If you try but are struggling to stay asleep when you are in bed after a long day, there are natural ways to fall asleep at the right time and wake up rested. 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 mind focus on a single idea of the present, has been tried and tested to help people fall asleep faster without having to go for the sleep medicine. Mindful meditation creates a relaxing effect which ultimately helps you fall asleep fast and drift into a deep sleep.

2. Melatonin

This is a hormone produced in the pineal gland of the brain and is known for its effect on sleep cycles and the ease with which people fall asleep. When the gland is not producing enough of this hormone, then you find it hard to fall asleep once you get to bed. You can 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 them do not really help you fall asleep unless you take ridiculous amounts of them.

3. Practice breathing exercises

When lying in bed trying to fall asleep quickly, practice this simple breathing method every day. Take a deep breath and hold your breath for a few seconds. Place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth and then exhale during 10 seconds. 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 experience progressive muscle relaxation as your lungs expand and relax in perfect harmony – which will lead to better sleep.

4. Stay out of your bedroom during daytime hours

Naturally, staying inside your bedroom during the day tempts you to take a little nap that stretches from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The problem is that this ‘reserved’ sleep was supposed to come into use at night, so falling asleep during the day makes it more difficult to fall asleep faster at night and affects sleep quality. Practice paradoxical intention as this technique has been medically reviewed by written sources. In other words, intentionally not sleeping during the day helps you sleep better at night.

5. Try magnesium supplements

When magnesium enters the bloodstream, it helps the body reduce the levels of cortisol in the nervous system, therefore making falling asleep easier. Cortisol is a hormone notorious for being a stressor and is the main hormone that keeps people tossing and turning at night resulting in poor sleep quality. Magnesium is also a relaxer element, which may make you calmer and sleepier when you hop into bed.

6. Read a book before bed

Reading a book while lying awake takes you away from the present and places you in an alternate consciousness, where you are surrounded by nothing other than the author’s imagination and the plotlines of the story. The fleeting window of dizziness that comes through after that grips you and takes you to slumberland 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, so reading can help overcome sleep onset insomnia.

7. Listen to white noise

Many people have sleep problems because they have a lot on their mind or suffer more serious insomnia. Maybe definitive sounds like a blaring car horn or loud music coming from across the street keep invading your thoughts, and that distracts you enough to lose sleep. White noise cancels out that pandemonium and instead replaces it with a mentally relaxing sound that may help slowly ease your mind, and allow you to sleep better.

8. Avoid screens before sleeping

A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital out of Boston confirmed scientists’ worst fears; light exposure from screens is 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 a good sleep phase. A good idea would be to switch off televisions, phones and tablets an hour before you get into bed.

9. Take a quick, warm bath

If you don’t have the time, skip the candles and get down to taking a warm bath. Fill a bathtub with warm water and lather it as much as you can. Soak in it and let the bubbles move around you. Once your body warms up 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 relaxation is experienced, 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 better quality of sleep than those who don’t. So if you want sleep, try a warm bath or shower to improve sleep quality.

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 it’s hardly a relaxing scene at bedtime. Get rid of anything that produces noise. Use curtains in dark hues and keep your lights dim at all times. Keep the aesthetics inside low key. If you can, keep your phone in another room. It’s all about creating an environment that can actually help you sleep and overcome your insomnia.

11. Keep bedtime consistent

Our sleeping patterns are important to us. 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 pillow. Inconsistences in sleeping times and durations confuse your hormonal system and strain your mind.

When you sleep, your body works toward making sure that you wake up relaxed and ready to go. Top rated research has also shown that when people sleep, their bodies focus on repairing blood vessels and keeping the heart optimally functioning. Lack of quality 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.

If you still suffer from insomnia or stay awake at night frequently, you should be medically reviewed by an expert who can provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment for the condition.

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