NewsMax | March 21, 2017
If you spend night after night staring at the ceiling and waiting for sleep that seems more elusive each night, you have plenty of company. According to Consumer Reports, more than a quarter of Americans say they have trouble either going to sleep or staying asleep most nights, and 68 percent of adults have problems sleeping at least once a week.
Many people resort to sleeping pills, but they can cause dependence. In addition, tolerance can increase to the point that the amount that brings on sleep can kill, especially if combined with alcohol and/or painkillers.
There are natural, safe ways to bring on restful sleep, and can be as simple as a cold cloth:
Cool Your Brain. Getting a better night’s sleep may be as simple as putting a cold cloth on your forehead. Studies show that activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain decreases in adults with normal sleep patterns as they fall asleep. In insomniacs, however, it increases, and patients report an increase in brain “chatter” or a “racing mind” that they can’t turn off.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that cooling the area helped reduce the brain’s activity and helped 75 percent of insomniacs sleep better.
Don’t want to fool with a cool cloth? The FDA recently approved a device called the Cerêve Sleep System, a prescription device that keeps the forehead cool.
4-7-8 Breathing Technique. Harvard-trained Dr. Andrew Weill says he has a breathing technique that can help a person drift off to sleep in under 60 seconds by reducing tension and allowing the body to become calm and relaxed:
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a “whooshing” sound.
• Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four.
• Hold your breath while you count to seven.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, while making a “whooshing” sound again and counting to eight.
• Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
The breathing exercise is a tranquilizer for the nervous system, Dr. Weil says. “Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice,” he says.
Hypnosis. A Swiss study found that hypnosis can eliminate the need for sleep medication. Participants who listened to pre-recorded hypnosis suggestions before sleeping had an 80 percent increase in deep sleep. In addition, light sleepers increased their length of slow wave or deep sleep, the phase when hormones are secreted that stimulate cell repair and the body’s immune system.
“In contrast to many sleep-inducing drugs, hypnosis has no adverse side effects,” said study leader Maren Cordi.
Natural sleep cocktail. Take 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 120 mg of magnesium citrate, and 1 mg of melatonin to relax you as you drift off to sweet dreams, recommends neurosurgeon and natural health expert Dr. Russell Blaylock. A study found that even though people taking beta blockers to control their high blood pressure often had problems with insomnia, taking melatonin at night helped them fall asleep sooner and sleep longer than those who took a placebo.
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