Whether you’re too stressed to relax at night and fall asleep, or your tossing and turning at night leads to feeling tired and groggy in the morning; you’re not alone when it comes to sleep problems.
According to the CDC, one in three adults doesn’t get enough sleep.
While sleeping pills may seem like a quick and easy fix for getting a good night’s rest, they are often costly and come with unpleasant side effects.
There are many natural things you can do to help improve your sleep quality without gaining a dependency.
Here are 10 all natural ways to get a good night’s sleep:
1. Hot Tea
Drinking hot tea before bed is relaxing.
It’s similar to taking a warm bath but remember that the type of tea you drink will have a lasting effect on your sleep for the night.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid black and green tea before bed because they contain caffeine, making them more suited for mornings when you need an extra boost.
Stick with caffeine-free herbal teas, and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep at night. A few good options here:
Chamomile is a favorite flavor of bedtime tea because of its well-known relaxation properties.
This tea can reduce anxiety, soothe the nerves, and help treat insomnia. It is regarded as a mild sedative due to an antioxidant it contains, apigenin.
This specific antioxidant adheres to particular receptors in the brain that initiate sleep.
Another flavor of tea that has been shown to aid in sleep is Passionflower. This tea is made from the dried stems, leaves and flowers of the Passiflora plant.
It has been used in the past to improve sleep and relieve anxiety, but more recent research has looked at its effect on treating insomnia and improving sleep quality.
This supplement can be found in almost any pharmacy, and many travelers use it to regulate their sleep when traveling to and from different countries.
Melatonin is made in the brain when there is a lack of light and controls the body’s internal clock.
Levels in the body rise naturally in the evening to help you sleep and decline in the morning to make sure you’re awake for the day ahead.
Melatonin makes you dream more, too, which is why a lot of lucid dream enthusiasts are using it.
Furthermore, taking melatonin in a supplement form may assist in you falling asleep faster at night and having a better overall sleep experience.
Studies have shown that subjects taking melatonin supplements were able to fall asleep faster and have a higher quality night’s sleep. In most cases, it helped increase the amount of time they were asleep every night.
As always, consult your doctor before taking a new supplement and keep them informed of any chronic sleep problems you may have.
It’s no secret that regular exercise has a positive impact on your nightly rest.
There have been many research studies proving that people who make exercise part of their weekly routine get a better night’s sleep per night than those with a more sedentary lifestyle.
Even moderate-intensity exercise can have an impact on the quality of sleep you get per night – participants in studies woke up less during the night and slept for longer.
There is not a definite answer as to why working out is so beneficial to sleep, although The National Sleep Foundation says it might be because of exercise’s capability to decrease stress, depression, and anxiety, and increase relaxation.
Exercising more often may also help to regulate your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
For example, you can see in this article how yoga can help you to sleep better.
4. Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Possibly the simplest way to improve your nightly rest without turning to medication is to make your sleeping environment as comfortable as possible.
This can include investing in blackout shades, which reduces the light that seeps in through your curtains or blinds.
Remember the hormone melatonin that we discussed earlier?
When the hypothalamus perceives a difference in view, it tells your body to increase or decrease the amount of melatonin.
If too much ambient light is getting into your room, your body may not be producing enough melatonin to sustain uninterrupted sleep.
In addition, it might help to turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests your bedroom temperature be between 60 and 67 degrees.
This specific amino acid is needed to generate the neurotransmitter serotonin, a hormone that your body needs to feel sleepy.
The carbs in the honey will assist in transmitting serotonin to your brain faster, helping you fall asleep more quickly!
6. Comfortable Mattress
The type of mattress you own may be creating a negative impact on the quality of sleep you’re getting, and it’s directly related to your blood vessels.
When you put pressure on any part of your body for a continued length of time (think of when you sit on your feet or cross your legs) the weight/pressure decreases blood flow through those blood vessels.
This deprives the skin of nutrients and oxygen.
When you have your legs crossed, or you are sitting a certain way, you adjust before you get too uncomfortable.
This also happens when you sleep – it’s one of the reasons you roll over during the night.
Rolling over will improve blood flow, but it also momentarily interferes with your sleep. An ideal mattress will decrease the pressure put on certain parts of your body to promote a better night’s rest.
7. Warm Bath
A warm bath before bed is a simple solution that may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The reasoning revolves around body temperature.
Your body temperature lowers on its own at night and helps you to fall asleep.
The warm water of the bath, while relaxing in and of itself, is not the aspect that allows you to fall asleep – it’s getting out.
When you go from a hot, toasty bath to room temperature, it imitates the drop in body temperature you experience when you are headed to bed.
That lowered body temperature cues your body that it’s time to go to sleep.
Experts say that staying in the tub for at least 20 minutes will allow you to reap the optimal benefits for nighttime rest.
8. Skip Dessert – Try a Balanced Bedtime Snack Instead
While dessert may typically be the last course of dinner that you snack on before hitting the hay, carbs, and protein may have a more beneficial effect on your nighttime rest.
Sticking with a snack made up of protein and carbs, then, will keep you fuller longer, stabilizing your blood sugar and minimizing the risk of waking up in the middle of the night.
Try a banana with a side of cashew butter, or a few cherries (which contain melatonin, as a bonus) and a handful of pretzels to tide you over.
Moreover, the timing of your bedtime snack matters, too.
Instead of chowing down and immediately crashing, it might be best to eat at least a few hours before heading to the sack to give your body time to benefit from some of the chemical properties of these foods.
9. Essential Oils
They can also help people sleep for longer without disruptions.
Certain soothing scents, like lavender, have been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep.
According to one study, breathing in the smell of lavender for two minutes before bedtime allowed participants to sleep more deeply during the night and had them feeling more refreshed when they woke up.
Jasmine is another scent known to have sleep-promoting properties.
A study conducted in 2002 showed that Jasmine was able to increase sleep amounts as well as alertness the next day more effectively than lavender.
Find the best 20 essential oils for sleep here!
10. Create a Bedtime Ritual
One of the most underrated aspects of getting enough sleep every night is consistency.
Studies show that people who make it a habit to go to bed and get up around the same time get more sleep on average per night.
Set a bedtime for yourself and try to stick to it, but also include relaxing activities to help you prepare for a restful night’s sleep.
Use multiple suggestions from this list in combination with each other! Or try some alternative ideas.
Consider drinking a cup of tea while breathing the scent of an essential oil diffuser and reading a book.
Do some light stretching or yoga while listening to calming music. Just try not to unwind by scrolling through your phone.
The blue light emitted by the screen has been known to suppress melatonin and delay your circadian clock rhythm.