Q: I’m under a lot of stress lately with work and my kids and I’m finding I’m having trouble falling and staying asleep at night. My doctor has prescribed an anti-anxiety medicine, but I really don’t want to start relying on drugs to sleep. What drug-free remedy do you recommend for aiding sleep? – Sandy, Larkspur, CO
A: Sandy I know of two natural remedies that are cheap, easy and great for the body. One is physical activity. Time and again, regular exercise has been proven beneficial in promoting a good night’s sleep. However, you’ll want to be careful with regard to the time of day you choose to exercise. For some people, physical activity carried out too close to bedtime tends to cause sleeplessness.
Another natural sleep aid is a warm bath. Soaking in a warm tub before bedtime is an excellent stress reliever. It soothes tired and achy muscles, reduces anxiety, and helps increase your body temperature, which helps you fall asleep faster. Adding Epsom salts and certain essential oils to your bath will enhance the sleep promoting benefits of your soak. Sage, lavender, and bergamot are particularly effective in calming the mind and reducing anxiety.