Being unable to get to sleep easily is a very frustrating issue - we all know that feeling of tossing and turning and being unable to switch off. But what are we supposed to do about it? Another niggling issue that affects many people is brittle nails that chip, split or peel easily. They can be unsightly and lead to painful infections.
Fortunately, there are home remedies to alleviate both of these issues without resorting to medication. Sometimes it's as simple as adjusting your diet, or making some small changes to your lifestyle. Read on for ten great tips to solve these frustrating problems:
1) Up your magnesium intake. Research has indicated that even a minor deficiency in magnesium can prevent the brain from settling down at night. WebMD recommends trying to get more magnesium from your food; good sources are leafy greens, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and almonds. You can also take magnesium supplements, but consult your doctor first.
2) Experiment with lavender. Research has shown that lavender oil can encourage sleep, according to Prevention. You can try spritzing the diluted oil onto your pillow, or try adding a couple of drops to a hot bath before bed. You can use an infuser in your bedroom, if you have one. Always use essential oils only as directed and be careful to read the warnings first, as they're not safe for everyone. Alternatively, you can buy pillows with dried lavender inside them, or make one yourself.
3) Make lifestyle changes. It's not easy to break bad habits, but according to WebMD these may be the most significant factors in your difficulty sleeping. You should turn off the TV, as certain blue-light sources can hinder meletonin production and stop you from settling. The same applies to your phone, and your laptop... try putting them all away a couple of hours before bed and reading a book instead. Likewise, good exercise encourages healthy sleep but you need to do it at the right time. Research has shown that exercise in the morning is linked to better sleeping patterns than exercise later in the day or at night.
4) Create the perfect sleeping environment. This means de-cluttering your bedroom and removing anything that might cause stress, like piles of laundry or bills to pay. WebMD also recommends wearing the same thing to bed every night (even if it's your birthday suit!). This signifies to your brain that it's bedtime. Make your room as dark as possible, and try to reduce any noise. If you live in a noisy area you could try a white-noise machine or relaxing background music. Invest in a quality mattress, and sleep on breathable linen.
5) Finally, take a break. Not being able to sleep can be quite stressful, and this can create unhealthy links between being in bed and feelings of frustration and wakefulness, according to the National Sleep Foundation. They recommend that if you haven't fallen asleep and you feel yourself becoming frustrated, take the pressure off. Get up, read a book, and relax. Come back to bed when you feel tired again - just don't be tempted to switch on that television!
6) Try almond or coconut oil for healthier nails. The Health Site recommends mixing a teaspoon of almond oil with a little lemon juice and massaging it into your hands and nails. Alternatively you can soak your fingertips in the mixture for two minutes. Almond oil is rich in antioxidants and nutrients and it provides nourishment to your nails, helping to reduce breakages. Top 10 Home Remedies suggests doing the same with coconut oil, which both moisturises your nails and prevents infections. The massaging action encourages blood flow to your nail bed.
7) Soak your nails in apple cider vinegar. This is a common home remedy - the vinegar is full of nutrients like calcium, iron and potassium, according to Home Remedy Hacks. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and then soak your nails - try doing it for a few minutes daily.
8) Go easy on the nail polish. WebMD suggests that nail polish can actually help to protect your nails from losing moisture; however, you should be careful not to remove and reapply more than once a week, as nail polish remover is seriously harsh on your nails.
9) Use sea salt. According to Natural Living Ideas, Dead Sea Salt contains more than twenty minerals which are great for nail health. Dissolve a few tablespoons of salt into a small amount of warm water, and soak your nails for 10 - 15 minutes. Increase the heath benefits (and the luxury factor) by adding a couple of drops of moisturising oil such as Vitamin E or flaxseed, or add a drop of essential oil like lavender or lemon. Repeat a few times a week for strong, healthy nails.
10) Massage your nails with tea tree oil. If you think your nails might be brittle because of an underlying fungal nail infection, tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic, according to Top 10 Home Remedies. You can use the pure oil, or you can mix it with olive oil or Vitamin E oil (you can break open a Vitamin E supplement capsule, or buy this oil from the pharmacy), and massage it into your nails.
If you think your nail weakness or sleeping issues might be related to a more serious health issue, or if they persist or worsen significantly over time, then you should consult your doctor. But before you reach for expensive products from the pharmacy, try these home remedies - they're quick, simple, and healthy for your body. We'd love to hear what works for you.