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I recently changed jobs and now my sleep schedule has been off.

Q. Dear Terry, “I recently changed jobs and now my sleep schedule has been off. I don’t want to be on a prescription or something that can affect how I feel the next day. Is there anything natural I can try?” — Janet P., Fort Smith, AR

A. Dear Janet, Unfortunately, many of us are shortchanging ourselves by not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. We go to bed too late and get up too early. And when we do go to bed with the intention of getting a good night’s sleep, something gets in the way. We lie in bed, tossing and turning, our minds racing with the worries of the day or the chores of tomorrow.

Fortunately, when our busy lives get in the way, there are natural sleep aids, like lemon balm, lavender, mandarin, and ravensara. When combined, they can help us enjoy a more restful and sound sleep. These four botanicals have been used medicinally for centuries and are known for their ability to calm our minds and relax our bodies so we can sleep more soundly. I recommend taking 125-250 mg total of these four botanicals 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.

When sleep troubles arise from being unable to turn your brain “off”, I believe narrow-leaved coneflower (Echinacea angustifoliae) can be of great benefit. Researchers have discovered that when taken at the correct dosage level, compounds in coneflower can help reduce anxiety as effectively as certain prescription medications, without the side effects. These compounds have been shown to attach to certain brain receptors, which help invoke a sense of calm and relaxation. I recommend taking 20-40 mg of coneflower extract twice daily. When choosing a formula, make sure you look for a clinically studied, narrow-leaved coneflower root extract that is standardized to echinacosides.

You may also find it helpful to turn off electronics several hours before trying to sleep (bright screens can suppress the production of melatonin), avoid caffeine at least 4-6 hours before bedtime, exercise regularly as it can help you sleep more deeply, and do your best to maintain the same bedtime and wake up schedule, to help regulate your body’s internal clock and adjust to your new work schedule.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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