How to Sleep Better at Night Naturally
Do you need to get a good night’s sleep? Let’s look at some ways that we can encourage our mind and body to rest and help us get a good night’s sleep naturally.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a good night’s sleep, I know where you’re at. Tossing and turning all night long? Yes, I’ve been there, too.
There have been times in my life when sleep has just not come easily. Or, I fall asleep easily only to awaken a couple hours later and find myself unable to fall back asleep. My mind is way too busy and the opportunity to rest has all but disappeared.
There are a myriad of reasons that can cause us to not get a good night’s sleep. Some of them may be medical and the following solutions may not be the answer. However, for other non-medical reasons, the following ideas may be just what you need for a good night’s sleep naturally.
Typically, adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night so that we feel rested and can function at our best. There are some tried and true getting-ready-to-sleep practices that you can follow to encourage our body and mind to allow us to go to sleep.
How much sleep do you need?
First of all, it is good for everyone to know how much sleep they need. You can easily figure that out.
Here’s how: Decide what time you need to get up and count backwards by the number of hours of sleep you think you need. For an adult, 8 hours is average, so if you want to get up at 6 AM, then aim to hit the sack at 10 PM.
Now, go to bed at 10 PM and see if you wake up without an alarm clock at 6 AM (or whatever hours you’ve selected) with 8 hours of sleep. If not, back up another ½ hour (9:30 PM in our example) until waking up is easy for you. Or, if you awaken too early, then decrease your sleep time by ½ hour. Adjust the time by ½ hour either way until you find the number of sleep hours that are best for you. YOu should be able to naturally wake up, without an alarm clock. Plus, you should feel rested when you wake up.
Keep in mind, that as you age, the number of hours may change.
Now you have a great starting point – you know how much sleep you need.
Top Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep:
- Create a routine for sleeping. Your routine could include going to bed at the same time every night. Wake up at the same time every morning. Many of the following tips can be added as a part of your Good Night Routine.
- Practice Slow Breathing once you lay down. Take only 5 breaths per minute. Breathe in for 6 seconds. Breathe out for 6 seconds. Do this for a few minutes.
- Use Aromatherapy. Use a diffuser with lavender essential oil in the bedroom. Lavender has been shown to increase slow-wave sleep. It also helps reduce stress. I love the benefits of essential oils and have used them for years.
- Get a good pillow that is super comfortable for you.
- Have your own blanket for your side of the bed. You can pull it on and kick it off easily, whenever you want to.
- Sleep in a cool room. 68-70 degrees is optimal.
- Prayer and Meditation are a wonderful way to end your day and invite sleep.
Foods that Help You Sleep:
- Almonds – These nuts are a source of melatonin. Melatonin helps to regulate our internal clock. It tells your body to prepare for falling asleep.
- Turkey – This meat is rich in protein and tryptophan. Tryptophan increases the production of melatonin (just like the almonds). Additionally, protein has been found to improve sleep quality.
- Chamomile Tea – This tea is an excellent choice for your bedtime routine. Not only does it help reduce anxiety and depression, but it also contains apigenin. apigenin works in our brain to encourage sleepiness.How to Stop Thinking at Night:
- Keep a notepad and pen by your bedside. Whenever something comes into your mind (you know it will) that you want to remember, just go ahead and write it down so your mind will let the thought go.
- If it’s a negative thought that you don’t really want to remember, you may consider writing it down anyway. Oftentimes just writing it down helps your mind to rest.
What Not to Do if you want to get a good night’s sleep naturally
- Don’t go to sleep with cold feet. Instead, wear a pair of light socks to bed. You can take them off if they start to get too warm.
- It is best not to drink anything with caffeine in it within 6 hours of your bedtime. The amount of hours varies for different people, but 6 hours is a good starting point.
- If you can’t go to sleep, do not stay in bed. Get up and do something relaxing. Reading a book works for many people.
- Do not use electronic devices for at least 1 hour before trying to fall asleep (phones, tablets, computers and televisions). The blue light emitted from these devices inhibits the melatonin production and alters the body’s circadian rhythms. This causes your body to not know when it’s time for bed. If you are like me and use your computer a lot after dark you can get a program that blocks some of the blue light. A free one you can try is f.lux. You can also try yellow-tinted eyeglass that can reduce your blue light exposure.
- Avoid using a bright clock in the bedroom. If nothing else, at least don’t have it facing you while you are trying to go to sleep or sleeping. You might as well have a bright light on saying “wake up!”. We’ve had this clock for years. It works great because we can see the time on the wall instead of looking at a bright clock. Plus, you can make the digits larger or smaller.
- Although exercise is great for you, it is best to not exercise within 3 hours of going to bed
- It is best to not take a nap after 5 PM. This one can be hard if you sit down and start relaxing in the evening. If that starts to happen to you, just get up and move around for 5 minutes so that the desire to sleep will pass.
More Tips to Help you Sleep All Night:
If you’re still having difficulty falling asleep, here are a few more ideas to try:
- Create a gratitude journal and right before bedtime, write down three things you are grateful for that day. This will help you focus on positive thoughts as you are falling asleep.
- Use a lavender scented pillow or sachet under your pillow
- Count backward from 300. You are likely to be asleep by the time you get to 0
- Wear a silk eye mask to bed
There are times in our lives when sleep is difficult. It is good to know what do’s and don’ts of a good night’s sleep work for you. Give some of these a try and see which ones work best for you. Try these natural options when sleeping is not too difficult, so you’ll know which ones work best for you when sleep doesn’t come so easily.
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