How To Fall asleep better at home - sleep better

How To Fall Asleep Faster and Stay Asleep Longer

In today’s fast-paced world, falling asleep and having a good night’s sleep can feel like a luxury. However, getting enough quality sleep is essential for both physical and mental well-being. It impacts our energy levels, mood, cognitive function, and even our immune system. If you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, you’re not alone.

Millions of people worldwide experience sleep difficulties at some point in their lives. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 50 million in the United States have sleep abnormalities[1]. These abnormalities can either be due to;

Fortunately, you can try several natural remedies before taking medication. These strategies focus on creating a healthy sleep environment and promoting relaxation practices to improve your sleep quality naturally and enable you to stay asleep longer.

While this information is intended to be educational and informative, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine – Fall Asleep Better

Your body thrives on routine, and establishing a consistent bedtime routine signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down. Aim to go to bed and wake up simultaneously each day, even on weekends. This consistency helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, also known as your circadian rhythm.

Scientists have proven that those who are unable to get at least 8 hours of sleep every day tend to be more productive in their day-to-day activities[2]. It has also been proven that lack of sleep can make one more susceptible to depression[3]

lack of sleep can cause depression

Here’s how to create a relaxing bedtime routine:

  • Wind down in the hour before bed: Avoid stimulating activities like watching TV, working on the computer, or engaging in intense conversations close to bedtime.expand_more Instead, opt for calming activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or listening to relaxing music. If you find this hard, smartphone apps like Digital Wellbeing can help achieve this.
  • Dim the lights: Bright lights suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleepiness. Dim the lights in your bedroom an hour before bed and avoid using electronic devices that emit blue light, such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment: Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in blackout curtains, earplugs, and a comfortable mattress and pillows. You can also find and download relaxing sounds that can be found on YouTube which will help you sleep well.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Stress and anxiety can significantly disrupt sleep. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine can help quiet your mind and prepare your body for sleep.

  • Deep breathing exercises: Focus on slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.expand_more This simple practice can activate your body’s relaxation response, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Tense and relax different muscle groups in your body, starting with your toes and working your way up. This technique helps release physical tension and promotes a feeling of calmness.
  • Meditation or mindfulness: Meditation involves focusing your attention on the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness exercises can help train your mind to let go of worries and anxieties that might be keeping you awake. Consider guided meditations specifically designed for sleep.

Optimize Your Sleep Environment

Your bedroom environment plays a crucial role in sleep quality. Here are some tips to optimize your sleep space:

  • Maintain a cool temperature: Most people sleep best in a room that is between 60°F and 67°F (15.5°C and 19.5°C).
  • Minimize noise: If noise is a problem, consider using earplugs or a white noise machine to block out disruptive sounds.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows: A supportive mattress and comfortable pillows are essential for good sleep posture and reducing pressure points.
  • Limit screen time in bed: The blue light emitted from electronic devices can interfere with melatonin production and disrupt sleep patterns. Avoid using electronic devices in bed and avoid screen time for at least an hour before bedtime.

Natural Sleep Aids and Supplements

While not a substitute for establishing healthy sleep habits, certain natural sleep aids and supplements may offer additional support for some people.

  • Melatonin: This hormone naturally produced by the body regulates sleep-wake cycles. Some people find taking a low dose of melatonin (0.5-5mg) 30-60 minutes before bed helpful in falling asleep faster. However, it’s important to speak to your doctor before starting melatonin, as it may interact with certain medications and have side effects.
  • Magnesium: This mineral plays a role in regulating muscle function and the nervous system. Studies suggest magnesium deficiency might be linked to sleep problems[4]. Consider including magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds in your diet, or speak to your doctor about a possible magnesium supplement.
  • Chamomile tea: This herbal tea has calming properties and has been traditionally used to promote relaxation and sleep. While scientific evidence is limited, many people find chamomile tea calming and beneficial for sleep.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Better Sleep

Your overall lifestyle choices significantly impact your sleep quality. Here are some adjustments that can help:

  • Regular exercise: Regular physical activity can improve sleep quality, but avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep, especially if consumed later in the day. Similarly, while alcohol may initially make you feel drowsy, it disrupts sleep quality throughout the night.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet. Also ensure that you don’t go to bed hungry, or too full. Eat enough so that your body can relax while you sleep.
  • Limit naps in the Afternoon. Nap too much in the afternoon and I bet you won’t have any sleep left in the evening.
  • Limit sugary foods. Too many sugary foods such as sweets stimulate your brain and will give you a hard time sleeping[5].

Try these tips I have provided above and you will see the difference after some time. If you feel there is no improvement, please visit your doctor who will properly diagnose you and see a proper way of treating you.

By Henf Henf

Am Henfrey Wangulu, a Clinical Officer/Physician associate based in Kenya. I am a Tech and Health enthusiast and in my free time, I like Swimming, Art and socializing with other people

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