Did you know that on average, people spend more than 1/3rd of their lives sleeping? Sleep is essential for several reasons, with the two most important ones listed below:
- Sleep gives your mind and body the break that it needs after a long day of physical and mental activity.
- Sleep allows your body to repair and rejuvenate itself.
We have all experienced nights when, despite all our efforts, sleep seems intent on eluding us. Not only is this a cause of anxiety and stress, but tossing and turning all night also affects our decision making capabilities, productivity and memory. Over time, sleeping problems can play a significant part in the development of health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and moodiness.
Before you resort to sleeping pills, why don’t you try the following easy tips designed to help you sleep better? Where pharmaceutical products will trigger unpleasant side-effects, these non-medicinal remedies will help you out without any strings attached.
Do You Have A Bedtime Routine?
Create a schedule for when you propose to catch some shut-eye, and stick to it every night. Yes, even on weekends! Overtime your body will become conditioned to this schedule, and develop an internal clock of its own.
Keep a Stress Journal
Thinking about or doing stressful activities can cause the body to release stress hormones, leading to alertness and sleeplessness. Studies show that writing out your stressful thoughts in a journal can alleviate your tension and reduce anxiousness.
Have You Had Your Magnesium Today?
Research shows that this mineral plays an important role in helping us to sleep throughout the night. Include magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, almonds, and brown rice in your regular diet plan.
Fancy A Cup of Chamomile Tea?
This herbal drink has a calming influence on the nerves, effectively reducing anxiety and tension. With a calm mind and relaxed body, there is no reason why sleep should evade you when you call it a night. One cup before sleeping should do the trick!
Extensive studies have proved that exercise releases endorphins (feel good hormones) that counter the effects of stress and anxiety. With tension out of the way, your mind does not need to work excessively at night and can unwind. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be for you to sleep easily and peacefully throughout the night. Keep in mind that the workout should be completed at least two hours prior to your sleeping time. The post-workout adrenaline boost might keep you awake instead of helping you sleep.
Take a Power Nap During the Day
A 10-30 minute nap during the day can rejuvenate you and get you back on track with renewed focus. Make sure that your nap does not exceed 30 minutes. Sleeping for several hours during the day will keep your mind and body fresh and alert at night. This will inevitably ruin your carefully planned sleep schedule.
Clock-In At least 7 Hours Every Night
Research shows that not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of insulin resistance, a condition which acts as a precursor for diabetes. Inadequate sleep has also been linked to increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone). Researchers recommend sleeping for at least 6-8 hours every night.
Keep It Cool
Hot and humid rooms lead to disturbed and light sleep. Turn on the fan and/or the AC for a short period of time to increase ventilation and decrease room temperature.
A Hot Shower Before Bedtime
For many people, a hot shower can do wonders in helping them sleep with ease. It helps the mind and body to relax and is highly effective in inducing sleepiness.
What’s Your Daily Wakeup Time?
Setting a consistent time for waking up is as important as making a daily schedule for sleeping at night. Irregular hours for waking up and going to sleep lead to poor sleeping patterns. This in turn affects the quality of sleep and the duration you sleep without waking up in the middle of the night.
Regulate Your Caffeine Intake
Drinking caffeinated beverages too late in the evening affects your ability to sleep. The effects of caffeine can last up to 5 hours, so experts suggest avoiding caffeine after 5 p.m. Caffeine is commonly found in carbonated drinks (such as Pepsi and Coke), coffee, and tea.
Avoid Tossing and Turning
If you can’t fall asleep get out of bed and try a calming activity like reading a book or listening to soothing music. If you have anxious thoughts racing through your mind, lie still on your back, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Deep breathing will help distract your mind from the troubles of the day, while simultaneously helping you to unwind.
Could It Be Your Medicine?
Most medications have certain side-effects, one of which could be difficulty in sleeping. All medicines contain additional information within the packaging, so go through this information to check whether your medication could be the cause of your sleepless nights. Consult your doctor if this is the case, and request for a new medicine, if possible.
Soothing Lavender Scents
This calming scent could very well be the antidote to your sleeplessness. Lavender scented candles are easily available, and work wonders to induce drowsiness.
Don’t Check the Time
Looking at the clock again and again acts as a reminder of how long you’ve been trying to sleep for. This causes more stress and makes it ever more challenging to fall asleep. So refrain from glancing at your wall clock and alarm clock time and again.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques
This method of relaxation is sequential and targets the entire body. It directs your focus on each muscle group and forces any remnants of pent-up tension out of them. Here is a simple gist of a typical progressive muscle relaxation routine: Start with the toes and feet. Tense the muscles, hold for five seconds, and then relax. Do this for every muscle group in the body. Work your way up from your feet to your head.
Reduce Your Exposure to Electronics
Your television, phone and computer should be pushed away when the clock indicates that bedtime is fast approaching. The artificial light from these gadgets confuses your system, making it difficult for the body to understand when it is time to unwind and sleep.
Feeling perpetually drained throughout the day could be an allusion to poor sleep patterns. It’s essential to get an adequate stretch of sleep each night to avoid to development of health issues, and to maximize your performance throughout the day. These tips are a natural, side-effect free way of regulating your sleep cycle, so do try them out before you turn to your doctor for prescription drugs. If, however, your sleep problem persists, you may want to consult your doctor to discuss the possibility of insomnia (a condition in which the patient is unable to sleep). Stay vigilant about your health, for you know as well as we do that with good health comes happiness!