Do you have a hard time getting long nourishing sleep? Well, you’re not sitting up all night alone.
Your alarm blares so loudly and it feels like you’ve not slept at all. You gulp a cup of espresso just get you out of the zombie-like trance from last night and help you stay awake through the day.
The night comes again, you sit up in the dark scrolling through your social media pages and the cycle continues.
Sounds like a page from your sleep journal? Then, you’ve come to the right place.
A good night’s sleep goes way beyond enhancing a productive day. It is important for both physical and emotional health.
Luckily, instead of turning to sleep medications that are not without side effects like headaches, dizziness, abdominal discomfort amongst many others, there are natural ways to improve your night sleep. Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep says.
Not getting a good night’s sleep negatively affects your concentration, memory, and greatly increasing your chances of depression, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and high blood pressure.
“It’s not always necessary to get a prescription for a sleep aid; there are natural ways to make adjustments to your sleeping habits.”
Below are four proven ways to enhance your night sleep. Grab your popcorn and let’s roll.
Except for cutting-off excess fats, exercise is vital for improving nourishing sleep time.
“For many of my patients, the combination of increasing daily exercise and creating a ritual around going to sleep is a very successful first step in improving quality and quantity of sleep,” says Dan Dinenberg, a One Medical doctor in San Francisco.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day and 5 days a week has been proven to boost the effect of natural hormones such as Melatonin.
However, the timing of this exercise is very important as exercise also releases endorphins that maintain wakefulness. Hence, morning exercise is ideal and also enhances your circadian rhythm.
If you have trouble sleeping, you should avoid exercise hours to bedtime.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
If you’re the type that does snacks before bedtime, chocolate and wine shouldn’t be part. Wine contains caffeine which is a stimulant. Chocolate has similar effects.
Rather, Dr. Gemaldo of John Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital recommends Warm milk, Chamomile Tea, and Tart cherry juice.
“Warm milk has long been believed to be associated with chemicals that simulate the effects of tryptophan on the brain. This is a chemical building block for the substance serotonin, which is involved in the sleep-wake transition,” Dr. Gamaldo says.
Besides, Chamomile tea contains Flavonoids that interact with Benzodiazepine receptors also involved in the sleep-wake cycle.
These nighttime drinks, although not much scientific research has been done to support their roles in promoting slumber, are ideal treatments without any drug interactions or side effects.
Keep Bedroom Cool and Comfortable
There are so many ways to keep your bedroom cool and more restful. Switching off your TV sets is on top of that list. Besides, light from smartphones, laptops, and even your bathroom lights, if you need to get up at night, interferes with the production of your sleep hormone.
“The latest recommendation is to use a flashlight if you need to get up at night,” Dr. Gemaldo of the John Hopkins Center for Disease.
Moreso, keeping the temperature of your room below 67 degrees will make your body relax and send a signal to initiate the stimulation of your sleep hormone; Melatonin.
Ideally, ensure your room is comfortable, dark by using blackout curtains, quiet, cool, and with a nice ambiance. All this, put together, enhances sleep onsets.
To be more precise, make your bed a sanctuary for sex and sleep only. Cut-off all distractions.
De-stress and Start A Sleep Ritual
Remember when you were still a kid, mama would tell you bedtime stories and tuck you into bed every night; that ritual helped you sleep like a baby that you were then. Well, good news, that ritual still works.
Bedtime rituals like reading a book, listening to soothing and calm music, taking a hot shower, meditation, and much more will tell and prepare your body for bed.
Another factor is stress. According to Dr. Karen Carlson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of Women’s Health Associates at Massachusetts General Hospital,
“Stress is a stimulus. It activates the fight-or-flight hormones that work against sleep”
Learning some form of relaxation techniques and unwinding will send signals to your body and make it ready for bed and greatly reduce daytime stress and anxiety.
There you have it. Natural remedies to promote a good night’s sleep. However, if after trying all these lifestyle changes and there is no improvement, you may need to visit your doctor to prescribe some sedatives.