(NaturalNews) Are the worries of life keeping you up at night? Do you have trouble unwinding at the end of the day, and end up staring at the television or ceiling for hours trying to fall asleep? If getting normal rest is troublesome for you, there is hope apart from having to pop a sleeping pill every night just to get some shut-eye. Here are some helpful tips for overcoming insomnia without the use of prescription drugs:
1) Avoid processed foods You are probably starting to notice a pattern with many of our papers on conquering illness -- changing your diet is the key to vibrant health. So much of the food people eat today contains high amounts of refined sugar, processed flours, chemical flavor enhancers, food colorings, and shelf-stable oils and preservatives that the average person simply is not getting the nutrients he or she needs to achieve systemic equilibrium. Refined sugar and other simple carbohydrates, for instance, are very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream where they tend to overstimulate the body and interfere with normal sleeping patterns.
According to Dr. Michael Murray, N.D., artificial food colorings may also be to blame, as these chemical compounds trigger a stimulant response that can put your body into "fight or flight" mode, where adrenaline, also known as cortisol, and other hormones are released in excess, signaling to your body that it is time to be awake and alert. Cutting processed foods out of your diet, particularly from the time between when the sun goes down and when you go to bed, can help promote restfulness and calm in preparation for sleep (http://doctormurray.com).
2) Fortify your diet with whole fruits and vegetables, 'superfoods'. Since cutting out certain foods from your diet leaves an even greater nutritional void, it is important to replace these foods with more appropriate ones. In the case of frequent insomnia, organically-grown whole fruits and vegetables are an important addition to your diet as most varieties promote alkalinity and inhibit the feeding of candida and other harmful yeasts that can actually be a cause of insomnia-producing anxiety for some people. Many people have reported success overcoming insomnia by switching to a completely alkaline-forming diet, at least for a few days (http://www.naturalnews.com).
Along with this, consuming high-density "green" supplements and powders like BOKU Superfood and Amazing Grass can help level out your nervous system and feed your body concentrated doses of not only "superfood" fruits and vegetables, but also a diverse array of probiotics, microalgae, and other foods of which you are likely not eating enough, or perhaps not eating at all. Juicing fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in the morning and mixing in some green superfood powder is a great way to start your day on the right foot so you will feel ready to sleep once nighttime arrives (http://www.naturalnews.com/022753_food_superfood_taste.html).
3) Turn off all your electronic gadgets a few hours before going to bed. In order for your body to know that it is the appropriate time to begin producing sleep hormones like melatonin, light sources must be kept off or at least very dimly lit in the few hours prior to bedtime. The constant glow that comes from looking at your television, computer, tablet, and mobile phone screens basically signals to your brain that it is still daytime, which inhibits the normal production of sleep hormones that calm your brain and induce restfulness.
"We all suffer from light pollution -- we have lights on 24/7, which keeps our brains chronically aroused," says Rubin Naiman, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona's Program in Integrative Medicine, and sleep director at the Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona, about how excess light can create insomnia. "Most people don't recognize how essential darkness is for a sound night's sleep" (http://www.msnbc.msn.com).
4) Exercise daily to exert energy. Another common cause of insomnia is lack of physical exercise, which creates natural sleepiness in your body after a long day. Many people sit in fluorescent-lit cubicles for most of the day, and come home and spend more sedentary time on the couch watching television. By engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every day, even if this means just going for a quick walk around the neighborhood, or lifting weights and exerting your muscles, especially if you are a man, you will naturally fatigue your body to the point that sleep will come much more easily at the end of the day.
"The body must exert energy to get physically tired," says James Maas, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, and author of the book Power Sleep. And this energy exertion, numerous studies have shown, actually works better than benzodiazepines and other types of sleeping pills at inducing sleep and improving sleep quality.
For more helpful sleeping tips, check out the links below.