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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!
Let’s say you have tried some of the remedies I suggested in my other sleep posts, but still cannot find the sleep relief that you need. Try these natural (slightly random) remedies next! These unusual natural sleep remedies are either inexpensive or free, so they are definitely worth a try! Of course, if you chronically struggle with sleep look for a good functional medicine doctor for some medical advice.
Below are 4 easy and affordable things you can do at home or in your hotel to enhance your sleep every night!
1) Drain your legs
Think about it. You stand, walk or sit for most of the day. As a result, blood and lymph collect in the legs.
Put your feet up for 15-30 minutes a night. You can do this 2 ways:
1) lying on the ground and resting the feet on a couch or chair at 90 degree angle
2) lying on the ground or bed and resting the legs straight up the wall
This is often more noticeable during pregnancy or if there is an underlying medical condition. If you’ve had kids, did you notice your feet and ankles being slightly more tired/sore/swollen at night when you were pregnant?
If you want to get really intense, try gravity boots!
Added bonus: this will alleviate back pain!
2) Honey and salt
Salt lowers cortisol (stress hormone) and balances blood sugar. Natural sugars elevate insulin slightly which lowers cortisol. In addition, carbohydrate may help tryptophan (relaxation hormone realted to sleep) cross the blood brain barrier and improve melatonin production.
How to make it: 1/2 tsp natural sugar (honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, etc) and a sprinkle of natural salt 15-20 minutes before bed.
3) Patterned Breathing
Deep breathing is excellent for relaxing, decreasing cortisol, and re-focusing the mind. By diverting your attention to your breath you automatically change your thought pattern and experience an immediate release in stress. Taking 4 deep “belly breaths” can help to reduce your cortisol and relax you almost instantly.
4) Tart Cherry Juice
Cherry juice helps improve melatonin levels, reduces body inflammation (also good for athletes), and may help with insomnia. Drinking just 1 Tablespoon of cherry juice each night will help with sleep quality. It will also aid in muscle healing and prevent soreness and stiffness. You could even add some cherry juice to your chamomile tea with a little honey and salt. Wow! 3 in 1!
Now stop reading this and go practice some deep breathing, put your legs up a wall, or drink some tea!
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.