Whether your mind is filled with the stress life often brings or you have a difficult time relaxing your body at the end of the day, falling asleep can be very difficult for some individuals. Instead of turning to over-the-counter medications to knock you out, try these natural remedies instead.
Say Goodnight to Your Screens Early
First things first, you need to put your phones, tablets, and computers away. The blue light they emit suppresses your body from producing melatonin, the naturally occurring hormone responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. Since your body has a light-related circadian rhythm, exposure to blue light at nighttime disrupts your body’s internal clock and rhythm. The blue light mimics sunlight, which triggers your brain into thinking it’s daytime and causes you to feel more awake and alert.
You should cut off screen time one hour before going to sleep.
So how soon should you be putting your screens away before heading to bed? According to sleep disorder specialist Dr. Harneet Walia, MD, you should cut off screen time one hour before going to sleep. (Yes, that includes watching television, as TV also emits blue light and can contribute to sleep problems.)
Temperature Is Key
To achieve the most sleep-friendly atmosphere, the National Sleep Foundation recommends your bedroom be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Some experts believe that when your body temperature drops, it helps you fall asleep easier. To speed this process up, you can take a relaxing warm shower before bed and then step into your cooled off bedroom. Studies have shown that the rapid drop in your body temperature will speed up your body’s production of melatonin, which will help you to fall asleep more quickly.
Keep Calm and Breathe On
Using special breathing exercises before bed can greatly benefit you by getting your mind and body ready for bed. The 4-7-8 Method, also known as “Relaxing Breath,” was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil and is a fantastic breathing exercise to try because it’s easy to do, can be done anywhere, and doesn't require any equipment.
This breathing exercise will increase the oxygen in your bloodstream, slow your heart rate, and release more carbon dioxide from your lungs.
All you need to do is exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and quietly inhale through your nose for four seconds. Then, hold your breath for seven seconds. Lastly, exhale through your mouth, again making a whoosh sound, for eight seconds. Repeat this three more times. By doing this breathing exercise, you will increase the oxygen going into your bloodstream, slow your heart rate, and release more carbon dioxide from your lungs.
A Late Night Snack
It’s no coincidence that you feel tired after eating your Thanksgiving meal. That’s because turkey contains high levels of protein and tryptophan, which can induce tiredness. Having a little snack before bed is perfectly fine, especially if it’s a food that helps with sleep. Besides turkey, some other foods that promote sleep are: almonds, walnuts, kiwis, bananas, oatmeal, white rice, fatty fish (like tuna and salmon), and cottage cheese. Pair these foods with a drink that also induces sleep, and you will be getting some shuteye in no time. Try chamomile tea, passionflower tea, or milk.
By following these natural ways to fall asleep with ease, you will be seeing Mr. Sandman in no time. Some other behavioral changes you can make in order to improve your sleep quality is exercising and maintaining healthy eating habits. By not only taking care of yourself but also ensuring your sleep environment is top-notch, you will start falling asleep more easily and wake up feeling refreshed and energized.