Sleep is a key component to managing your health. Insufficient sleep weakens the immune system, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory diseases, causes memory loss, fatigue, and moodiness. Nothing is more frustrating than insomnia. Many turn to over the counter and prescription sleep aid medications that have shown to cause cognitive impairment and can be addictive.
Here are 7 ways to fall asleep naturally:
No electronics in the bedroom.
TVs, cellphones, and other gadgets not only distract, they emit light. Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Darkness triggers the production of the hormone, melatonin, which regulates your body’s circadian rhythm or internal clock. Leave your phone is another room during the night. Nothing is more frustrating than falling asleep and being woken by a notification.
Stick to a Routine.
Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Even the weekends. This keeps your circadian rhythm in sync. Dr. Micheal Brues, also known as The Sleep Doctor, suggests discovering your chronotype. A chronotype is the underlying circadian rhythm or the personal biological clock that controls when the body sleeps.
Based on your chronotype there is a best time to sleep, eat, exercise and do other activities. You can find out your chronotype by taking the Power of When Quiz. To learn more about chronotypes, listen to our podcast interview with the Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus and check out his book The Power of When.
Drink Chamomile Tea
Ahh chamomile. If you’ve never had chamomile tea, you should experience the relaxing nature of a nice cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile is known to be a mild sedative and sleep inducer. Sedative effects may be caused by a flavonoid in chamomile that binds to receptors in the brain. Drink a cup of chamomile tea about 30 minutes before bedtime to help you fall asleep. I’ve also found that chamomile helps you relax after a stressful day.
Use Lavender Oil
Lavender has calming and relaxing properties that promote peaceful sleep and ease feelings of tension. It is naturally, a way to reduce anxiety and tension, so you can get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Diffuse lavender in a diffuser, spray the room with lavender or put a few drops of oil on your pillow, bedding, and/or feet before bedtime. Then take in the relaxing aroma as you drift to sleep.
Meditate before bed
Meditation is known to calm the mind. If you find meditation challenging, you can listen to a guided meditation for sleep. We listen to meditation music and guided meditations from Jason Stephenson. You can find many guided meditations and meditation music on his YouTube channel. He has a calming tone of voice and a beautiful Australian accent. (For more information on the benefits of meditation listen to our podcast interview with Jason Stephenson.)
There are certain tones or beats in meditation music that can bring your brainwaves to a relaxed state. These are called binaural beats and isochronic tones and also known as brainwave entrainment. By using binaural beats you can create brainwave frequencies associated with sleep.
Studies have shown that exercise significantly improves sleep. Moderate aerobic exercise such as walking reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep of people with chronic insomnia compared to a night in which they did not exercise. On the other hand, the study said that intense exercise before bed did not help with falling asleep. So take a nice brisk walk 3-4 hours before bed.
Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant so it should be obvious you shouldn’t consume caffeine before bed. But caffeine takes several hours before it is eliminated from the body. If you are a coffee drinker and are finding it hard to fall asleep at night, try cutting back on the coffee. Three-8 oz. cups is considered moderate intake. Try to stick to no more than three cups and stop drinking it by the afternoon to allow the caffeine to work its way out of your system.
We wish you sweet dreams and hope these tips will help you fall fast asleep without sleep aid drugs.