Insomnia is nothing to smile at. It can be very detrimental to your general health and job performance. It is closely linked with episodes of depression, hostility, anger, and other chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. According to statistics by the CDC, more than 9 million of the people in the USA use sleeping aids to obtain a peaceful night of sleep. The good news however is that insomnia can also be treated effectively through non-prescription techniques. These are remedies beyond popular sleeping pills (which can sometimes themselves worsen sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea). Save yourself from more turning and tossing in bed through these 10 natural ways that’ll help you go to sleep faster.
#1 – Herbal Remedies for Better Sleep
Herbs have been used since prehistoric times to cure insomnia. It?s no surprise then they remain a popular way of treating sleep disorders. Natural herbs not only help to induce sleep but may also cure other sleep-related problems such as restlessness and agitation. The most common herbs used to treat insomnia include chamomile, Valerian, and Kava Kava. They are used as tinctures, teas, and supplements. Herbs are very effective and don?t cause dependence like prescription drugs. When choosing the best herbal remedies for sleep, try to get those with the?namedactive ingredients.
#2 – Meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Quality Sleep
Experts have confirmed meditation to be an effective way of eliminating stress and anxiety that causes sleeplessness in some people. There are several meditation classes and yoga groups that can aid you in fighting insomnia. Progressive muscle relaxation is an old technique developed in 1915. Despite that, the method is still very effective in remedying sleeplessness. In progressive muscle relaxation, you systematically tense your muscles before relaxing them. Several health benefits come along with this technique. It not only improves sleep quality but also reduces fatigue.
#3?- Prepare Your Bedroom for a Good Night’s Sleep
Sometimes you don?t have to blame your body for poor sleep when the problem lies in your surroundings. Sleep specialists recommend evaluating your bedroom first to pinpoint the sources of your sleeping distractions. Creaking noises, mattress lumps, that pestering light through your bedroom window and an uncomfortable bed are some of the common causes of sleep issues. If lighting is the problem, consider adjusting it to suit your sleeping needs. Several studies have shown that most people love sleeping in a dark room. When sleeping in a dark environment, your body releases sufficient levels of melatonin that make you fall asleep faster. If lighting is a concern to you, then consider switching off all the lights, close your blinds, reduce the brightness of your cell phone and dim that alarm clock before retiring to bed.
#4 – No More Late Evening Coffee!
Most of us love evening coffee with friends and family. However, drinking too much of it late in the evening can result in trouble at the time you slip in between your sheets. Too much caffeine can make you stay awake all night. It makes your mind busy and can be hard to turn off your day?s events. It can be worse especially if your body is sensitive to caffeine. Cut down intake of caffeine 4 hours before bedtime. If needs be, try decaffeinated tea/coffee, caffeine-free soft drinks or sparkling water.
#5?- Ditch Those Cigarettes
Cigarette contains nicotine which is a potent stimulant. According to a 2008 study by John Hopkins, smokers experience up to four times sleep disturbances compared to non-smokers. They are also more fatigued when they wake up in the morning. Besides, smoking also contributes to other sleep problems such as sleep apnea and snoring. Cigarette contains harmful chemicals and pollutants that can lead to swelling and collapse of the airway in the nose and throat. Therefore, it can worsen snoring making it troublesome for you to sleep. Those who quit smoking report improved quality sleep.
#6 – Exercise for Better Sleep
Exercise, though not known to many, is an excellent way of promoting quality sleep. Based on research done in 2013 by the National Sleep Foundation, those who lead a physically active lifestyle report better sleep as opposed to those who don?t exercise at all. Though it takes time, exercises have long-term effects in reducing and treating effects of insomnia. Exercise triggers a rise in body temperature. When performed late in the afternoon, the post-exercise drop in temperatures can make you fall asleep faster. Note however that further studies also show that exercise affects the body clock or circadian rhythm. Therefore, the effects of exercises depend on the time you perform them. Try to avoid exercising to close to bedtime?at least 2-3 hours before should be fine.
#7?- Aromatherapy for?Relaxed, Peaceful Sleep
The use of aromatherapy is another science-backed method of improving sleep. With modern day busy lifestyles, it can be hard not to get stressed at some point. Aromatherapy has a calming effect and helps to soothe your body for faster sleep. The psychology of a human being plays a huge role when it comes to sleep, so aromatherapy helps soothe the mind to prepare you to fall asleep.. There are different scents for you to choose from. Among the popular ones are lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, and marjoram. You can use them on your pillow or when taking a bath. Aromatherapy is used in nursing care to treat sleeplessness caused by diseases such ischemic heart disease. Therefore, aromatherapy is beneficial for your sleep and overall health as well.
#8?- Take a Warm Shower Just Before Bedtime
A warm bath slightly raises your body temperature. When you step into cold air, your body temperature drops gradually. Science has it that gradually lowering your body temperature helps to decrease your metabolic rate and gets your body ready for sleep. Therefore, if you take a warm bath at the same time every day before bed, you can condition your body to adopt a better sleep routine.
Additionally, warm baths are great for their soothing effect, especially after a long and/or difficult day. Toss it into your bedtime ritual and see how well it works!
#9 – Pour Cold Water or Ice Over Your Face
Anxiety and stress are the two factors that can deter you from having better quality sleep. Dipping your face in cold water or pouring it over your face can help relieve anxiety and stress. It calms you down and triggers a phenomenon referred to as the Mammalian Dive Reflex. As a sidenote, this physiological phenomenon occurs whenever our faces are cooled or if we end up holding our breath. It’s really an oxygen conservation mechanism, that lowers your blood pressure and reduces your heart rate, and the colder the water, the faster it occurs. Blood flow in your extremities also slows gradually which basically is a relaxation signal to your brain. This can help?prepare your body for a peaceful sleep.
#10 – Review Your Bedtime Snack
In case you have blood sugar irregularities, heartburn, or any other food-related sensitivity, it is good to reconsider the type of food you eat before bedtime. If your blood sugar is a problem, then consider taking protein snacks to keep blood sugar in check. Heavy meals, especially sugary and spicy foods can also compromise your sleep, as eating late can increase the likelihood of acid reflux. Eating too close to bedtime can also be a hazard to the smoothness of your sleep. Paying close attention to these can help restore your sleep quality.
I do hope you’ll put this knowledge to good use. Improving your sleep?will boost your day-to-day productivity and help ward off a host of issues. If you have insomnia, please try following these recommendations!
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Sleep well until next time!