If you are looking at how to get a good night’s rest, you are not alone.
Many people today are affected by irregular sleep patterns.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 33 % of American adults do not get enough sleep, due to the fact that they are sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
This is a worrying statistic because good sleep is associated with less stress and also plays a significant role in maintaining our overall health.
Not only that, insufficient sleep has led to other complicated problems. It is associated with more accidents behind the wheel and in workplaces. Moreover, it can make your health more vulnerable to some chronic illnesses.
And with almost 70 million people who don’t sleep well, in the U.S alone, it is high time that we find ways to reverse this trend.
Here are 10 easy and natural tweaks to sleeping fast and more soundly.
1. Cut back on caffeine consumption & smoking.
There is no doubt that our caffeine consumption affects our quality of sleep. Though it might be difficult for some people to quit, experts recommend that you limit your caffeine intake to 250 mg per day. If you don’t, caffeine blocks the adenosine receptor to keep you from feeling sleepy.
It is also advised that you avoid drinking caffeine four to six hours before heading to bed if you need more than 250 mg per day. Caffeine is present in numerous products such as coffee, soda, iced tea, chocolate, and various over-the-counter medications, so be cautious when you take these at night.
Additionally, experts also say that smoking affects sleep, considering how addictive it is. This is attributed to the nighttime withdrawal of nicotine. To top it off, smoking also affects the sleep of people with breathing disorders such as asthma. If you can quit smoking you’ll increase your chances of sleeping better.
2. Sync your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Your body is fitted with a natural timepiece called the circadian rhythm, and when it comes to resting well through the night, keeping a close eye on your body clock is essential.
This is achieved by being consistent with your sleep, sticking to a sound sleep schedule, and going to bed/waking up at the same time every day.
Although sticking to a sleep schedule may not mean that you have to wake up really early during weekends, it does consist of resisting the urge to sleep for more than two extra hours.
3. Exercise regularly.
Going for a jog or a walk in the park won’t just be significant for your overall health, it will also help you sleep well at night.
Medical professionals advise regular workouts and physical exercise to maintain general health and a great sleep cycle. That’s because when you exercise, sleep hormones such as melatonin are boosted, and a quick 10 to 15-minute exercise every morning or during the day will help harness a better circadian rhythm.
4. Reserve your bedroom for only sleeping.
Your bed should be reserved for sleeping and sex only. This will make it a stimulus for sleeping. If you use your bedroom or bed for other things like responding to emails, taking calls, or working, the environment may be a stimulus for wakefulness.
Sleep experts suggest you avoid watching TV in bed, and remove any exaggerated amounts of technology, as these are culprits that destroy a good night’s rest.
5. Regulate your artificial light exposure at home.
There are several theories of the effects of light on sleep. Medical experts say that people with insomnia are extra sensitive to light. This is because the extra light is a signal to the brain that it is time to work or play.
With that being said, there are many ways that you can regulate your lighting in your home, to assist you in better quality sleep. You can choose to use candles (but be careful) or low-wattage light bulbs that come with a dimming effect. The idea is to keep your house as dark as possible after dusk or at the very least two hours before bed to signal your brain it’s time to get sleepy.
6. Increase Natural light exposure during the day.
Natural light does a fantastic job of stimulating your brain, body, and hormones, to not only help keep you awake with energy during the day but also to notify your core when it’s time for rest.
Natural sunlight does this by balancing the circadian rhythm. If your circadian rhythm is healthy and balanced properly, it will improve your energy during the day, while simultaneously, improving the quality and duration of sleep you get at night.
Health experts suggest that everyone and their dog, should get out and seek the sun every single day to get a better night’s sleep. And if this is not feasible, invest in artificial light therapy.
7. Meditate to calm the mind or do some yoga.
Meditation is important, not only as a remedy to get a good night’s sleep but also for your overall wellness. When meditating, you can reduce your stress levels significantly, while also slowing down your breathing.
It also calms the mind, relaxes the body, and increases awareness, which are all fantastic ways to calm down the nervous system for a good night’s rest.
Another way to relax is by doing yoga. It combines healing, exercise, and breathing techniques as well. In fact, an easy technique to steal from yoga is the 4-7-8 breathing method. Breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for seven counts, and breathe out for eight counts. Try to do this at night to help you sleep better!
8. Take herbs, supplements & tea.
Another remedy to help aid sleep disorders is taking natural supplements and herbs. The modern market offers many natural solutions that improve sleep such as valerian root being known to be one of the most effective herbs.
Chamomile tea is also highly recommended and research has proven to back its effectiveness. Ensure that you monitor how herbs and supplements react with your body. If sleeping problems persist, visit a doctor.
9. Avoid using devices an hour before bed.
It is essential to avoid using electronics at least one hour before bedtime, for a good night’s rest. The light from your devices such as tablets, mobile phones, computers, etc, stimulates the brain to think when you shouldn’t be awake. Not only that, but these harmful blue lights can be easily avoided if you limit your screen time an hour before bed.
10. Reduce irregular or long daytime naps.
During the day, long or irregular naps can adversely affect your sleep, while short power naps can be very beneficial.
One study noted that napping for 30 minutes or can improve brain function during the day, but other studies say that longer naps can damage the health and quality of sleep. The thing to remember is, this is going to be different from person to person.
This is because when the brain reaches the REM stage (usually after 30 minutes) the body and mind start to restore the cells in the body, and when it does this, it makes it much harder to wake and return to busy tasks.
So the napping ‘effects’ depend really, on how your sleep quality is. You shouldn’t worry if you take daily naps and sleep well.
There you have it. There so many ways of how to get a good night’s rest. However, it may not be easy for some, as there are close to 80 known sleeping disorders, with insomnia being the most common. So hopefully, these natural proven techniques will improve the quality of sleep you’re getting.
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