Inability to fall asleep can be very frustrating and can have consequences. Sleep deprivation can lead to grogginess the following day. It also affects your mood, physical and emotional health, memory, and concentration. There are various natural ways to help induce sleep, and doing them regularly can improve your quantity and quality of sleep over time. Below are some natural ways to get to sleep that you can start tonight.
A Consistent Sleep Schedule
As much as we would love to indulge in a lazy weekend sleep in, it is not a good idea. Developing a consistent time to fall asleep every night will help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. Having this internal clock working correctly is key to preventing you from tossing and turning at night. For this to work, you’ll need to follow your sleep schedule, even during weekends and holidays.
Have a Drink Before Bed
No, not an alcoholic drink! Sorry. However, there are some delicious drinks that help aid sleep and relaxation. Such beverages are; chamomile tea, warm milk drinks (such as golden milk), and tart cherry juice. Some people argue that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove these drinks aid sleep. But, these traditional methods of getting to sleep are cheap, easy and safe, so why not give them a try? You have nothing to lose!
If you have trouble sleeping, don’t work out within the two hours before bed as some people find it keeps them awake. However, studies have shown that exercise at night is still better than no exercise at all for sleep health.
Aromatherapy is known to induce sleep by relaxing the body. One study proved lavender to be the perfect scent to induce sleep and relaxation. Whether you’re using it in your bath or as an essential oil, the scent works magic. Patients in the study reported improved sleep quality and being energetic upon waking up. Check out some other essential oils that aid sleep in our article on that topic.
Keep Your Eating Habits in Check
Cut off anything that contains caffeine as early as noon, to help improve your sleep at night. Caffeine stays in your system up to five hours after consumption. Foods that contain caffeine include; chocolate, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and coffee.
Also, avoid eating a heavy meal right before bed. Digestion takes between two to three hours. Sleeping on a full stomach can be uncomfortable, slows down digestion, and can even cause nausea.
Adjust Your Room Temperature
When the room temperature is too hot or too cold, it can affect one’s ability to sleep and their sleep quality. Different people have different ideal temperatures to fall asleep. Try out some different temperatures in your bedroom to see what suits you best.
Sleep scientist, Dr Sophie Bostock recommends sleeping in a room around 18°C as this will help the body cool naturally. It also is advisable to wear breathable clothing, as it will prevent you from overheating.
Take a Warm Bath or Shower
A warm bath helps relax the body and prepare it for sleep. A shower or bath helps raise your body temperature, which then drops after. It is this temperature drop that signals to the body that it is time to sleep. People who take a warm bath or shower before sleeping not only experience better sleep quality, they also fall asleep quicker.
Breathwork or Meditation
By practicing specific patterns of deep breathing, your brain and body become relaxed. Deep breathing declutters the brain, which helps prevent those anxious thoughts and allows you to fall asleep quickly. Try the 4-6-7 breathing technique. It’s great for sleep!
You can try either breathwork, or meditation, or both for improved sleep quality.
Quit Smoking and Heavy Drinking
Nicotine, just like caffeine, is a stimulant that prevents your brain from drifting into slumber. Studies show that smokers are less likely to feel well-rested after a whole night’s sleep than non-smokers. Smoking also causes breathing difficulties when sleeping.
You may think that a glass of wine helps you get to sleep but the truth is that is prevents you from going into a deep, restful slumber. Lack of sufficient sleep may lead to grogginess the following day.
Turn off the Lights
Our circadian rhythm (body clock) associates light with activity. So, switching out lights when going to bed helps our bodies get in the rhythm of falling asleep. Even a tiny light from your phone or computer can prevent the production of melatonin which aids in sleep.
You might also consider dimming the lights in the lead up to bed time. Many people find candle light at night particularly soothing.
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your sleep health, speak to your doctor. This post may contain affiliate links.
Catherine is a health and wellness writer. She loves writing informative, fun, yet educational content. She is also a plant-based lifestyle enthusiast. You can find more of her work on Medium.