At some point in your life, you’ve probably experienced tossing and turning in bed for hours, trying your best to fall asleep to no avail. Perhaps you have insomnia, or you could just be thinking of certain things such as financial problems, work issues, or even someone you have a crush on. The thing is, not getting enough sleep can have some very serious consequences for your health and productivity, such as the following:
- Higher chances of getting sick
- Weight gain
- Comprehension problems
- Bouts of depression
- A decline in attention span
Here are some very effective techniques to help you fall asleep quickly on nights when you just can’t seem to.
Buy a comfortable mattress and weighted blanket.
You can never hope to get a good night’s sleep if your bed is uncomfortable, to begin with! Your mattress should neither be too soft nor too hard. Depending on your own preference, choose one that’s sturdy yet soft, and of good quality. Some mattresses only feel good for the first few months.
Don’t hesitate to spend more on a mattress that will endure for years than a cheap one that would have to be replaced every year. Also, you might want to use a weighted blanket, as this has been shown to help with sleep anxiety.
Hit the gym or engage in a full-body workout every night.
If your body is physically exhausted, there’s no way you won’t fall asleep at night quickly. Thus, as much as you can, engage in physical activity during the day.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you can walk to your destination, do so. You can also drop by the gym for an hour of work-out before going home. This is a surefire way to get you sleeping like a baby in no time!
Take natural sleep supplements.
If you are having difficulties falling asleep regularly, you might consider taking natural sleep supplements such as melatonin, passion flower, and valerian root, which are usually available in tablet or tea form. But try not to rely solely on these to sleep, you should not be dependent on these supplements.
They should only be taken for a limited time to help your body adjust and get used to sleeping the right amount of hours again.
If you find that it has become normal for you to only get minimal sleep for a number of weeks or months, it’s time to get in touch with your health provider or you might experience serious problems.
Breathing exercises can help tremendously in relaxing your mind and body. Just let go of all your thoughts, and concentrate on relaxing your body. Take a few minutes to reflect on the things you are grateful for, to pray, or to just empty your mind and bask in the silence.
Even if you experienced some unpleasant or frustrating things during your day, focus on the positive things. Think of the people or instances that made you smile. Prayer and positive thinking are very powerful in calming your mind and body.
Drink chamomile tea
Drinking something warm before going to bed can help make you feel drowsier. In addition, unlike other hot drinks like coffee, chamomile tea is free from caffeine and has a calming effect on the body.
Take a detox bath
A detox bath makes use of one or more essential oils to help release the toxins from your body and release the powerful effect of essential oils in soothing your mind and body.
Lavender oil is a good choice.
Get some sun.
If you begin your day by getting exposed to natural sunlight, it will help in resetting your biological clock. It will also help in balancing the levels of cortisol and melatonin in your body. Try your best to wake up early and go for a walk to get some natural sunlight.
Don’t try counting sheep. It doesn’t work.
You’ve probably heard this saying that you should count sheep in your mind in order to fall asleep quickly. This is not true. Basically, this saying means that you should just stay in bed, and wait to feel drowsy and fall asleep.
The best alternative is to actually do something else instead of forcing yourself to sleep. You could read a book, write down some notes in your journal, or some other light activity. But stay away from your smartphone, television, or computer. Technology will keep you awake.
Consume supplements or food rich in magnesium.
If your body does not get enough magnesium, it can result in difficulty sleeping. Magnesium supplements are the best option here.
There was a study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences that showed that sleep efficiency and insomnia were improved after taking magnesium supplements. The ideal daily dosage is 500mg.
Eat foods rich in melatonin.
As mentioned earlier, melatonin helps you fall asleep. Thus, it will help you fall asleep and stay asleep for many hours if you consume foods rich in melatonin or contain tryptophan (which helps in the production of melatonin).
However, make sure to consume such food during dinner or at least an hour before you sleep. Never go to bed after having just eaten a heavy meal. The following are some of the examples of foods rich in melatonin:
- Red wine
- Morello cherries
Some examples of food rich in tryptophan:
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Rice (especially brown, red, or black rice)
- Sprouted Grains
- White meat such as turkey, chicken, and fish
- Grass-fed dairy products
Write in your journal before sleeping.
Most of the time, we find it hard to fall asleep because of our own thoughts. We stay awake because we couldn’t keep certain things or people off our minds. Therefore, you should try writing down your thoughts or your day’s events in a journal to help clear your mind. It’s also a therapeutic way of addressing your worries.
Exercise regularly every morning.
For some people, what works best is to engage in short bouts of heavy physical activity at night, to exhaust the body for bedtime. However, for some people, the opposite happens. Working out at night gives them a rush of endorphins that keep them awake.
If this is the case for you, then you should complete your work-out early morning. You will feel amazing and it will be much easier for you to just unwind when you get home.
Stay away from caffeinated drinks after 12 noon.
The effect of caffeine can last for a maximum of 12 hours. If you can’t seem to sleep at night, that cup of coffee you had earlier in the afternoon might be the culprit. Go for caffeine-free alternatives instead.
Try to keep a regular sleep cycle.
Try your best to adhere to a specific sleep schedule, even on weekends. As your body gets accustomed to a certain sleeping schedule and pattern, you will find it much easier to fall asleep and wake up after a certain number of hours. The ideal amount of sleep is eight hours.
Stay away from electronic devices starting bedtime.
Turn off the television. Keep your phones, laptops, and other devices away. Turn off the Wi-Fi too. If you engage in late-night electronic activities, your brain will automatically think that your bedroom is just another location where work happens and not a homey location where you can unwind and settle after a long day.
Stay away from late night snacks especially sweets and simple carbohydrates.
Like caffeine, sugar and simple carbohydrates will keep you awake because these substances spike your blood sugar and increase your energy levels. So stay away from such food. Go for sunflower seeds or nuts instead.
Read a book.
Every night, before you go to bed, read a book about spiritual growth or your favorite novel. This habit lets your unwind your mind instead of forcing yourself to fall asleep right away. However, stay away from page-turners because you would want to keep reading and fight off the urge to sleep!
As mentioned earlier, essential oils have a powerful effect in relaxing the mind and body. You could place an oil diffuser in your room and use relaxing oils such as Roman chamomile or lavender to help create a relaxing aura and scent. You may also spray some on your pillow.
Set the mood.
There’s nothing more relaxing than a cool, clean room with dimmed lights, free from any distracting noise and lights. You may play some calming instrumental music too. Do this at least 30 minutes before bedtime and do this every night so that your mind and body will get used to it.
Set the ideal temperature for your bedroom.
If your bedroom is too cold, you’ll end up shivering. If it’s too warm, it can make you sweaty. Either way, it will make you uncomfortable. Find the ideal balance, somewhere between 60-73 degrees Fahrenheit.
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