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5 Natural Herbs Guaranteed to Help You Sleep

5 Natural Herbs Guaranteed to Help You Sleep

Ugh, mornings.

Everyone around you is somehow always so chipper mere moments after waking up. Everyone, that is, except you.

You may have just resigned to the fact that you’re “not a morning person,” but there may be an underlying issue that causes your morning grumpiness that you haven’t really thought about.

You might not have even realized it, but maybe the problem is you’re having trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep throughout the night. You don’t actually hate mornings – you just don’t have enough energy to enjoy them!

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Luckily, there are many ways to combat insomnia and the inability to sleep using herbal supplements that can be bought at health food stores, or even found in nature. These fragrant plants can help you get the rest and relaxation you deserve after a hard day’s work.

Passionflower

Though clinical testing has, as of yet, shown no true correlation between ingestion of passionflower and an increased ability to fall asleep, the herb has been proven to alleviate nerves and anxiety – two key causes of an inability to sleep well.

Along with calming mental “nerves,” passionflower also physically calms the body, as well. Passionflower extract has shown to help calm the nerves of those who suffer from restless leg syndrome, a condition which tends to be most prevalent at night.

California Poppy

The California poppy is a “gentle balancer to the emotions and a calming remedy for times of stress.” It helps reduce the anxious feelings that have built up over the course of a day, and allows its users to fall into a deep sleep without the unpleasant drowsiness that many over-the-counter medications lead to.

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It’s also an antispasmodic, alleviating symptoms of physical stress and pain. In infants, California poppy can help reduce instances of colic. In school-age children, it can lead to a reduction in stress-related responses, such as bedwetting and asthma.

California poppy can be ingested in teas and tinctures, as well as lotions and oils.

Hops

Yes, the same herb that gives your favorite IPA its bitterness can also help you get to sleep at night. In fact, Germany’s Commission E (the German version of the FDA) approves of using hops to combat anxiety and restlessness. Also, once you have drifted off to sleep, the effects of hops allows you to stay asleep until fully rested.

As hops is quite bitter, you don’t want to overload your tea mixture with it. However, a small dose will do just fine in alleviating your insomnia.

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Lastly, do not use hops if you’re currently taking prescription sleep aids, as doing so will increase the effectiveness of the sedative.

Chamomile

Chamomile is a mild sedative that is most often infused in tea at nighttime.

In addition to reducing anxiety and insomnia, chamomile reduces physical malaises as well. The herb has been proven to alleviate symptoms of heartburn, nausea, and colic. It also is thought to have a soothing effect on skin irritations and scratches.

When making chamomile tea, you want to make it strong. Use more of the herb than you normally would in a cup of tea, and steep it for about fifteen minutes. Make sure you cover it while steeping, or you’ll lose the essential oils that give the tea its calming powers.

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Lavender

Of the herbs on this list so far, lavender is likely the most well-known, and perhaps the most-used.

The scent of lavender alone is enough to take the edge off after a long day. Clinical trials have proven that lavender decreases anxiety and insomnia, leading to a much better quality of sleep. In sleeping subjects, lavender increases instances of slow-wave sleep – the type of deep sleep necessary to awaken fully-refreshed.

Using essential oils either in a diffuser or sprinkled on your pillow, lavender will send you off to dreamland with ease, allowing you to wake up ready to face the day come morning.

Featured photo credit: Flickr / asleep / hopetorture via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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