Wednesday, January 25, 2012

8 Natural Sleep Aids

If sleep has somehow made its way to the bottom of your priorities, you're not alone. Although the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, recent research reflects that an average American logs just over six hours!. Blame crazy schedules and, of course, sleeping woes. Before you rush to the drugstore to buy an over-the-counter (OTC) sleep medication, try one of the following natural sleep remedies. "These are safer and have fewer side effects than most OTC PM-type sleep aids says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic and medical director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers. Many of these can not only help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but they may also promote muscle relaxation.

Magnesium and calcium

Magnesium and calcium are both sleep boosters, and when taken together, they become even more effective. Plus, by taking magnesium, you cancel out any potential heart problems that might arise from taking calcium alone. Take 200 milligrams of magnesium—lower the dose if it causes diarrhea—and 600 milligrams of calcium each night.

Wild lettuce

If you've suffered anxiety, headaches, or muscle or joint pain, you might already be familiar with wild lettuce. It's also effective at calming restlessness and reducing anxiety—and may even quell restless legs syndrome. When using a wild-lettuce supplement, take 30 to 120 milligrams before bed.


Beer fans will no doubt be familiar with the calming effect of hops, the female flowers used in beer making. For sleep purposes, though, this extract has been widely used as a mild sedative for anxiety and insomnia. Take 30 to 120 milligrams before climbing under the covers.


Lavender is the trick here, as studies have proven that it aids in sleep. It's also a cheap, nontoxic way to slip into a peaceful slumber. Find a spray with real lavender and spritz it on your pillow before bedtime. Or buy a lavender-filled pillow. There are many ways to wake up feeling beautiful!


Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep, so it's no wonder that it naturally induces sleep. Although some experts recommend taking higher doses, studies show that lower doses are more effective. Plus, there's concern that too-high doses could cause toxicity as well as raise the risk of depression or infertility. Take 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams before bed.

Yoga or meditation

Choose gentle yoga or stretching, not vigorous power or ashtanga yoga, which could energize you instead. Try easy yoga stretches in bed followed by simple meditation. Close your eyes and, for 5 to 10 minutes, pay attention to nothing but your breathing.


This amino acid comes from green tea and not only helps maintain a calm alertness during the day but also a deeper sleep at night. However, green tea doesn't contain enough L-theanine to significantly boost your REM cycles. Besides, you might then wake up to go to the bathroom. Instead, buy a brand called Suntheanine, which is pure L-theanine. (Other brands have inactive forms of theanine that block the effectiveness.) Take 50 to 200 milligrams at bedtime.


Valerian is one of the most common sleep remedies for insomnia. Numerous studies have found that valerian improves deep sleep, speed of falling asleep, and overall quality of sleep. However, it's most effective when used over a longer period of time. One caveat? About 10% of the people who use it actually feel energized, which may keep them awake. If that happens to you, take valerian during the day. Otherwise, take 200 to 800 milligrams before bed.

How to Find the Perfect Pillow for Your Sleep Style

How to Find the Perfect Pillow for Your Sleep Style

Sleep Health-Diagnosing Sleep Problems with Several Simple Steps

Sleep Health-Diagnosing Sleep Problems with Several Simple Steps

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mom helped then left

Guest written by our friend Sergio Chaney
My mom helped me move in all my stuff last month to my new apartment and I have to admit that when she left I cried. Just watching her drive away was the saddest thing in the world – all of a sudden I was totally alone in this big city and didn’t know a soul. It was a good thing I’d gotten directv georgetownbecause that TV kept me company day and night for the last three weeks. I’m finally starting to make some friends at my new job but even still it’s not like my social calendar is jam packed. I love though that after I get off work and go for a run if I don’t have anything to do I just get online and surf the web while watching old episodes of Friends or Sex and the City on the TV set. It’s really comforting to have the extra noise and the drone of the TV even helps me fall asleep at night, if you can believe it! What a life.