The 20 Best Natural Sleep Hacks: Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better
7 minute read
Those sleepless nights can be a real pain. Tossing and turning all night, with your mind racing about work, finances, and responsibilities. You are not alone in this; everyone experiences a restless night from time to time.
Insomnia is a common problem—one that can become serious if left unaddressed. To protect your health and well-being, there are strategies you can use to get settled and get to sleep.
Catching Those Elusive Z’s
Getting to sleep on time means developing a routine in order to “program” your body. This routine is part of sleep hygiene, i.e., the best practices for getting your body to fall asleep fast and maintain quality sleep for the duration of the night. Here are some great tips to follow:
Temperature Control: Make sure the temperature in the room is right. Too much heat will make you sweaty and uncomfortable, and a room that is too cold will have you shivering all night. Keeping the room temperature between 60 and 73 degrees makes it just cool enough to initiate natural sleep and keep you comfortable.
Setting the Mood: Show yourself some love and set the right mood by dimming the lights around you before bedtime. Like putting a cloth over a birdcage to signal sleep, dimming the lights help your body recognize that sleep is imminent.
Remove all noises and bright lights and allow your brain time to decompress about an hour or so before going to bed.
Watch What You Eat: Keep away from sugar-laden foods and carbohydrates before bed, as these can cause blood sugar spikes. A boost in energy will make it hard for you to sleep.
If you get the late-night munchies, try some melatonin-boosting protein or vegetables instead.
Dietary Support: There are certain foods that stimulate the production of melatonin, which is a hormone responsible for regulating your sleep cycle. Foods containing tryptophan (a precursor to melatonin), like nuts, turkey, rice, eggs, and beans, contribute to melatonin production.
Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency has been linked to sleep disorders, so make sure you eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods like bananas, almonds, and avocado or treat yourself to a supplement.
No Caffeine: Caffeinated drinks are designed to stimulate you, so they should be the last thing you want before bed. Since caffeine stays in your system for 12 hours, that afternoon cup of joe will need some time to leave you.
Studies have shown that eliminating caffeine helps improve sleep quality, and this means you wouldn’t even need the jump start in the morning.
Try Tea Instead: Chamomile tea is relaxing and makes a good alternative to coffee at night. Additionally, a warm beverage is the ideal antidote for restlessness, as it soothes you from the inside and calms your body.
Morning Workout: Replace that morning cup of coffee with exercise to wake you up in a more natural way. It gets your body moving and promotes optimal function for the day ahead.
Relax: One of the main reasons you can’t fall asleep is because your mind is still running from all the events of the day. Try reading a book or some deep breathing exercises.
The idea is to refocus your brain away from the day’s chaos and let it settle into relaxation. Once your brain starts to shut down, you can sleep.
Write It Out: One of the most beneficial ways to let go of the day’s stress is to write about it in a journal. Once it is on paper, it is out of your head, and this means your brain has nothing left to do but relax.
Take a Bath: A hot bath is another way to wash away the stress of a hectic day. Try a detox bath specifically, to get rid of any toxins that may interfere with sleep or essential oils to relax your body and mind.
Essential Oils: Incorporating aromatherapy into your nightly routine is a great way to entice sleep. Lavender oil, in particular, is a natural sedative and is proven to relax your mind and body. Chamomile is another beneficial oil or tea, that will help you fight stress and promote relaxation and calm.
Meditation: Meditation or chanting, as well as the practice of mindfulness, promote relaxation, which helps you to sleep. Meditation has been successfully used to treat insomnia and other sleep troubles and is a positive way to end your busy day.
No Electronics: The bright screens stimulate brain activity, so watching TV, scrolling through social media posts, or finishing those late-night work emails will be a definite barrier to sleep. To avoid temptation keep all electronics out of the bedroom, so it can be a true sanctuary of peace and tranquility.
Soak Up the Sun: Vitamin D deficiency has been tied to insomnia and trouble sleeping. This just happened to be one of the easiest vitamins to come by. Simply spend time outdoors each day, soaking up the sun, and the vitamin D you make will increase melatonin production.
Leave the Sheep in the Pasture: Counting sheep is an old wives' tale and doesn’t help you sleep. In fact, it has the opposite effect. Ignore the sheep and try any of the other methods discussed. Just remember to keep the lights low.
Sleep Supplements: You can always try melatonin supplements or other natural compounds such as valerian root to promote sleep. These are ideal for individuals who have disrupted sleep cycles, such as night-shift workers.
| Related: Better Sleep Means Betters Joint Health Support |
Regular Exercise: Full-body exercise promotes overall well-being and works out all your muscles, making it easier to fall asleep. The higher the intensity, the healthier you are and the better you sleep.
Supportive Products: To sleep well you need to get a good mattress and may want to invest in a weighted blanket. A poor mattress can keep even the most tired person awake, so spending a little extra now can really pay long-term dividends in your sleep.
Stick to a Schedule: Your body needs a routine. Once you have a nighttime ritual in place, your body will naturally start to get tired at a specific time of day, making it easier to fall asleep.
The Bottom Line
Sleep is essential for your health, which is why it is recommended that adults get between 7 and 8 hours every night. Without this, you will feel tired the next day and will not be running at optimal levels.
Depression, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, and increased susceptibility to illness are just a few of the outcomes of not getting enough sleep. To employ the tactics above, get the sleep you need, and put your best self forward every day.