Many people sleep way less than they should. Some by choice, others because they are dealing with sleep problems or other conditions that affect sleep quality. Whatever the case might be, it is necessary to take action to sleep better at night and for the recommended amount of time. Keep in mind that adults should sleep between 7 to 9 hours per night. Sleeping too much or too little can have a drastic impact on both your physical and mental health, so don’t think you can get away with sleeping 5 hours a night.
In the long-term, you will certainly have to deal with the consequences.
If you’re dealing with insomnia or other frustrating problems that disrupt your sleep quality, this list will help you. After all, there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep.
Here’s how to sleep better at night naturally!
1. Improve your bedtime routine
Having a nice, peaceful, and consistent bedtime routine can relax both your body and mind and prepare them to fall asleep. The human brain needs to realize when bedtime is approaching, so it is fundamental to keep a well-defined routine that sends a signal to the brain to prepare the whole body for a good night’s sleep without any complications whatsoever. What does a proper bedtime routine look like, you ask? It’s simple. It includes having a comfortable sleep environment, avoiding certain tasks, and doing some others.
Dark, cool, silent room: these are the three most important characteristics your room should have at night. If you live in a big city and you just can’t escape traffic noises, loud passers-by, or even housemates, you can try to mask those sounds with calming sleep music.
Comfortable bed: besides a high-quality mattress, you also need a nice pillow that suits your favorite sleeping position. These are two crucial elements, so spare no expenses! Bed comforters and sheets that can keep your body cozy and at a comfortable temperature are also very important.
What to do and what to avoid: your bed should be used exclusively for sleeping (or to have sex, sure). In this way, the brain ends up associating this place only with this activity – eating, watching TV, and working in bed is a big no-no. You also shouldn’t use any electronic devices (smartphone and laptop) in bed immediately before going to sleep since the blue light emitted by the screens can interfere with your sleep, and the content you’re watching can keep you alert longer than desired.
2. Sleep supplements
Melatonin supplements are probably the most popular natural sleep supplements. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body that regulates sleep-wake cycles. When it is dark, the body starts producing more melatonin, sending a signal that it is time to get ready for bed. Many people who suffer from sleeping problems have low melatonin levels. These supplements can help them fall asleep faster and improve overall sleep quality. They are also commonly used to help the circadian rhythm adjust to a new time zone. Other supplements that can help you to sleep better at night include ginkgo biloba, magnesium, glycine, valerian root, and lavender.
3. Light exposure
As we just have seen, light exposure plays a key role in melatonin production and, therefore, in the sleep-wake cycle. But it’s not just the lack of light that helps you fall asleep. Being exposed to natural sunlight during the day is a great way to keep your circadian rhythm healthy. You will have more energy during the day, and you will sleep better and longer. A morning outdoor walk is a fantastic way to start the day!
Despite being far from scientifically proven, a 2011 study published in the Sleep Medicine Reviews has shown that aromatherapy may potentially improve sleep quality. This ancient holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts is quickly gaining recognition in modern medicine and may even become a valid option in the treatment of various ailments – including some sleeping problems. If you want to check if aromatherapy can help you sleep better, use an aromatherapy diffuser to distribute lavender essential oil into the air. Keeping a diffuser on for extended periods can cause some adverse health effects, so make sure you know what you are doing.
5. Meditation and exercise
Both these practices can do a lot of good for your sleep quality and your mental and physical health. You probably already know a lot of things about the benefits of physical exercise, so let’s jump right into meditation. Meditation can help you control your emotions, deal with anxiety and depression symptoms, lower your stress levels, and improve sleep quality. Mindful breathing meditation is a technique commonly used to treat insomnia.
Headspace is one of the best meditation apps for beginners. It offers a lot of guided meditations and mindful breathing exercises that can help you turn meditation into a habit. Warning: if you exercise late at night and you usually have trouble falling asleep, stop doing it. For some people, those late-night workout sessions can increase alertness and hormonal activity in the body, which ends up making it difficult to fall asle.
6. Take a shower
According to a systematic review study published in the Sleep Medicine Reviews back in 2019, taking a warm shower or bath one to two hours before bedtime can induce the feeling of sleepiness. This means that you will fall asleep faster and experience a significant improvement in sleep quality. This is a very simple thing you can do to sleep better at night. Give it a try, even if you’re one of those people who like to shower first thing in the morning to start the day fresh.
7. Don’t drink anything before bed
You might think that sipping on a calming tea while reading a book in bed before going to sleep is the perfect combination for a good night’s sleep. Well, you might be wrong. Drinking large amounts of liquids late at night drastically increases the chances of waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Empty your bladder before going to bed, and don’t drink anything else!