Adopting good sleep hygiene is the first step toward getting back on track toward a sound night’s rest. In other articles, we’ve discussed the importance of banning light and sound and all other manner of distractions, as well as keeping regular crashing and waking times.
A few natural sleep aids can add to one’s ability to fall asleep and rest soundly, however. Lavender oil, sea salt and chamomile tea are among these natural helpers.
Lavender oil has long been used in aromatherapy to ease anxiety and insomnia, but the substance can also be taken in safe, effective tablet form. For instance, Nature’s Way offers Calm Aid, which can help both reduce anxiety and foster sounder sleep. Other manufacturers also offer lavender-oil tablets.
Holly Lucille, ND, RN, a naturopathic doctor, recommends taking one 80-mg softgel in the morning with a glass of water.
Sea salt is used in hot water as a foot bath for 20 minutes before retiring. Lindsey Duncan, ND, calls this a “little-known secret to getting a good night’s sleep.” He explains that our typical diet is highly acidic, made even more so by stress in our daily lives. The high acidity in our bodies further creates tension and disrupts sleep, and as a counterbalance he recommends the sea-salt foot foot to balance out the body chemistry with alkaline.
Duncan prescribes adding one-half cup of sea salt to the water in the foot bath, but if you’re soaking your feet in a bathtub, it will take more sea salt, perhaps one or two full cups. He also cautions that this is not a good approach if you suffer from diabetes because you may not notice that the water is too hot, and yes, he recommends the hotter the water, the better, up to what your body can take.
Finally, chamomile tea has long been recognized for its soporific effects, but in his book Tequila Mockingbird (comprised mostly of literary-based alcoholic beverages), author Tim Federle concocts what he calls “Rip Van Drinkle.” In this drink, Federle combines chamomilg tea with a slice of kiwi (also known to help one fall asleep) and with honey to taste.
“This drink is so soothing,” he writes, “you might want to set an alarm first.”