Forget the Sleeping Pills: 6 Natural Ways to get more Zzzz’s
You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed at night and you just can’t sleep? As much as you try not to, you can’t help peeking at the clock and mentally calculating how little sleep you’ll have by the time the alarm rings. It’s a routine that goes on every night in homes all over America — more homes than you may realize. According to a report from the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder that affects their daily functioning and work performance. As if being sleepy all day isn’t enough penalty, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people who regularly don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and depression.
While taking a sleep medication is one way to combat sleeplessness, at least in the short term, it’s not a good idea to rely on medication to get to sleep. Especially when there are several natural things you can do on your own to help you fall asleep. Here are six tips you can use to in order to get the sleep you need.
Limit Caffeine Intake
You might crave the jolt a cup of coffee can provide in the morning, but in the evening hours you want to calm down, not pep up. Ideally, avoid beverages with caffeine after 3 p.m. And never try to counteract a late cup of java with a glass of wine or a nightcap: Research shows alcohol can actually disrupt normal sleep patterns, delaying and disrupting REM sleep, which is important for concentration and focus, according to cdc.gov.
A study on the effects of aerobic exercise on sleep showed that people who engaged in mild to moderate aerobic exercise at least four times per week in the early evening hours slept more soundly and felt more refreshed the next day compared to those who didn’t exercise.
Make Your Bedroom a Haven
Creating an atmosphere of calmness and comfort begins with having a supportive mattress from a reputable manufacturer. Today, you can find Serta and Sealy mattresses and other high-end mattresses without ever leaving home. Once you have your new mattress, top it off with soft sheets, a new supportive pillow and a fluffy comforter.
Remove Environmental Distractions
Peeking at the time and worrying over how late it’s getting only increases stress and worry. Once your alarm is set, turn the clock away from you and forget about it until the morning. To get in the right mindset it is also important to keep your room cool and dark. Cooler temperatures are more conducive to falling and remaining asleep, and even a low light left on or light leaking through a window can disrupt a restful night’s sleep.
Make a Sleep Schedule
By going to bed at the same time every night — even on weekends — your body adapts and responds to its own internal sleep signals, which can help you fall asleep much faster than if you allow a range of bedtimes. Allowing yourself to stay up late and sleep in on weekends in akin to experiencing jet lag.
An hour before bed, treat your mind to a few less distractions and a lot more solitude by turning off the TV and computer and turning instead to a book in a warm bath. Consider using lavender bath salts to enhance the calming effects.
Following these tips will not only improve your sleep, but they can also improve your health. Incorporate the changes one by one to create sleep-friendly habits that can last a lifetime.