Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic according to the Center of Disease Control & Prevention. Inadequate sleep contributes to depression, skin aging, weight gain and brain fog. While so many Americans are turning to prescription sleep aids, perhaps we are overlooking some far more natural and even free alternatives. One suggestion is as simple as taking a walk around your yard, barefoot.
In ancient times, folks found that walking barefoot in the grass was the best cure for insomnia. Today, research continues to support this belief, showing that going barefoot can have a profoundly beneficial effect on sleep disturbances.
The skin-to-earth connection, known as “Grounding” or “Earthing,” works like this:
The earth is enriched with a negative ionic charge. Since our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water [source: Mayo Clinic], walking barefoot creates a reaction that allows for conducting electricity, thereby ‘grounding’ our bodies to that charge. The result is improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
There are many health benefits to this inner balance. Grounding reduces pain and inflammation, synchronizes your internal clock, hormonal cycles and physiological rhythms, and (according to a report in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, “normalizes the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep.”
Another way walking barefoot can improve your slumber; it clears your head and creates a sense of calm. As you become more cautious about what’s in front of you, watching where you step, you are mindful of your surroundings. Awareness of the moment will quiet your mind from the inner chatter of the day. Your senses heighten and it quite literally ‘grounds’ you, connecting you with nature.
Grounding is not limited to grass, or feet for that matter. You can receive grounding benefits through your hands as well. Touching or walking in dirt or sand absorbs negative ions through your skin. Any place by the water is the ideal ‘grounding’ spot, which gives us another reason to love the beach.
If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking off your shoes and walking outdoors. If you are a gardener, take the gloves off as much as possible. And parents - let your children play in the dirt!
Bottom line, it's worth a try. What have you got to lose?