1. Trade that “Sleepy Time” tea for some banana drank!
I struggle with calling it banana tea because, well it’s not really tea, it’s more of a tonic. I’ve found numerous articles linking magnesium & calcium deficiencies to insomnia. Bananas actually help your body to absorb calcium, their peel is rich in magnesium & other sleep inducing vitamins & minerals (think, tryptophan – the body converts this to serotonin). Sadly, banana peels aren’t exactly delectable & not really what I would think of as “easily digestible”. The most advantageous way to reap the benefits of that peel are through boiling it & drinking the tonic it creates.
How To: Grab a washed, organic banana & cut it into thirds (width-wise). Throw it into 4 cups of water with 2 sticks of cinnamon. Bring to a boil & then let it simmer for 5 minutes. Allow the tonic to cool for another 5 minutes & enjoy. Newly ripened bananas work best!
2. Square breathing techniques
Sounds silly, but if your mind is running a million miles an hour – this is a sure fire way to get it to calm down. While you’re laying there staring at the ceiling, give it a try! You have nothing to lose, you already can’t sleep.
How To: Breath in for 4 counts, hold that breath at the top for 4 counts, breath out for 4 counts, hold that breath at the bottom for 4 counts. Repeat until you find yourself to be less anxious & more apt to fall asleep. Feel free to change the count from 4 to whatever is most comfortable for you.
Woah, you just meditated & you didn’t even know it 😉
3. Yoga in the dark.
Why is it in the dark? Because if you’re like me, you may have someone sound asleep in the bed next to you & flipping a light on in the middle of the night may result in anger. Also, the dark is conducive to sleep. Light tells your brain it should stay awake or wake up.
How To: If you’re not an avid yogi, just do some stretches that are familiar to you, that don’t involve much thought. Hold each stretch a little longer than normal. If you have done some yoga in the past, make up a quick little vinyasa & just let if flow out of you for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. A wake-up light
This light is something that’s been on my to-do list since I first read about it from Empowered Sustenance. By balancing your own melatonin levels naturally, you’ll find it easier to get to sleep each night.
How To: Purchase a light similar to this one & follow the instructions. Instead of waking up to a loud alarm, you’ll be awoken gently by a slight increase in light over time.
Music is something I’ve been using a lot recently. We purchased an Amazon Echo Dot, which makes it easy to turn music on with a sleep timer.
How To: “Alexa, play Spotify – Deep Sleep playlist. Alexa, set sleep timer for 15 minutes. Alexa, volume 4.” If you don’t have an Echo Dot, but you do have Spotify – I highly suggest this playlist. The key is to play something soothing, on a sleep timer, at a low volume.
6. Wind down
Take a bath or read a book. Low light is key, so don’t read on your phone or a nook – go old school! Take a romantic bath by candlelight & sip on some banana tonic. Don’t keep your mind busy up until the minute it’s time to hit the pillow. Be sure to give yourself a 20 minute wind down outside of your nightly activities, such as brushing your teeth & washing your face.
Diffuse some essential oils (I use Young Living). If you find that diffusing something leads to less anxiety & calms you, then go with it. When I smell lavender or cedarwood, it seems to remind me it’s bedtime. There are a lot of oils linked to aiding with sleep, but just like everything else, everyone is different. It may take a little trial and error to find what works best for you. Below you’ll find the latest issue of Skimbaco (starring yours truly) & a fantastic list of oils that aid in sleep!
How To: I own a few diffusers, but my favorite is one that doubles as a humidifier as it gets quite dry in winter here in Okie-homa. I place a few drops of oil into my diffuser with the correct amount of water (per instructions).