What Are Some Effective (Phase One) Ways To Wind Down At Night?

I confess that I normally have no trouble melting into an easy chair in the evenings and eventually getting to sleep at night. I realize that I’m in a small group. We get e-mails asking what would replace an evening glass of wine when transitioning to the Phase One Diet, and I think we have some options.

First, it sounds like a standard natural health answer to be reminded of exercise’s ability to calm the nerves, but it bears repeating. When I’m not routinely exercising, my nerves are more apt to be on edge. But when a little extra physical activity is thrown in the mix, my evening relaxation comes more easily, and my sleep is more restful. Even an evening walk around the block may set the stage for effective calming down from the day’s stresses.

Let’s say that you’re already doing that, or that your job already involves physical labor. What then? I like a few herbal supplements to help with stress, adrenal fatigue and the consequent insomnia.

The first is a tinctured form of ashwagandha, (“awsh-wuh-gawn-duh”). Ashwagandha is a classic adrenal/stress herb used for centuries. There are a lot of excellent brands available at health food stores and online, but my current favorite is called Ashwagandha Liquid Herbal Extract from Planetary Herbals. If I’m particularly stressed, I’ll mix a half a teaspoon in warm water, drink it down, and in minutes I’m melting.

Another classic stress supplement is rhodiola rosea. It’s a Russian adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are so named because they help the body to adapt to whatever stressors come its way. Some people report that it restores energy that stress has robbed from them, while others say that it’s a perfect evening nutrient to help them calm down. Either way, rhodiola is one of the best for stress.

A couple of formulas come to mind, and one is made by the company that makes the ashwagandha listed above. It’s called Schisandra Adrenal Complex by Planetary Herbals. It’s based on a traditional Chinese formula that features the shisandra berry. I sometimes purchase dried schisandra berries and add them to an evening tonic tea to help boost the stress-relieving effects. The Schisandra Adrenal Complex can be taken during the day, and won’t cause drowsiness.

Another formula is by Bioactive Nutrients and is called Stress Relief. It contains passionflower, which is becoming more and more popular as a stand-alone stress reliever. It’s combined with valerian, hops, and skullcap, which are traditional American nighttime herbs.

If you peruse the health food store shelves, you’ll also find a variety of tea formulations that can be consumed in the evenings. Some are surprisingly good-tasting and effective, but not too expensive.

Explore what’s available online and at your local health food store, and you’ll be surprised at how many options are out there. Once you experiment, you’ll find the formulas and dosages that are perfect for helping the stress melt away.

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