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5 Essential Oils for Everyday Wellness

Essential oils are a complex mixture of natural occurring chemicals that have a multi-faceted role with in the plant. They are tiny volatile droplets found in the glands, glandular hairs, sacs or veins of leaves, stems, fruits, bark, roots, seeds and flowers of plants. They contain the essence or fragrant part of the plant.

These oils can benefit the body, mind and soul physically, emotionally, energetically, cellularly and spiritually. Essential oils enter the bloodstream through inhalation or penetration of the skin then circulate throughout the body until they are eliminated through perspiration and normal bodily functions.

every day essential oils

Five essential oils for everyday wellness are Eucalyptus, Lavender, Orange, Peppermint and Tea Tree.

Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus) essential oil is steam distilled from fresh or partially dried leaves. Depending on the species its color can range from colorless to pale yellow to brown. Eucalyptus has a refreshing and camphorous scent and best known as a decongestant for colds. Eucalyptus essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.     

Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is steam distilled from flowering tops or stems. It is colorless or a pale yellow and has a sweet, floral, herbaceous refreshing aroma. Lavender has a calming effect on the nervous system and is a first choice for insomnia due to stress and anxiety. It also has many beneficial attributes for skins issues. Lavender essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.  

Orange (citrus sinensis) is cold pressed from the ripe outer peel of the fruit. The oil is a yellow-orange to a dark orange color liquid with a sweet, fresh citrus aroma. It’s considered to have a mildly sedative and antidepressant effect, along with beneficial attributes for soothing dry or acne prone skin. Orange essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating, but phototoxic.   

Peppermint (mentha piperita) essential oil is obtained by steam distillation and is a pale-yellow or pale-olive color with a fresh, strong grassy-mint aroma. Peppermint is one of the most effective essential oils for the digestive system. It is beneficial in relieving headaches and sinus congestion. Peppermint essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating but maybe sensitizing.        

Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil is water or steam distilled from a small tree and is a pale-yellowish to almost clear color liquid with a warm, spicy odor. Tea tree is recommended for bronchitis, coughs and sinusitis. It is also used in the treatment of acne, athletes’ feet, bug bites and wounds. Tea Tree essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritant, maybe sensitizing to some individuals.  

Click here to receive a free downloadable chart that shows how to use these 5 essential oils at home or while traveling or camping.   

This information is for educational purposes only. Do Not Use Internally. Keep Out of Reach of Children.


Reference: Battaglia, S. (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Brisbane: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy

Foods for Eye Health: How to Manage Eye Problems Through Food

The food that you eat plays a critical role in many things, including controlling inflammation levels, balancing blood sugar levels, maintaining cardiovascular and digestive health, and more. Traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda have long been aware that good choices of food can impact our digestive system along with skin and eye health. 

All modern health conditions are related to unhealthy food and lifestyle. Nutritional deficiencies and toxicity from poor diet are often the main cause.

In the perspective article I will be discussing the following:

  • Reasons for tire, dull eyes
  • How to support dull eyes with food
  • Reasons for eye bags and dark circles
  • Superfood suggestions for eye bags and dark circles

eye looking through leaf
Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

Tired and Dull Eyes

‘Tired eyes’ is just another term for eye strain. First let us look in to the causes of tired, dull eyes.

  1. Too much screen time
  2. Too much driving time
  3. Poor lighting while reading or working on computers
  4. Poor sleep patterns
  5. Activities that require eyes to have intense focus
  6. Incorrect prescription

Any of the above reasons can result in out of focus, dry or watery eyes. There may be a dull pain around the eyes and a puffy appearance will be present.

It is not a disease and does not require medical treatment. But there are symptoms which require immediate medical attention, for example if tired eyes are associated with frequent episodes of headache or vomiting, consult your doctor.

Is it possible to support or prevent dull eyes with food?

Yes! Perhaps more than anything else in our lives the choice of right food can help in preventing and supporting dull, tired eyes. Foods Rich in vitamin A & B, Anti-oxidants and fatty acids boost circulation around the eyes.

Foods rich in Vitamin A & B

Antixidants

Fatty acids

Orange pepper – It contains the highest amount of Carotenoid Zeaxanthin which protects the retina

Berries – high in Vitamins and anti-oxidants, protects the retina against light

Chia seeds – rich in omega-3 fatty acids which protects against macular degeneration

Egg yolk – It is a source of Carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Bee pollen – anti-oxidant rutin boosts blood vessel walls to improve micro circulation

Spirulina- grown naturally from algae, presence of both anti-oxidants, proteins and vitamins

Carrots (Beta-carotene in carrot is converted in to Vitamin A), Dark leafy greens (Rich source of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin) – especially Kale and spinach, Cucumber (hydrates and nourishes eyes)

Wild Alaskan Salmon – presence of super anti-oxidant Astaxanthin which can cross blood-retinal barrier and it absorbs UVB

If you aren't a fish lover, another way to make sure your diet contains enough omega-3s it to take fish oil supplements.

What are the causes for those pesky dark circles? Is it just the tiredness due to lack of sleep or are there any underlying causes? Let’s have a quick look at the major causes of dark circles beneath the eyes.  

  • Hereditary Conditions – People with Mediterranean backgrounds are more affected by dark circles 
  • Eczema or skin allergies – Though this is not the direct cause, if you continuously rub the eye region due to itching it can trigger inflammation and redness which can cause broken blood vessels leading to dark eyes. 
  • Cosmetic allergies 
  • Sun damage  
  • Fluid imbalance or local swelling 

In most cases, dark circles under the eyes are not a sign of a serious medical condition. 

Ayurvedic Perspective of Dark Circles  

In Ayurvedic perspective, dark circles are due to aggravated Vata dosha.  As age advances there will be a predominance of Vata in the body. In old age there is depletion of the subcutaneous fat tissues and thinning of the skin under the eyes that causes darkening of the skin in that area. Intake of foods that are dry and use of processed foods can aggravate Vata in the body. Excessive salt intake is often mentioned as the cause for fluid retention under the eyes that results in puffy eyes and formation of dark circles.  

Role of Food in Preventing Eye Bags and Dark Circles

Hydrating foods and circulation-boosting antioxidants along with mineral-rich foods help in preventing dark circles and puffy eyes.

Hydrating foods

Antioxidants

Mineral-rich foods

Water Melon – along with 92% water water melons are rich in anti-oxidants including beta carotene

Blueberries (prime source of anti-oxidants lutein and anthocyanins) protect delicate blood vessels there by improving blood circulation around eyes, Mulberries (presence of resveratrol), Goji berries

Celery – rich source of electrolytes mineral sodium and Potassium

Cucumber helps rehydrate the skin surrounding eyes and Vitamin K present enhances the elasticity of the blood vessels surrounding eyes

Beets has detoxifying anti-oxidants Betalain

Zinc is a trace element that is important for the visual process. Oysters contain a large amount of zinc.

Baobab – It balances the fluid and prevents puffy eyes

Tomatoes has lycopene that helps to protect the delicate blood vessels and improves circulation to eyes

 

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats will provide you with all the nutrients your eyes — and the rest of your body — need for optimal health.

Sweet Orange Essential Oil: A Fresh and Fruity Plant Remedy You Need to Know

Did you know that oranges are among the oldest cultivated fruits and they were mentioned in ancient Chinese literature as long ago as 2,400 BCE? It’s true! The dried peel, from both the bitter and sweet orange, and essential oil from the sweet orange, have been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments including coughs, colds, anorexia, cystic breasts, digestive spasms, stagnant digestion, respiratory congestion, and constipation. From the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), the vitamin C-rich fresh juice and essential oil have offered valuable protection against infectious diseases as well. Sounds like a good fruit to have on hand and an essential oil to include in your natural medicine cabinet, right?

sweet orange essential oil
Photo by Michaela Jebb

Sweet orange trees are extensively cultivated today in the United States (California and Florida), Brazil, Italy, Spain, the Mediterranean region, and Israel. Much of the essential oil is produced in the United States, Brazil, Israel, Sprain, and Cyprus.

The yellowish-orange essential oil, with its familiar, rich, lively, zesty aroma, is cold-expressed from the outer peel of the ripe or near-ripe fresh fruit. Be aware that sweet orange essential oil oxidizes quickly (as do all citrus oils), so use it within 1 year, or 2 years if you keep it refrigerated.

Essential Information

Sweet orange essential oil has a gently warming energy, with antibacterial, antiseptic, deodorizing, cleansing, carminative/digestive, and mild astringent/diuretic properties. This bright, cheerful oil also lifts the spirits, helping to improve your mood.  It helps open the heart, and reduce irritability, nervous tension, anxiety, restlessness, and other stress-related conditions, including PMS.

Like other citrus oils, such as lemon, lime, bergamot, and grapefruit, it instills a general feeling of well-being and builds your sense of humor. Especially calming and balancing, this oil will help you relax and unwind, no matter how chaotic your day.

Sweet orange essential oil is considered nontoxic, nonirritating, and generally non-sensitizing, with only a low risk of photosensitivity, and can even be used with young children. Always keep in mind that when using any essential oil, adherence to safety guidelines and dilution protocol is vital. In my new book, Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide (Storey Publishing, 2018), I discuss safety tips, special precautions to take with children and infants, and dilution guidelines for various methods of application. Less is more with essential oils as they are highly concentrated plant remedies. Please educate yourself prior to using any essential oil, whether for self-care or when using on friends, family, or clients.

Below are some of my favorite ways to use sweet orange essential oil:

  • As an aromatically pleasing nervous system tonic for children—great for use at bedtime when blended into a relaxing foot massage oil (6 drops to 1 ounce carrier oil) or diffused into their bedroom for 20 minutes.
  • In the morning, I diffuse it in the kitchen while eating breakfast; starts my day off on a sunny, joyous note.
  • As a topical digestive aid to help relieve constipation, cramping, and gas, I like combine 2 drops of orange essential oil with 2 drops of peppermint oil in 1 teaspoon carrier oil and massage my own belly in a counter-clockwise direction, beginning at the navel and spiraling outward, ending at the top of the left thigh, to encourage the digestive process to move in the normal direction. If massaging someone else’s belly, use a clockwise direction.
  • Added to a moisturizing, muscle-relaxing, skin-soothing bath blend. (See recipe below.)

cream and honey bath ingredients
Photo by Mars Vilaubi

Orange-Honey-Cream Moisturizing Bath

Imagine the familiar, smooth, fruity scent of orange peel softened by sweet honey and the essence of rich cream. Ahhh . . . just the thought of slipping into a tub filled with this skin-pampering blend is enough to instill a bit of tranquility and make you feel pampered! The aroma of sweet orange and calming lavender soothes the senses, while honey and cream—natural moisturizers—nourish your skin. It’s the perfect way to end a hectic day, and it’s guaranteed to comfort and calm irritable young ones as well.  Indulge, won’t you? Safe for folks 2 years of age and older.

Essential Oils:

• 5 drops sweet orange
• 3 drops lavender

Base:

• 1/4 cup honey, preferably raw
• 1/2 cup heavy cream, preferably organic (you can substitute light cream, half-and-half, or full-fat coconut milk)

To Make the Bath: Fill the tub with warm water. Meanwhile, combine the honey, cream, and orange and lavender essential oils in a small bowl. Stir well.

To Use: Add the mixture to the tub and swish with your hands to thoroughly disperse the ingredients.  Step in and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. When you’re finished, pat your skin damp-dry and apply your favorite natural lotion or cream, if desired.

Yield: Makes enough for 1 bath

beginner's guide to essential oils by stephanie tourles book cover
Recipe excerpted from Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide (2018). Used by permission from Storey Publishing.

Getting a More Natural Energy Boost

Did you know that among coffee drinkers the average daily consumption in the United States is over 2 cups per person? Although coffee can have its health benefits, there’s a reasonable chance that any more is too much for you. However, many hardworking Americans don’t think they can survive without multiple caffeine boosts through the day. They need their energy, and coffee is a convenient way to get it.

There are other ways to obtain your pick-me-up however which don’t require excess or for you to ingest things that you don’t need to. You won’t have to drink too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages when you’re taking care of yourself and getting your energy intake more naturally. It does involve some awareness, though. Here are some ways to get energy throughout your day without resorting to caffeine or harder drugs.

pexels-photo-1458671

Food Intake

As most people know, food gives you energy. And in a separate exchange, taking some cues from the keto diet, it’s possible to burn your own fat for energy. Some readers may be thinking “wait, won’t eating too much just take away my energy?” This is a concern if you’re eating giant meals that are full of unhealthy food. But healthy snacking throughout the day and enacting portion control will give balance your amount of energy throughout the day and is good for you. Food is a key to energy — not a tool to deplete it.

Nutrients

It’s what you eat as well, not just how much and often you’re eating. Good nutrition is scarce in a culture of excess and ultra-processed food, though. Additionally it’s becoming more difficult all the time to get our needed amount of nutrients due to the rise of CO2 in our atmosphere (a result of “climate change”). But some careful research will give you a good idea of what food and nutrients can naturally raise your energy levels and be healthy for you. That said, be on the lookout for food products posing as nutritious that may not be. For instance, energy bars and diet soda are actually worse for you than they are good, as exemplified by Web MD here.

H2O

Did you know that simply drinking enough water can fill you with energy? In an article entitled “20 Reasons Why Water is the Best Energy Drink You Can Give Your Body,” the author writes, “Being dehydrated means, as you’ve seen, having to work harder to do less, your joints are less spry and you’ll have less water to sweat out to cool yourself – you can cramp up faster, and in general won’t be as effective.” Water is important for your energy because it keeps you from losing energy and getting tired. If you want to keep up, keep hydrated.

Staying Active

Your body gets natural energy from glucose, which is what it uses during exercise. The more you work out, the more glucose your muscles will need, and therefore the more your body will produce. On a simpler level however, habits matter. When you start working out consistently, your body will want to keep working out, and it will start to feel odd when you don’t. Your endurance while participating in physical activities will be up, and your body and brain will be less content staying inactive. Any way you look at it, activity begets more activity.

Spirituality and Personal Motivation

There are a number of other actions different people take to mentally and spiritually tap into the natural energy they have. For instance, diffusing essential oils can potentially influence a variety of things, from clearing the air to helping you sleep, and some believe they can aid in helping people feel energetic. Other people watch various types of media to motivate themselves — self Ted Talks and inspirational movies for instance. And some give themselves pep talks in the mirror. The point is, energy boosts can depend on what you’re putting in your head as well as your body. Keep this in mind and surround yourself with good influences.

It’s clear that caffeine isn’t the only — or even the most natural — way to get an energy boost. So how else do you make yourself feel energized? Let us know in the comments below!

Eco-Friendly Ways to Keep Your Teeth Looking Healthy and Clean

For most people, brushing their teeth is part of their morning ritual, usually one of the very first things they do in their day. Many people also make it part of their nightly ritual, doing the same thing before they go to bed. Likely, there is some flossing and extra brushing throughout the day added in.

The priority of and frequency in which people brush their teeth shows their importance; teeth are perhaps one of the most important parts of your body to keep healthy and clean. Not only is your smile one of the first things people may notice about you, but you also need your teeth to eat and feed your body.

While keeping your mouth clean and healthy is important, it can be a strain on the environment. Excessive water used when brushing your teeth, plastic in toothbrushes and floss, and other environmentally stressful factors can be easy eliminated while retaining the health of your teeth.

dark-haired woman smiling
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

Besides wanting a beautiful, white smile, there are many important reasons to prioritize your oral health. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, unclean and untreated teeth can lead to significant health issues:

...In many cases, the condition of the mouth mirrors the condition of the body as a whole. Recent reports indicate a relationship between periodontal (gum) disease and stroke, heart disease and preterm low-birth-weight babies. Likewise, more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations, meaning your dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem

Basically, keeping your teeth clean and regularly visiting a dentist could have a significant impact on the quality and span of your life. Plus, rotting, unbrushed, or even just poorly brushed teeth can leave a malignant odor in your wake, putting off the people around you. Also, it’s always nice to keep your teeth and avoiding dentures as long as possible.

Fine Tuning Your Dental Routine

Clearly, oral health is important. But how do keep your pearly whites fresh and shiny without causing too much damage on the environment? Well, two of the most important dental health care tips are ones that you have likely heard many times since you were a child—and they are natural, too.

Toothbrushes and toothpaste are the most notorious uses of plastic related to oral health. Especially because there is not a lot of variety when you to to the store. However, you can order bamboo toothbrushes online, and shop for plastic-free toothpaste containers as well. For example, some companies sell powder toothpaste in tablet form that use minimal packaging.

Flossing is another natural way to care for your teeth. Flossing gets rid of enamel-eroding acids and toxins that can cause plaque and lead to gum disease. According to dental experts, not flossing can have severe consequences resulting in expensive dental procedures:

  • Root planing and scaling to remove tartar below the gum line can cost upwards of $1,600.
  • Surgical treatments for periodontitis can cost over $3,000.
  • Since gum disease can attack the bone, you could end up spending $300 to $400 per tooth is you require bone grafts.
  • Even simple tooth extraction can cost $100 per tooth, and then you are left choosing between dentures and dental implants. Dentures can cost up to $8,000 a set, and dental implants typically cost an average of $4,250 per tooth.

Flossing can eliminate these risks and fight gum disease directly. Plus, you can look into getting no-waste or biodegradable floss in order to be truly natural and eco-friendly, and it will only cost a few dollars.

Another easy way to change up your dental routine is not running the faucet while you brush your teeth. Not doing this is an easy way to save water that you can start immediately without having to go to the store to buy special products.

Eco-Friendly and Natural Tooth Tips

If you are on board with all of the tips so far and are looking for more, here are some more tips to consider.

Keeping your teeth healthy is one thing, but keeping them white is quite another. Wine, coffee, and mustard and more can stain your teeth to a not-so-appealing color. However, you don’t have to resort to expensive whitenings or harmful chemicals to get your pearly whites back to white.

With natural teeth whitening, you can avoid harsh chemical in your body—and also get in some healthy snacks. For example, putting bananas and strawberries on your teeth for a while will help brighten them up. Then, you can have the rest of the fruit and berries as a snack.

You can also look into making other concoctions to keep your smile attractive. Making an herb mouthwash, for example, will not only keep your breath fresh, but it can also reduce inflammation to maintain a healthy mouth.

Lastly, if you’re not convinced by the eco-friendly toothpaste options you find, you can just make your own. Though there are many ways to do this, the easiest—and perhaps the best—is made out of baking soda and water, adding enough of both to make a paste. You can also add a few drops of peppermint extract to get the fresh taste in your mouth.

If you are feeling more crafty and want something more creative, you can make your own charcoal toothpaste out of wood ash and a few other ingredients. Charcoal toothpaste is a natural dental trend that eliminates plaque and whitens your teeth. Here is the recipe:

  • Wood Ash
  • Baking Soda
  • Orange Peels (optional)
  • Lemon Peel (optional)
  • Bentonite Clay
  • Xylitol
  • Calcium Carbonate

Hopefully, these tips will help you to change up your dental routine, allowing you to maintain cleaner teeth, a healthier mouth, and a brighter smile—all while reducing your environmental impact.

Self Care Tips as the Weather Changes and the Holidays Approach

If you are lucky enough to experience fall, I hope you are enjoying what the season has to offer. For many of us, we are probably hunkering down, gearing up for the colder season and the busy holiday season. The unfortunate reality is that the change in season, plus the stress of the holidays can put a strain on our body and our body’s natural defenses. Remember to take care of yourself so that you may be fully present to enjoy the next few months.

Sleep Well

Getting enough sleep is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our body. Sleep is the only time our body can repair itself. For many of us, our circadian rhythm is off because we live in a 24/7 world. We are constantly exposed to light (false sunlight) that tricks our body into thinking the body should continue to stay awake. People sometimes have a hard time sleeping when the clocks are adjusted because their body has to get used to the amount of light it is exposed to. Many things also vie for our attention that it becomes hard to shut down. Without quality sleep, the body struggles to fight illness, repair cells, and clean out old cells.

As you prepare for the many changes coming up for the fall and winter season, consider taking a look at your sleep routine. With the days getting shorter, many of us will be more apt to stay in and it’s important that instead of going to a higher quantity of sleep that we go for good quality.

  • Institute a nighttime routine that will allow you to disconnect from electronics and slow down the brain. Meditating or reading a good old-fashioned book can help with this.
  • Experiment with leaving your phone outside the bedroom. If you need an alarm clock, find one that is not connected to the internet and has a dim light. This will reduce temptation to check it before you go to bed and immediately after you get up.
  • Get comfortable and opt for organic linens that breathe to keep your core temperature stable. This may mean testing out your best pajama combination.
  • Take care to cover excess light from the windows or from other devices in the bedroom to reduce light distraction.
  • Declutter the bedroom so that as you settle in your mind is calm. Empty space is good for the mind.

simple-bed-sleep-well-cagopcan-tdsp-min (1)
Good quality sleep is critical to winter and holiday self-care.

Eat Well

Fall brings about so many tempting treats. Fall and winter normally results in a slower pace, more hibernation, which means less calories burned being out and about. Go simple with your meals so that your body can burn it easily. It’s sometimes easy to constantly eat because we are indoors, so take time to listen to your body for signals of hunger instead of boredom. Fuel with food that’s easy to make and isn’t loaded with lots of artificial ingredients or processed chemicals.

The body must expend energy to burn and process food. Excess food, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and other inflammatory foods means the body has to work double-time to process it all. In a similar vein with sleep and light, we are also constantly exposed to food. As we no longer hunt, it’s easy to continuously eat and eat late into the night, but doing so doesn’t allow our body and our organs to recover and take a break.

  • Eat what’s in season. For a period of time, this will be squashes, pumpkins, cauliflower, broccoli. See what’s being offered at the farmer’s markets.
  • Eat simple. Make soup out of anything or roast them in the oven. Nothing fancy. Just cut, place in a pot or pan and let cook.
  • Go for warm meals as these will bring you comfort.
  • Fast. Set a time at night to stop eating until the next morning.
  • Everything in moderation. Enjoy the holiday treat, but eat in moderation.

winter-squash-soup-cagopcan-tdsp
Easy butternut squash soup to keep you warm and toasty.

Opt Outside

It’s so tempting to stay on the couch, under the covers and watch shows all day and night, but our body needs to move. There’s a saying out there for folks that live in the coldest climate. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” Invest in quality winter clothing. If you do, you’ll have these pieces to last you through many winters. Movement and exercise is more important during the colder season because we are more apt to be sedentary and partaking in the holiday festivities. The air in our homes can also get stale and dry. It’s important that we expose our bodies and brains to natural, fresh air.

  • Make it a personal goal to go on a short walk every day. Make sure to bundle up with a hat.
  • Get at least a few minutes of sun and a few breaths of fresh air.
  • Open your windows on days when the temperature isn’t too cold to circulate air in.
  • Get grounded by walking through a forest, touching a tree, or observing animals.
  • Perform light stretching outside or a few squats to get your blood flowing.

Remember that running yourself ragged isn’t good for you or the people around you. Take care to stop, breathe, and slow down.

7 Natural Remedies to Help You Sleep

Do you ever lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, begging your mind to turn off so you can get some shut-eye? At one point or another, we have all suffered from the frustration of sleepless nights. In fact, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or sleep deprivation. Some adults are so desperate for a good night’s sleep that they’d be willing to give up booze and social media for the rest of their lives in exchange for a lifetime of restful sleep.

girl sleeping
Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

The problem? When faced with a restless night, many turn to sleeping aids rather than natural remedies. Dr. Frank Lipman, New York Times best-selling author and founder of Be Well, explains that sleeping pills increase the risk of dementia, addiction, and harmful behaviors. That’s because sleeping pills contain sedative hypnotics called benzodiazepines (think Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and more) which are potentially addictive and can cause memory and attention problems if used over a long period of time.

All this to say, sleeping pills should not become the crutch that gets you through the night. Rather, consider these natural remedies to help you get the shut-eye you so desperately long for.

couples' feet in bed
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Sex

Yes, sex can help you sleep better!

Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”, is a chemical released in the brain after orgasm. This is the hormone that gives you that all-over, feel-good feeling after sex. Oxytocin acts as a sedative. It counteracts the effects of stress, which keeps you up at night, and rather bathes you in relaxation.

Next time you are having trouble getting to sleep, opt for a late-night rendezvous.

relaxing bath
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

A Warm Bath

After a long day, there are few things that sound as good as drawing a hot bath. Well, maybe there are a few things…(see point #1).

A nighttime bath, about an hour before bed, may be just the thing you need to get a good night’s sleep. That’s because, in order to fall and stay asleep, our core body temperature must drop one to two degrees.

A warm bath will cause your body temperature to rise and then rapidly drop when you get out. This loss in heat will pave the way for a night of uninterrupted, deep sleep.

ASMR

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, is more than just an internet sensation made famous by Bob Ross. Yes, the iconic painter was unknowingly the first ASMR video creator.

You are probably wondering what the heck ASMR is at this point. Essentially, ASMR videos are binaural recordings designed to be heard through headphones that consist of ASMR artists whispering into a camera. Sounds weird, right?

Well, ASMR aims to trigger an experience involving a tingling, euphoric sensation that typically starts on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck, through the upper spine. Many have likened it to when someone plays with your hair, but with simple audio and video triggers.

Although there hasn’t been much research done on the effects of ASMR, there are a variety of individual testimonies of people reporting how ASMR has aided in the management of anxiety, depression, and sleep. ASMR artists must be onto something considering some have thousands of followers on YouTube.

CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an all-natural and legal compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s purpose is not to get you high. In fact, there are a variety of medicinal benefits to CBD oil. It’s known for its pain-reduction qualities, assistance in reducing inflammation, and calming effects. Another benefit? It aids in sleep.

CBD assists in reducing anxiety—you know, that pesky emotion that keeps us up all night. According to research, CBD has been shown to reduce symptoms of insomnia and increase our quantity of sleep. 

Marc Lewis, Executive Editor of Remedy Review, explains: "CBD empowers your body to better regulate its basic functions, things like mood, appetite, and sleep."

calming essential oils 
Photo by Tiara Leitzman on Unsplash

Essential Oils

Speaking of oils, aromatherapy has been proven to put your body in a state of relaxation. The use of essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, and Roman chamomile, to name a few, are known for their calming effect. In particular, lavender has been proven to increase the amount of deep, restorative, REM sleep we all need.

You can incorporate essential oils into your wind-down routine by diffusing them throughout your bedroom, adding a few drops to a hot bath, or applying them directly to the skin.

A Cup of Chamomile

Indulging in a cup of hot tea before bed is the OG, tried-and-true natural remedy for sleep. Although caffeine is a no-no before bed, many herbal teas, like chamomile, peppermint, and valerian, aid in fighting insomnia.

Next time you feel restless, try brewing your favorite sleepy time tea to help your body relax and unwind.

bowl of cherries
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Foods with Melatonin (Not Pills)

Melatonin is the hormone whose function is to calm and relax you. Although our body produces melatonin, there are certain foods we can eat to increase production of the hormone or are a source of the hormone itself.

Tart cherry juice contains the highest concentration of melatonin out there. Studies show that if you drink eight ounces in the morning and at night, it can greatly improve your sleep.

While a melatonin supplements can help, they don’t work for everyone. It’s much better to get it naturally from the food you eat. 

If you are struggling with insomnia on a regular basis, you may need to address the problem from a holistic point of view. Are you experiencing pain, from your mattress or an injury, that keeps you up at night? Drinking caffeine too late in the day?

Are there other disturbances to your sleep such as light, noise, and temperature? Assess your sleeping environment for possible disturbances and make adjustments accordingly.

Sleep is an integral part of overall health and wellness. It’s important you take the appropriate steps to protect it. 







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