Sleepless in Rapid City: natural alternatives to sleeping medications
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Falling asleep can be tough and not getting enough sleep can be even worse. While it seems like reaching for those sleeping pills may be the only answer- you could be wrong. Trying natural alternatives to sleeping medication before you go to sleep may be just what you need to finally get a full 8 hours. The use of a sleeping pill occasionally would cause no harm- but if used frequently, sleeping pills can become addictive, changing your ability to fall asleep.
According to AddictionGuide.com, every year 5.9 million Americans misuse sedatives, and around 500,000 deaths per year were attributed to sleeping pills. But there are natural alternatives you can turn to if you need assistance falling asleep and don’t want to reach for that pill bottle.
“There’s lots and lots of good options for people when it comes to sleep and help with sleep. It can be something as simple as adding lavender oil, essential oil next to the bed, you know, in a diffuser or even just on some cotton balls,” says Christain Seeley, owner of The Market, a natural food store.
Seeley recommends checking with your doctor before adding any supplements but, “There are lots of good supplements that support healthy sleep; magnesium is really probably one of the best ones. Magnesium is great because it helps the muscles relax and so it doesn’t make you drowsy but it helps your body relax which helps you fall asleep. There are things like Gaba and Threonine that are amino acids that we know help quiet the mind, so those can be beneficial for sleep as well,” he continues.
Yoga is a form of exercise that can be used to combat anxiety and stress- and while a full-on workout isn’t recommended, there are yoga practices you can try that center around relaxation and sleep.
“So, the breathing that we do in yoga, the rhythmic, diaphragmatic breath where we’re breathing into the belly is really beneficial for- it actually stimulates the vagus nerve, which is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, the system that gets us into a rest and digest state,” explains Lonnie Myers, a yoga instructor at Sol Vibe Yoga.
So, if adding essential oil or taking a supplement is out of your reach- these breathing exercises encourage a good night’s rest- and help you fall asleep faster. The first is a physiological sigh.
“So, I’m going to have you take your hands to your belly, and you can do this laying down or seated, whatever is more comfortable for you. As you inhale fill your belly with as much air as you can and fill up as deep as you can, once you reach the top you’re going to hold for a split second, try to take another sip in, and then a very slow release out through your nose,” Myers continues.
You can do that exercise for up to three breaths. The second breathing exercise you can practice is called active release.
“So, you’re going to close your eyes and then you’re going to clench your toes, clench your feet as tight as you possibly can, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and then release. Clench your calves, squeeze your thighs, calves. Clench your core as tight as you can, and release. Lift your shoulders up into your ears, clench your fists, your arms and release, and then just let your body feel heavy,” Myers concludes.
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