If you are struggling to get some sleep when you get to bed after a long day, there are natural ways to fall asleep at the right time and wake up rested. According to the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) , 1 in every 3 Americans suffers sleep deprivation This is a massive number of people, which is why the WHO insists that sleep deprivation be taken more seriously. When you lack enough sleep, your body’s biological mechanisms tend to slow down, which affects your health and performance.
1. Learn basic meditation
Mindful meditation, a process that focuses on your breathing patterns and helps your brain focus on a single idea of the present, has been tried and tested as an aid to sleeping without having to go for the bedside pill box. Mindful meditation creates a relaxing effect which ultimately helps you drift away.
This is a hormone produced in the pineal gland of the brain and is known for its effect on sleeping cycles. When the gland is not producing enough amounts of this hormone, then you find it hard to fall asleep once you get to bed. You can however offset this by making use of melatonin supplements, found in most drug and supplement stores. It is also available in some fruits and vegetables but the quantities in there do not have much of an impact unless you take ridiculous amounts of the sources.
3. Practice breathing exercises
Lying in bed, take a deep breath and exhale with a double effort. Make sure that when you do it, your body is spread out in a relaxing manner and that there is no strain on any part of the torso. Keep repeating this motion for as long as ten minutes, and you will feel your muscles loosen as your lungs expand and relax in perfect harmony.
4. Stay out of your bedroom during daytime hours
Naturally, staying inside your bedroom during the day goads you in taking that little nap that stretches from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The problem here is that this ‘reserved’ sleep was supposed to come into use at night, so wasting it on the day takes away a significant portion of your night time.
5. Try magnesium supplements
When magnesium enters the bloodstream, it helps the body reduce the levels of cortisol, therefore triggering sleep. Cortisol is a hormone notorious for being a stressor, and is the main hormone that keeps people tossing and turning at night. Magnesium is also a relaxer element, keeping you calm and sleepy when you hop into bed.
6. Read a book before bed
Reading a book takes you away from the present and places you in an alternate conscious, where you are surrounded by nothing other than the author’s imagination and the plotlines of your story. The fleeting window of dizziness that comes through after that grips you and takes you to slumber land even before you have the opportunity to turn a page. The University of Exeter carried out a study in 2009 that showed people sleeping within 6 minutes of starting on a book.
7. Listen to white noise
Most of the time you can’t sleep, chances are that the cause is a blaring car horn or loud music coming from across the street. These definitive sounds will keep invading your thoughts, and that gets you distracted enough to lose sleep. White noise cancels out that pandemonium and instead replaces it with a lulling audio that slowly takes you away.
8. Avoid screens before bed
A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital out of Boston confirmed scientists’ worst fears; screens are invading our sleeping space. Screens fight it out with our alertness and alter our normal sleeping schedules. They have also been found to suppress melatonin levels, and that makes it harder for the body to switch to the sleeping phase. A good idea would be to switch off televisions, phones and tablets an hour before bedtime.
9. Take a quick, warm bath
If you don’t have the time, skip the candles and get down to it. Fill a bathtub with warm water and lather it as much as you can. Soak in and let the bubbles flit around you. Once your body warms up right before you go to bed, the brain sends relaxation signals to your torso. When the temperature drops after you get between the sheets, another wave of transmissions is sent, and this one has you fast asleep in minutes. Studies show that people who take a bath right before bed sleep faster and enjoy a greater quality of sleep than those who don’t.
10. Get your bedroom ready
Your bedroom is a place of calm and relaxation, and its aura should reflect that. If you have all your music speakers and TV screens in there, then sleeping might become a problem. Get rid of anything that produces noise from the room. Set up the curtains in dark hues and keep your lights dim at all times. Keep the aesthetics inside there really low key. If you can, keep your phone in another room. It’s all about creating an environment that can actually induce sleep.
11. Keep bedtime consistent
Your body needs to get used to your sleeping patterns in order to make the necessary adjustments. If your bedtime is usually 9 at night, get to bed at that time. Over time, your body becomes so ready for bed that you start dreaming the moment you hit the foam. Inconsistences in sleeping times and durations confuse your hormonal system and strain your brains.
When you sleep, your body works toward making sure that you wake up relaxed and ready to go. Research has also shown that when people sleep, their bodies focus on repairing blood vessels and keeping the heart at optimal function. Lack of sleep can cause a slew of relatively serious conditions; for example, people who don’t sleep enough are at an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and diseases of the heart.