For some people, getting to sleep and staying asleep is as simple as going to bed. Unfortunately for about 27% of adults who struggle nightly with getting to sleep, it is not so easy. Further, 68% of Americans responded to a survey stating that they struggled to get to sleep at least once per week. It goes further than just feeling tired the next day; not getting adequate sleep can have an immediate effect on hormones, exercise performance, and brain function.
When embarking on a journey to improve your overall helps, getting enough sleep is one of the most important changes you can make. However, if you are struggling to get enough sleep regularly, you might not want to turn to prescription medication. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can change about your daily habits to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Give Your Smartphone, Tablet, or PC a Break
Blue light, which is emitted by the newer smart televisions, smartphones, tablets, and PCs interrupts your body’s circadian rhythm. In short, it fools your body into thinking it is still daylight outside. Putting down your devices an hour or two before bed can help. If you can’t sleep without scrolling through social media, you can download an app that blocks blue light.
Create a Sleep-Inducing Bedroom Environment
The environment in your bedroom is a key factor in both the quantity and the quality of sleep that you get. Factors can include temperature, noise, external lights, and even furniture placement. When women were surveyed, 50% reported better sleep when light and noise were diminished. Make sure that your bedroom is without unnecessary external light and noise and see if this doesn’t help you sleep better.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine, Especially Late in the Day
While most people know that caffeine is a stimulant that can prevent you from getting to sleep at night, most people think of alcohol as a way to wind down to get to sleep. While alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it has been shown to increase symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns, which can affect your quality of sleep. Try to avoid caffeine in the six hours before bedtime and avoid alcohol just before bed.
Exercise – Just Not Right Before Bed
Although science isn’t sure just why, exercise helps people get better sleep. Regular, moderate exercise boosts the amount of slow wave, deep sleep, which helps us to wake feeling more refreshed. However, try not to exercise in the two hours before bed. Exercise may help improve the quality of sleep, but it also releases endorphins, which can keep people awake.
Okay, so there is not much scientific truth that warm milk, chamomile tea, and tart cherry juice help people sleep, but many Americans swear by these homemade remedies. Warm milk has been associated with the chemicals that stimulate the effects of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is a chemical building block for serotonin, which is a chemical involved in the sleep-wake transition. Green tea works in much the same way, but make sure you get a caffeine-free variety. Tart cherry juice may support the production of melatonin, which helps with a healthy sleep cycle.
Skip the Late-Night Meals and Snacks
A late-night snack or meal might be what is negatively affecting your sleep. It can affect the natural release of melatonin and HGH. However, if you must have something on your stomach before sleeping, a high-carb meal might just be the best thing you can eat. Eaten four hours before bed, a high-carb snack helped people fall asleep faster. Other people have shown that a low-carb diet improved their sleep.
If you are looking to go the natural route, you can always try CBD oil. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Many people have reported that CBD helped to reduce stress and anxiety, though scientific research on the subject is still in its infancy. You can get a vaporizer and try a CBD oil for a more immediate effect. If you don’t want to inhale, you can try a CBD-infused edible or CBD capsules which can help to improve sleep.
Sunlight matters in regulating our body’s normal circadian rhythm. Your body relies on natural light to know what time it is. We are naturally programmed to be awake during daylight hours and to sleep when it is dark outside. Make sure you expose yourself to natural light as soon as you wake up and at regular intervals throughout the day.
Create a Sleep Schedule – And Stick to It
While this may be natural during the workweek, the temptation to sleep in on weekends can get the better of almost everyone. This ties in with using natural light to cue the body in on when it is time to sleep. While sleeping in for an extra hour or two on Saturdays won’t hurt, resist the urge to sleep more than that. You might also want to set a similar bedtime each night, including weekends.
Meditation can help to promote sleep by slowing breathing and reducing the levels of stress hormones. Meditation is a technique where a person redirects their thoughts to something such as their breathing or a sound or a word. This helps to relax the body and to calm the mind. Mindfulness is also a meditation technique that helps to focus a person’s mind on the present rather than worrying about the future. Meditating for as little as 5 or 10 minutes each night before bed can help to put you in a relaxed state so you can get to sleep faster.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to a host of health problems and unwanted symptoms. By following these tips, you can help yourself get a better night’s sleep every night. Not only will these tips help you in getting to sleep, they can also help to improve your quality of sleep, which is a bonus.