Is your sleep quality suffering? Do you find yourself reaching for sleeping pills or even alcohol in order to be able to fall asleep?
Instead of seeking a band aid solution, you should look for a natural way that also addresses the lifestyle issues that are causing you to have poor sleep in the first place.
Learning how to improve your sleep naturally is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing.
Sleep isn't quite as simple as turning off the light and hitting the pillow. It is heavily affected by your daytime and evening routines.
Given that your quality of sleep is heavily determined by your hormones and your circadian rhythm, in order to get the best sleep you need to improve your routines.
Here are some ideas:
If you wake up at the same time everyday, including weekends, your body will naturally adjust the time you need to go to bed.
Sleeping in on weekends to make up for lost sleep during the week doesn't work. All it does is mess with your rhythms.
It may be a hard habit to break, but start getting up at the same time everyday. The notice how your body will tell you when it's tired.
I had a great evening routine in high school and college. But it's something I accidentally let go of once I entered the working world. Being busier I would be doing things right up until it was time for bed and then I'd just jump in and expect to fall asleep.
Having a wind down routine helps gradually switch your mind off and prepare it for sleep. I start my routine at 9pm and am in bed and falling asleep by 10pm.
Check out this Tim Ferriss video for his evening routine.
It can be hard with a hectic work schedule and is especially hard during winter, but try to get outside and see the sun as much as you can during the day.
Not only does this give you energy and vitamin D but it actually improves your sleep as well. It's all about the circadian rhythm, in that if you body sees light in the middle of the day it will be ready for sleep at night.
Stress is a major cause of insomnia or disrupted sleep. This is especially the case when you cannot shut your mind down and your thoughts are running at full speed when you are trying to sleep.
If you can elimate your major sources of stress then do it. However chances are it isn't going to be that easy.
If you can't eliminate it, then instead come up with strategies to help you cope better so your sleep doesn't suffer.
Exercise is the key here. It helps you unwind, let go and destress as well as helping you sleep better at night. Just make sure you do it a few hours before bed.
The other key thing is your nighttime routine. Having a relaxing ritual will help you let go of what is troubling you enough to help you drift off to sleep.
Things you can include in your nighttime routine to reduce stress include:
Dietary factors can have a significant impact on your sleep. Simply put if you eat well you will sleep better, and if you eat poorly your sleep will suffer.
Remember to also keep hydrated by drinking lots of water (although not immediately before bed).
Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine and too many refined carbs. If you have a weakness for coffee try and reduce your consumption and ensure if you do drink it, you stick to the morning only.
Pay close attention to whether or not your bedroom is set up for optimal sleep. There are very often several easy fix things you can do to make an improvement.
One of the keys is not to do anything in your bedroom other than sleep, have sex or wind down before bed.
You should never work, watch TV or do anything non sleep related in your bedroom. This way the bedroom becomes associated only with sleep and helps you get into the right mindset for switching off.
Other important things to do are:
Instead of looking to prescription pills or alcohol as a sleeping aids, there are plenty of natural products you can turn to including:
Sleep is incredibly important to your health and wellbeing. If you aren't getting enough quality sleep, don't resign yourself to it, do something about it.
It is well within your power to adjust your routines, improve your diet, improve your sleep environment and find a natural sleep aid that works for you.
Image credit: Mislav Marohnic