Sleep in Heavenly Peace: Easy, Drug-Free Cures for Insomnia

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Long days at work, with little time for family, friends or entertainment, can leave anybody stressed, and tossing & turning at night. Most people will experience a bout of insomnia at some point in their lives, but making a few small adjustments can have you greeting the sandman in no time!

-Cool down: Make sure your sleeping environment isn’t too warm. While we may think a cozy blanket and flannel sheets will help keep us toasty, in actuality, the body rests best in cooler temperatures. If you don’t want to turn down the heat in your room, simply open a window right before bed to let in a blast of cool air that will signal your body to relax and sleep.

-Black out: Make sure there isn’t any light filtering into your bedroom. Use “black out” window treatments, that completely block out light, and turn your alarm clock away from you if it has a lighted face. If your partner sleeps with a night-light, this may be the cause of your sleeplessness.

-Breathe easy: The aromas of peppermint and eucalyptus have been proven to help calm down the brain, and send the body into a more relaxed state. Rub on a little peppermint-scented lotion before bed, or sniff a vapor rub containing eucalyptus oil for a refreshing, calming effect.

-Close the kitchen: Don’t consume a heavy meal within two hours of your bedtime. Rich or greasy food may lead to heartburn or indigestion, two known sleep-robbers. A light snack (especially one containing dairy, like cheese or yogurt) will hold off your hunger until morning, but won’t prevent you from resting easy.

-Say “Ahhh”: A few minutes before bedtime, try a 5-10 minute session of meditation. Just relax, clear your mind of thoughts, and focus on each breath you take. Inhale deeply, and say one phrase, like “ahhh” as you exhale; this will help you release pent-up energy that may make you too jittery to sleep.

S. Willis is a native Virginian. She is the author of a children’s book, “The Little Adventures of Bella and DJ,” which will be released Spring 2011 (visit www.WordsByWillis.com to pre-order).

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