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I’ve invited my nutritional guru Heather back to guest blog again this week. She’s going to be writing a series on something important to all travelers… sleep! Check back in the evenings this week for more from her on this critical topic!
If you didn’t read my first post on how (lack of) sleep can affect weight…be sure to check that out first!
Sometimes it is hard to calm down in the evenings, clear my head and get rid of racing thoughts. I have a very hard time shutting my brain off. Sometimes it seems like evenings are the time I remember everything I need to do the following week, day, month, etc so I am unable to relax, enjoy the fact that the work day is over, and take some time for myself (sound familiar?!)
I have implemented several relaxation techniques and natural remedies that work wonders!
Supplements for Sleep:
Fermented Cod Liver Oil/ High Vitamin Butter – This nutrient rich substance contains the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K plus Omega 3’s! It is great at promoting hormone production and improving sleep. (A secret added bonus: it aids in infertility!) A 1/2 teaspoon in the morning and evening will do the trick.
Magnesium– Many people are deficient in Magnesium and this particular deficiency can have a big impact on sleep quality. Some people find that just adding a product like Natural Calm about 30 minutes before bedtime can really improve sleep.
Gelatin – Most Americans eat an overabundance of animal muscle meat compared to bone broths, organ meats and marrow. If you aren’t a fan of consuming liver daily (I know that I am not!), drinking natural gelatin can help balance your intake. Eating only muscle meats can cause a distruption in the sleep cycle. I like to add a few tablespoons of gelatin to my coffee every morning or my tea at night to help balance my intake.
Essential Oils – There are so many essential oils that can help with sleep. They can be diffused, rolled on to your feet or taken orally.
- Lavender: Eases tension and induces relaxation
- Valerian: Has been used for centuries to reduce stress, tension and instill a sense of peace and tranquility; it doesn’t smell the greatest so you’ll want to add another oil to mask the scent!
- Orange: Calms the nerves and helps you ease into slumber
- Clary Sage: Has a delightful warming and comforting smell. The nutty aroma works because it contains thujone which is known to be a muscle relaxer and anti-stress agent.
- Vetiver: Known to be grounding; grounds your nerves through its relaxing properties. If your sleep issue is due to hormonal stress, vetiver may be your solution.
- Roman Chamomile (make sure its roman): This essential oil benefits a restful night and is best when combined with lavender. It has been used since ancient times in both tea and oil form to help people get adequate sleep. It is one of the most popular essential oils for sleep.
- Peace and Calming: An essential oil blend that does exactly what the name says…provides peace and calming to aid in sleep.
- Cedarwood: Catching a whiff of this oil will obliterate nervous tension and anxiety in minutes therefore improving relaxation!
- Sandalwood: Helps reduce anxiety and stress while promoting sleep and relaxation
(I buy my therapeutic grade essential oils here.)
I massage a variety of oils into my feet, put on a pair of socks, and instantly feel more relaxed (don’t call it hokey until you try it!) It has really helped me calm down and clear my mind of racing thoughts. So not only am I more relaxed and sleeping better, my feet are smooth and soft! You can store a small sample of these recipes in your travel bag – that way you always have it with you!
Make sure to buy pure, organic oils as store bought oils (even from health food stores) are contaminated and will not have the same effects as pure, essential oils! Powerful, effective essential oils come from seeds and plants that are verified for their potential to produce high-quality essential oils. Read more here.
Heather Heefner MS, RD, LD, CLT is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian who blogs at www.thefittestfuel.com and www.intolerablewomen.org. Heather is passionate about helping people establish a balanced lifestyle by leading by example and is committed to spreading the truth about food to help people live life to the fullest. Heather believes that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated…but with a little practice it becomes habit! Visit her websites for more information about her services.