Falling asleep should be as natural as eating or walking, but sometimes it isn’t. According to Consumer Reports, of over 4,000 adults surveyed, 27 percent of them said they had trouble falling asleep every night, and 68 percent said they had trouble falling asleep at least once a week.
Human beings require sleep to survive. That’s why when it is disrupted, it results in sleep deprivation and if the deprivation is continuous, it can lead to issues such as obesity, anxiety and depression, and even severe health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Persons who are severely sleep deprived, their normal functioning, such as staying alert while driving a car, is severely affected1,2.
So what can be done at bedtime to improve your sleep? Here are some tips.
Don’t nap after 3:00 p.m
To improve your sleep, it’s better not to nap at all. However, if you must nap, be sure to do it before the later afternoon, such as before 3:00 p.m. Also, if you do need to nap, ensure that your nap is no more than ten minutes to 30 minutes in length. Napping more than that will disrupt your internal clock that regulates your sleeping time. In other words, you won’t be tired enough when your bedtime arrives.
Turn off your electronic gadgets
Electronic gadgets are so popular in the 21st century that most people use them throughout the day. Whether it’s your smartphone or your laptop, electronic devices rule our lives. According to the National Sleep Foundation, as much as ninety percent of Americans use an electronic gadget before bed. However, the blue light that emanates off your laptop and smartphone slows the production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. Therefore, at least two hours before your bedtime, refrain from using all electronic gadgets3.
Go to sleep when you’re tired
You get into bed, and then you stare in the dark space, unable to sleep. If it’s been at least 20 minutes, get out of bed, do something calming, such as sitting quietly in the dark, listening to quiet music, or reading a print book under moderate light. Do not expose yourself to bright lights and that includes getting on your cell phone or another electrical gadget, such as an e-reader. When you finally feel tired, get back in bed.
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Create a bedtime ritual
To help you sleep better, it’s important to develop a sleep ritual that you follow every night, about an hour before you turn in. This gives your body cues that it’s time to go to sleep soon. Do things like listening to relaxing music, perform relaxation yoga, or have a cup of non-caffeinated tea such as Chamomile. Do your bedtime ritual under dimmed lights.
Go to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning
When you give your body a regular sleep cycle, falling asleep and waking up at the same time nights and mornings every day including weekends, your circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s “internal clock,” adjusts to that cycle and your body feels like it got enough sleep. So, for example, if you go to bed at 9:00 p.m. and wake up at 5:00 a.m., stick to that schedule every day of the week.
Reject sleeping pills and go for essential oils
As reported in USA Today, sleeping pill use is on the rise. What’s even worse is that a higher number of people are mixing sleeping pills with other sedating medications. However, there are natural ways to fall asleep that do not include pharmaceuticals, such as essential oils. As the University of Minnesota reported, inhaling a few breaths of an essential oil right before bedtime can contribute to a good night’s sleep4.
The practice of using essential oils is called essential oil therapy or aromatherapy. It is the practice of using the oils of plants and herbs to improve the mind, body, and soul. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years by the Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, and Chinese for various medicinal purposes. They are pure and unadulterated substances derived from the essence of a plant or herb. Professionals practice aromatherapy in hospitals, massage centers, spas, etc. However, you don’t have to be a professional aromatherapist to benefit from the oils. These substances, if inhaled, used in a diffuser or rubbed on your pillow, for example, can be beneficial in helping you fall into a deep sleep that lasts throughout the night.
There are many things that can be done to improve your sleep, and they can be done naturally with no side effects or risks. Try some of these tips, be diligent with them, and give your body time to improve its sleep response.
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