a full reset before bedtime.”
Still tossing and turning? Sleep experts recommend:
- Adding to your sleep area a houseplant that removes toxins and promotes drowsiness such as lavender or aloe vera
- Eliminating all sources of light, including those found on your TV and electronic devices and lowering the heat
- Eating a light dinner, on the early side
- Eliminating smoking
- Restricting cocktails, particularly near bedtime
- Creating an electronics free zone, as studies have shown that the light from the phone and iPad stimulate the brain
Photos courtesy of SunWater Spa.