Good sleep is imperative for good health, but many people have trouble sleeping – especially during the summer. Here are 13 natural ways to beat insomnia and get a good night’s rest!
Insomnia is incredibly common, and especially during the long, bright, hot days of summer. Many people suffer from insomnia, which is defined as the inability to fall asleep and get a restful night sleep more than a couple of nights a week.
People who suffer from insomnia often find themselves tired and falling asleep during the daytime, experiencing brain fog or difficulty concentrating, or feeling irritable and moody. They also tend to get sick more often than those who get adequate sleep, as lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on the immune system.
There are a number of natural ways to combat insomnia, and here are just a few that you can try:
1.) Get Plenty of Exercise
Most of us have very sedentary lives, and spend much of the day indoors under artificial lighting, which makes it especially important to get plenty of exercise each day. Get plenty of strenuous exercise during the day to tire yourself out, and try yoga or Tai Chi for a calming, restful form of exercise in the evening.
2.) Meditate before Bed
It can be hard to clear the mind of the day’s worries and excitement, but one great way to do it is to try meditation. During mediation you will focus on thinking about nothing, or some people use a mantra that they repeat over and over again. Here are a few types of meditation to try.
3.) Take a Hot Bath
A warm bath before bed can help to relax the body and make you feel sleepy, especially if you add an aromatherapy component such as lavender oil. When you take a hot bath, take your time, breathe in the scent and try to clear your mind and relax in preparation for sleep.
4.) Limit Screen Time
There is evidence that the blue light emitted by your TV screens, computer screens and mobile devices can actually adversely affect your sleep cycles. For better sleep, do your best to reduce or eliminate exposure to these devices a couple of hours before you plan to get to bed.
5. Avoid Eating Too Close to Bedtime
The digestive process can interrupt the sleeping process if you’re not careful. Try to stop eating a few hours before bedtime and go to bed on a mostly empty but not hungry stomach. Note that those with hypoglycemia or blood sugar issues may awaken during the night if your blood sugar gets too low, so it may be a good idea to have a high-protein snack an hour or so before bed to stabilize your blood sugar if you experience these issues.
6.) Keep Regular Wake and Bed Times
While the occasional party will not ruin your sleep schedule, staying up too late or mixing up your sleep cycle too often can affect your ability to get the right amount of sleep. For the most part, try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
7.) Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Lying in bed awake feeling restless? Try progressive muscle relaxation – a relaxation technique where you tense then relax each of your muscles one at a time, starting with your toes and moving up to your head (although you’ll probably be asleep before you get there). It’s amazing how effective this can be!
8.) Avoid Alcohol
Drinking even a nightly glass of wine can interfere in your natural sleep cycle, including REM sleep which is very important to getting quality sleep. Avoid alcohol several hours before bedtime to improve your sleep quality.
9.) Redecorate Your Bedroom
Turn your bedroom into an oasis of relaxation, ridding the room of electronics and any signs of work that may keep your mind busy. Purchase bedding that is comfortable and keep the temperature of your bedroom a couple degrees cooler than you do the rest of the house (see tip #13 below).
10.) Eliminate Caffeine
Using caffeine to get up in the morning can have a negative effect on your ability to get to sleep at night, even if you only drink tea or soda. If you cannot eliminate it, try only having it in the mornings and limit the amount to a cup or two.
11.) Try Hot Herbal Tea
If you just love a hot beverage in the evening, a good replacement for coffee is to drink hot herbal non-caffeinated teas instead. You still want to avoid sugary beverages in the evening, but if you get rid of the caffeine you’ll sleep better.
12.) Don’t Smoke
Nicotine can be very detrimental to good health in general, but the drug can also ruin the sleep that you’re getting and even prevent you from sleeping as it acts as a stimulant. Plus, the addiction can cause you to wake before you’ve gotten enough sleep.
13.) Cool the Room
Especially in the heat of summer, it is important to make sure your bedroom is cool enough for good sleep. Studies have found that your brain naturally sleeps better when your head and body temperature drops below a certain level. This is just one reason why it may be more difficult to fall asleep during the summer months.
Insomnia isn’t just unpleasant – it also does a number on your health. It can lower your immunity, and even increase the chances of a heart attack or other cardiovascular illnesses. Therefore, it’s imperative to find a way to treat your insomnia. Sleeping well and deeply every night will help you become healthier and happier both mentally and physically!