I haven't done a post on natural sleep in a long while and with winter (and its resulting allergy and sleep problems) I think it's time I do another one. I'm a strong believer that if there's a natural alternative remedy to pills and chemicals it's worth a shot. It's better for our bodies anyway. Read on for some new ways to attain sleep naturally.
Winter days are shorter as the sun comes out later and sets earlier, this in turn perpetuates our need to hibernate and do absolutely nothing. But 20 - 30 minutes worth of exercise at least three times a week will do wonders for your body. Even if you can't go for your usual morning run because it's still dark outside then maybe simple indoor cardio before work or a yoga session in the evening is the thing to do. Exercise is nature's high, it releases happy hormones and helps your body work through its pent-up energy. Staying active is the number one natural sleep aid for winter.
The next stage of defense is keeping your body healthy by avoiding seasonal illnesses, colds and eating well. I also recommend finding a more natural alternative to your winter supplements. A lot of vitamin C by way of citrus and chillies will go a long way in keeping your body's defenses up.
Develop a nightly routine to help you relax and get in the mood for sleep. Mine starts with a long warm bath with bath salts and a dash of essential oils. Followed a pipping hot mug of chamomile tea and either a light read in bed or 10 minutes worth of meditation to helps me relax. Find what works for you and stick to it. Some also find it hard to sleep when their feet are cold, which is why bed socks are big part of most winter bedtime routines.
Things to avoid
1. Caffeine four hours before bed.
2. Nicotine. It's bad for your health and certainly bad for your sleep.
3. Try to not eat too close to bedtime, big meals are especially counter-productive.
4. A diet mainly made up of fatty food or refined sugar.
5. Avoid sleeping on a bed older than seven years. See a bed buying guide penned by me here.
6. Make sure that your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Check a guide on that here.
Most important of all: always be kind to your body.