Getting a good night’s sleep is a very important part of our daily routine and a good 7 hours each night is recommended for a healthy lifestyle. However, there are times when insomnia kicks in and we end up tossing and turning in our bed, unable to fall asleep. Not being able to have good quality sleep can be vexing and if it continues in the long run, it can lead to certain health problems.
Here are some things you can do or eat to help relieve your senses and fall asleep more easily in bed as well as what you should avoid to prevent insomnia, without the help of medication.
1. Clear your mind
Sometimes we are unable to fall asleep because our brain is being too active thinking about certain issues we are facing in real life. Your troubled mind can keep you awake as by dwelling on such matters. What you need to do in this case is to clear your mind so that you can get better quality sleep.
Meditation is one way of doing it as it helps to reduce stress and keeps anxiety under control. Another way to do it is to keep a journal and note down your worries. By putting them down in words, your journal becomes an outlet to vent your negative emotions. Clearing these pessimistic thoughts will help you sleep better through the night.
Exercising during the day can help to relieve tension and keep your mind focused. It also uses up energy and makes your body want to rest. If you are unable to engage in outdoor exercises due to weather or time constrain, we suggest doing some yoga exercises or long stretches. However, avoid exercising near your bedtime as it may stimulate your body and keep you awake for a while.
3. What to drink
There are certain beverages can help you to relax and induce sleep, while some others should be avoided. We suggest drinking chamomile tea as it is a caffeine-free beverage which helps to sooth your senses with its comforting fragrance. It is also considered a mild tranquilizer and a sleep inducer. Another option with similar effects is peppermint tea. However, if you are concerned that you might need to get up in the middle of the night to make a trip to the toilet, you should try other methods instead.
Avoid drinks that contain caffeine as this ingredient is a stimulant for the brain that keeps you awake. Most of the time, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea are consumed to keep the mind awake.
Certain fragrances can help to calm the mind and among them, lavender may be the most well-known for helping with sleep and relaxation issues. Lavender has a comforting smell that can relieve anxiety so it may work well for those who are stressed. Using lavender is also convenient as it can come in many forms – lavender pillow, lavender spray, and lavender oil. If you happen to be allergic to lavender, you can also try other oils that provide similar effects such as jasmine.
5. Avoid screen time
Avoiding screen time about 30-60 minutes before bedtime can help you fall asleep more easily. Activities such as watching the television or playing mobile/desktop games can be stimulating and keep your brain active for a while which will affect your sleep.
Being exposed to the blue light emitted from the screen also has other negative effects for your eyes and the brain too. It has an effect on the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that is responsible for your body’s circadian rhythm. It exists to help let your body know when it is time for you to be asleep or active; when its production is disturbed, so is your body’s biological clock.
If you are someone who has trouble falling asleep because of your surroundings (i.e you are easily woken up by slight noises or light), you can consider wearing an eye mask and putting on earplugs to block out any disturbances. Change your bedsheets and pillow sheets regularly to keep them fresh and clean. Some people swear by silk ones as they are very smooth in texture and regulate temperature which makes it more comfortable for you to rest well through the night.
7. Avoid late meals and snacking
Unless you are really hungry, try not to eat late at night, especially before bedtime. Your body and mind are supposed to rest during the time you are sleeping, and if you consume food right before bed, your body is forced to work on digesting your meal, which affects the quality of your sleep. You may even wake up in the morning feeling groggy and under the weather. If you really have to, eat only light snacks before sleeping.