Kiss insomnia goodnight with these helpful tips
Sleep is one of the most important things to do for your health and wellbeing. Sleep is the time when your body heals and restores itself after a long, busy day. It’s also the time when your brain flushes out toxins and your mind stores memories.
Lack of sleep, or disrupted sleeping patterns, can cause havoc in your life.
No matter how motivated you are to be effective and productive during your day, a poor night’s sleep can derail your best efforts.
If you’re looking for natural ways to improve your sleep, then keep reading because we’re sharing 15 ways to improve your sleep.
Why is it important to improve your sleep?
- Being well-rested improves your focus and thus you’ll be more productive at work.
- Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain because feeling tired often makes us crave energy-rich foods filled with sugar.
- Sleep is crucial to “go hard” at your next gym workout.
- Improves digestion and calorie distribution
- Reduces stress levels, as the brain is able to function better
- Good sleep promotes a healthy immune system
- Being well-rested improves your mood and outlook on life
15 ways to naturally improve your sleep
1. Practice good sleeping hygiene
What is “sleep hygiene?”
Sleep hygiene is not necessarily related to being “clean” before bed but is a term that encompasses having good habits when it comes to sleep.
Think of sleep hygiene as your sleep process or practice that equips you with the best possible chance of having a good night’s sleep.
We’ll go through many of these in the next 14 points below, but having a system or process AKA “sleep hygiene” routine is one thing you need to promote sound sleep.
2. Make your bedroom a tranquil, relaxing space
Having a comfortable and relaxing bedroom will help you to unwind. You’ll also fall asleep easier this way. You could consider the colour of your bedroom walls and choose relaxing or calming blues to over energizing yellow or red.
If possible, limit the other activities you do in your bedroom. For instance, if you enjoy reading during the day, rather do it in the comfort of your lounge and not on your bed.
Or maybe you enjoy a craft such as knitting and tend to do it in your bedroom. Try not to do things like ironing etc. in your bedroom.
You want to condition your body and mind to make an association between your bedroom and sleeping.
Also, if you have pets or small children occupying your bed, then this can lead to disrupted sleep. We’re not telling you how to live your life, but if these factors are causing you to have disrupted sleep then you might want to explore other options.
In the spirit of creating a relaxing space, it is better to avoid having a TV in your bedroom.
Having a TV right there in your bedroom may entice you to catch up on your favourite shows. This isn’t always a good idea before sleeping. This “screen time” can reduce your ability to fall asleep. We’ll explain this in the next point.
3. Avoid the screen before bedtime
It is common that in the world of technology everyone is using their phones and tablets to communicate daily. But, this poses a sleep-depriving problem. The blue light in the device’s screen mimics the same properties of daylight. This tricks the brain into thinking that it’s daytime.
When the body assumes it’s daytime, it produces less melatonin, the hormone needed to make us feel sleepy.
So put down the tablet/mobile phone and rather do some light reading before bed. Or even better, use this as quality time to spend with your partner.
4. Avoid big meals before bedtime
When you’re looking to improve your sleep, it’s important to stay away from a big meal just before bed. Some people opt to practice intermittent fasting that allows them to stop eating for a few hours. Some people start fasting from 7pm through to 7 or 8am the next day.
Eating a rich, heavy meal before bed can hamper the body’s ability to unwind as it will be spending time digesting food instead of healing and repairing.
During digestion, the body produces enzymes and hormones to help with the process and this is probably why you can’t get comfortable and wind down.
5. Enjoy a warm shower or bath before bedtime
One way to relax and help your body to “tap into calm mode” is by inducing a sense of relaxation. You can do this by taking a nice warm shower or bath before climbing into bed.
The heat of the water is soothing, easing your stress of the day away. Some people prefer adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to improve the experience.
Speaking of essential oil…
6. Embrace aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is highly beneficial if you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep.
It is natural and free from toxins. Make sure that you buy 100% organic oil. Although synthetic oils are more affordable, they sometimes contain preservatives and toxic substances.
You can apply the essential oils with a carrier oil topically or use them in a diffuser and so fill the air with their calming influence.
Oils that will help to improve your sleep include:
- Roman chamomile
- Clary sage
7. Mind your alcohol intake
Just like you need to avoid caffeine before bedtime the same applies to avoid alcohol. Try to avoid alcohol at least 3 hours before bedtime.
8. Drink soothing teas and other warm beverages
Herbal tea is very good for you. Tea has many benefits and this includes helping you to sleep better. Try teas like chamomile, green tea and peppermint to promote sleep.
Apart from herbal teas to improve your sleep, you can also try soothing beverages like a milk tonic or better known as “golden milk”. Before bedtime, you could heat a small quantity of milk on the stove and add some cinnamon, ginger and turmeric to it. Let it brew and then drink before bedtime.
You could also drink some warm milk with a dash of honey. Or simply have a glass of milk as is, cold or warm whichever way you prefer best.
9. Get more sunlight during the day
Sunlight during the day benefits your body for a good night’s rest later on. Step outside first thing in the morning when the sun is milder than in the afternoon. The natural sunlight will help the body to regulate its “clock” or circadian rhythm.
Don’t overdo it though, ten minutes is fine.
10. Choose a comfortable bed and pillow
This might not be the very first thing that comes to mind when going to bed at night, but investing in a quality pillow and mattress will improve your sleep.
Memory foam is a good material to help support your posture. A good bed and pillow may be a costly choice but an investment worth every cent.
11. Say no to cigarettes before bed
Just as you ought to avoid alcohol and caffeine, cigarettes should also be avoided. Smoking cigarettes will reduce your body’s ability to produce melatonin and will leave you tossing and turning in bed.
12. Stick to the same bedtime
As part of good sleep hygiene, you want to make sure that you sleep at the same time every night. This helps the body to get into the habit of winding down from a certain time and thus fall asleep.
13. Get physical and exercise more
Getting regular exercise will not only tire you out physically, it will help every aspect of your health. Remember, stress can lead to insomnia and exercise has been proven to help lower stress levels.
Exercise is especially important if you have a desk job and spend most of your day sitting.
Some people also prefer doing some stretches in the form of yoga before bed.
14. Don’t nap too long during the day
Some people enjoy an afternoon nap or siesta as the Spanish would have it, but long daytime naps can deprive you of sleep. If you sleep for too long during the day, it’s only normal for you to feel less tired come bedtime. This is because an extended nap during daylight hours can throw off the circadian rhythm we mentioned earlier.
To fix this, why not try power naps which are only about 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
15. Just relax!
What a better way to wind down before bedtime than to simply relax!
If you’re on a quest to improve your sleep, meditating before bed can help. Meditating regulates your heart rate and breathing which in the end helps your body to relax. Being calm is one of the easiest ways to fall asleep.
Explore various forms of self-care to keep your body and mind relaxed.
Closing thoughts on why you need to improve your sleep
Given all the benefits of a good night’s rest, it’s clear that better sleep is good for your health.
For both adults and children, sleep helps the body to recoup and rejuvenate and thus enough sleep will improve the quality of your life.
If ever you find yourself having sleepless nights and insomnia, then try the above tips.