I came across the above article on Naturopathic.org, and I have to say at a gut level it makes total sense: I know I function at a *much* higher level when I've actually gotten the rest that I need.
However, there are many of us who are not getting the recharge we need, especially when it comes to restorative sleep.
When people come into The Herbalist with sleep issues, I always ask the following questions:
1. Do you have problems getting to sleep?
2. Do you have problems staying asleep?
3. Do you have problems getting BACK to sleep if you've been awakened?
4. Do you feel like it's your mind that's restless, or your body?
Often times, it could be more than one, and at the worst, all of the above! Also, it could vary based on time of day, month, stress or activity level.
When I have difficulty drifting off easily, or wake during the night, I have learned to ask myself the questions above, and respond with the appropriate remedy for me. Here's what works for me when I:
Answer YES to #1: Immediately ask yourself question #4. You may not know, and that's OK- when you can't get to sleep, you have nothing but time to do more diagnosis. But mostly I know if my mind is racing, and if my never ending to-do list is keeping me from drifting off: in that case, I take Magnesium to help me with that sleepy feeling.
If I'm sleepy but restless, that tells me my body might be the culprit, and I go with the Dream Sleep formula. It relaxes musculature, but also contains the standard Passion Flower/Valerian combination that so many have used to fight sleeplessness.
Answer YES to #2: For me, this is the worst, as then I'm also tasked with solving #3. Everything seems fine- I get sleepy, I fall asleep naturally, and then I'm awake at 2am. What works for me? 1-2 Kava Chill pills before I go to bed seems to put me in a deep enough state of relaxation that I don't wake up until it's time to.
The issue could also be that I'm already overtired, and trapped in longer paradoxical sleep cycles.
That's where the Calm-R Rest helps me get back on trap. Anyone can tell you that once you settle into a pattern, it's hard to break out of.
Answer YES to #3: California Poppy, all the way. 1-3 droppers full, and I'm back to dreamland, just like that bunch in Wizard of Oz. This has also worked for me in scenario #1, although I will say it makes me feel a little druggy. I don't necessarily like that feeling before bed, but at 3am, I could care less. It takes about 20 minutes to work, but again... in the middle of the night, I have nothing but time.
Where's the Melatonin, you ask? I do use it sometimes- If i've had a particularly tough week where I've stayed up too late burning the midnight oil... as we age, our natural production slows down, and melatonin can help to reset your internal clock if you've been traveling or gotten into a sleep pattern you want reset. But I don't like to take it all the time, and it's not recommended for extended use.