Having trouble sleeping at night? You are not alone. Just survey your friends and see how many are popping pills or using alcohol to get a good night’s rest. Notice the numerous ads for Lunesta, melatonin, and the plethora of anti-depressants, all in an attempt to settle down our over-active minds and bodies.

With the busy and time-pressured lives most of us lead, it is no easy feat to relax and settle down for a good night’s rest. But there are some natural, time-proven ways to calm the mind and the body without resorting to pill-popping.

1. You’ve heard it before but are you doing it? Eat a balanced diet. Include high quality protein, especially fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Lots of green veggies and fresh fruit in season. Skip the canned stuff. Balance your intake of minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron.

2. Limit alcohol and sugar consumption several hours before bedtime. Alcohol may relax you for a while but when it wears off it affects your REM dream sleep which is critical to feeling rested in the a.m.

3. Avoid falling asleep with the television on.
   
4. Get off the computer an hour before bedtime. The glare from the screen messes with the melatonin levels which put us to sleep. Did you know most computers are set to maximum brightness?

5. Read relaxing and encouraging literature like the Bible, or your favorite spiritual book. What you put in your mind last thing at night stays with you during sleep time.

6. Quiet your mind by playing some soothing music preferably with no lyrics.

7. Practice deep abdominal breathing.

8. Avoid drinking liquids at bedtime. The urge to urinate will wake you up earlier than you probably would like.

9. Pray. Focusing on God, Jesus, or whoever your higher power is brings a sense of calmness and peace to the mind like nothing else can.

10. Journal the cares and anxieties of the day to get them off your mind and onto paper. It works.

Try some of these suggestions to help you calm your mind and get the sleep your body needs. For those who claim they only need 4 hours of sleep, you are depriving your body of much needed time to restore and rejuvenate. Our minds and our bodies need to be fed the proper diet of good food, good thoughts, and lots of rest and relaxation. Here’s to a good night’s sleep and until next time – keep looking up!

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