A mind that’s well rested is the one that makes the best decisions, and a body that’s healthy is the one that lives to see the good, long life.
Ever wondered why researchers and doctors all over the world stress on having a good night’s sleep whenever they talk about a healthy body and mind? It’s because the connection is so intricate that it’s actually laughable to ignore the correlation.
Yet, even we know all the blessings that will shower upon us by having a deep long sleep, so many of us fail to achieve the feat, almost on a daily basis. Until very recently, every night I used to find myself staring at the ceiling for hours and hours, replaying old and random thoughts in my head, watching the clock tick from the corner of my eye as the morning got closer and it was time to face the light again.
If that dreadful routine sounds like a familiar ritual to you too, you have come to the right place. With some little lifestyle and sleeping pattern changes, you can help yourself drift off with a lot more ease and faster, without using any medication. In fact, using medication is not generally recommended unless it’s absolutely imperative due to a combination of factors.
Let’s check them out!
The mattress you sleep on, the pillow you use, the blanket you cover yourself with — they all come together to decide how easy the battle will be for you. Using a pillow with unsuitable fluffiness and size can cause severe discomfort to your neck.
Similarly, the mattress you lie on should be of good quality to not cause your back any harm and provide optimum support. Using a comforter or a thick warm blanket also helps you to fall asleep faster due to its warmth and comfort.
Even when we are in bed at night, we have the urge to check social media notifications, that last email or the WhatsApp message. For instance, I had almost made it a habit to fall asleep while watching a TV series on my laptop or while browsing through social media platforms.
The truth is, the more you stare at those blue lit screens, the more sleep will elude you. At least an hour before you sleep, turn off all your electronics. Keep your phone as far away from you as possible. It will definitely help you fall asleep quicker than you expected.
The way you sleep matters significantly. It is scientifically backed that your sleeping position can help you attain quality sleep or give you sleep disorders. Sleeping on your back is a recipe for lower back pain and insomnia. Sleeping on your side helps in better heart circulation as well prevents acidity, helping you get quality sleep.
Scents like lavender help in de-stressing and relaxing your mind and body. It lowers your blood pressure and makes way for deep and comfortable sleep. Just 10-15 minutes before your bedtime, apply lavender oil or use the aroma sticks in your bedroom to fall asleep without a fight.
Sandalwood, damask, and vanilla scents also do the trick for many people. Try different aromas and pick the one that works the best for you.
It is important to make sure that your bedroom has the right temperature. You don’t want it to be too cold or too hot. The best room temperature to fall asleep faster is between 60-65 degrees. This is important for your internal body temperature, which tends to lower down while sleeping, to sync with your surroundings.
Hot Bath Before Bed
Taking a shower under hot or warm water right before going to bed can help regulate your body temperature to your advantage. Entering into a lower temperature after taking a hot shower slows your metabolism due to a faster decrease in your body temperature.
The slowed metabolism is what helps you fall asleep faster as the blood pressure lowers down and your body demands rest. If you make it a part of your everyday routine, it can work wonders for your sleep cycle.
Your nightdress should not restrict your body from attaining a comfortable temperature or position. If you tend to wear more layers, it hampers your body from lowering its temperature, which means it takes longer for you to fall asleep. This lack of sync in body temperature is a major reason for insomnia.
In fact, researchers have proved that sleeping naked enables the body to reach the optimum temperature with more ease and helps in better sleep quality, along with relieving stress.
Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
Alcohol and caffeine, both are designed to make the body digress from its natural healthy course. The body takes time to digest the intoxicating elements and therefore, intake of these considerably affects its ability to regulate your sleep schedule.
Alcohol makes you wake up multiple times during the night, disrupting your sleep and making you feel tired and stale the next day. Smoking regularly also inhibits your body’s ability to have a stable sleep due to breathing problems and other harmful effects of nicotine.
It is recommended by experts that keeping lights on while asleep, especially the LED bulbs and tube lights, can severely hinder your efforts to fall asleep. Before getting into bed finally, switch off all distracting lights in your bedroom. Pitch darkness is most preferable, but if you are like me and need some small source of light, make sure it’s a soft color that does not fall on your eyes to disturb your sleep. Darkness gives your body the signal that it’s time to sleep if you maintain a regular schedule.
Reduce Daytime Naps
Taking short naps at certain intervals can actually be a boon for a healthy body. However, excessive and long naps hamper your sleep cycle. Taking too many naps during the day will stop you from falling asleep on time at night since the body hasn’t recovered completely from the last nap.
Therefore, keep your naps short, preferably under 30 minutes, and at a maximum frequency of twice a day. This regulates your sleep cycle and helps your body become habituated to falling asleep at night.
Listen to Soft Music
Numerous studies have shown the positive effect of music on the mind. It reduces stress and relieves the mind of depressive symptoms. Listening to soft, calm music can help in relaxing the mind and the body, particularly slow tracks with 60 to 70 beats a minute.
The type of music that soothes the mind is a subjective choice. Therefore, pick a track that works for you. Classical music has generally been known to help in depression and anxiety.
This can’t be stressed enough for a number of reasons. Exercising on a regular basis, at least four times a week is highly beneficial for a healthy and wealthy mind and body. It keeps your immune system strong and your metabolism high, relieving you from any extra weight and fighting off dullness.
Routine exercise helps in making your sleep schedule better by making sure your body is physically exhausted enough to do nothing else but sleep. A body that performs no physical activity does not feel the need to sleep. Therefore, do not miss out on working out, even if its basic cardio for half an hour a day. However, make sure you do not perform any intense workout right before your sleeping time as that will spoil your plan of snoozing off on time.
The Breathing Hack
If you think that there is only one way to breathe, or no right or wrong way, think again. Made widely popular by Dr. Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 breathing method is proven to help you fall asleep in as quickly as under a minute. All you need to do is follow these steps:
- Place your tongue at the back of your upper front teeth, touching the tissue. This position needs to steady throughout the exercise.
- Exhale through your mouth while making a whooshing sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose calmly, counting to 4 in your mind.
- Hold your breath till a steady count of 7.
- Exhale through your mouth till the count of 8, while maintaining the same tongue position and making a whooshing sound.
This technique helps in increasing the oxygen in your blood while decreasing your heart rate, helping you to drift off faster.
Yoga and meditation have been hailed as the epitome of relaxation techniques. If you are plagued by anxiety and worrisome thoughts while in bed, the best way to help you relax might be Yoga. It helps the mind declutter and focus while relaxing the entire body. This considerably benefits at night when you are trying to fall asleep.
Meditation also has been proven to help people that suffer from insomnia, leading them to a better and quality sleep routine.
Create a Sleep Schedule
The body and the mind get used to a certain schedule. Therefore, it helps if you can create and maintain a night routine. If you regularly sleep at 10 PM, your body will get used to it and internally get prepared every day to fall asleep at the same time. On the other hand, random sleep schedules mess up the internal body clock, further causing serious sleep disorders.
Sleep With Your Socks On
While it’s recommended to keep a cool room temperature and sleep without clothes on, it is highly suggested to keep your hand and feet warm while you are in bed to fall asleep faster. Cold feet hinder your body to attain the right temperature and therefore, it takes a lot more time to doze off.
Take a Break
If you have been trying for 15 minutes or more to fall asleep while lying in bed, take a break and get out of your bed to something else for 10 minutes. You can try solving a puzzle or do some math, or even just read for some time or sketch. Anything that can use your mind and a minimum amount of physical activity.
These activities should be performed out of bed to send your body the signal that the bed is only meant for sleeping so that as soon as you land on it, it prepares itself to fall asleep.
Trick Your Mind
Your mind believes what you tell it and not the other way around. Use reverse psychology to trick your mind to fall asleep. Force yourself to stay awake rather than trying to fall asleep with all your might. The more you’ll try to make yourself sleep, the more sleep will elude you.
Forcing yourself to not fall asleep on the other hand tends to make you fall asleep faster. This is especially true for insomniacs who suffer from anxiety while pushing themselves to sleep every night.
Avoid Looking at the Clock
Ever heard the saying ‘the watched pot never boils’? It applies here as well. The more you stare at that clock ticking the more you tend to think about how little time you have before you have to wake up.
I used to glance at the clock every other minute and count the hours till morning as they kept reducing. This increases stress and anxiety, alienating sleep. For best results, avoid keeping a clock in your bedroom so that you don’t feel the urge to look at the time. This also includes not peeping at your smartphone to know the time.
Use Your Imagination
We are often so engrossed in our daily worries and tensions that we forget to relax. This continues in bed at night when you are trying to fall asleep but that one problem is afflicting your mind to an extent that you can’t.
Experts suggest thinking about your happy place helps you drift off to sleep faster. Maybe your favorite holiday destination, the beach, the meadow or anything else that makes you happy and lowers your anxiety. In fact, you can try to play the ocean sounds. Studies have shown that people who visualize an ocean tend to fall asleep 20 minutes faster.
Acupressure has long been a favorite topic for researchers. While some skeptics do not believe in the technique, it has been known to have significant benefits for people suffering from heart and liver problems, stress and anxiety, and other body aches. Acupressure means pressing on certain specific points in your body that regulate the flow of energy and help your body and mind to recover from any defects.
To help you fall asleep faster, press the small crevice between your eyebrows and right above the nose softly. Similarly, applying pressure between your first and second toe and massaging your ears for up to a minute can help immensely.
Drink Herbal Tea
Drinking herbal tea before you sleep helps your body to warm up faster and hence, fall asleep quickly. Chamomile has been proven to act as a light sedative and have relaxing effects on the mind; the antioxidants present in the tea alleviate stress and anxiety and help you feel more drowsy.
Valerian Root is also one such herbal tea that helps in insomnia. There are a lot of others, including lavender, lemon, magnolia, and more, that help your mind and body to calm down.
Focus on Your Diet
What you eat during the day and right before you go to bed affects majorly on how quickly and deeply you sleep. Your regular dietary intake should contain magnesium and potassium-rich foods that tend to increase the quality of sleep, for instance, bananas, avocados, fish, almonds, etc. Protein-rich foods like milk and peanuts also help more tryptophan enter your body that causes more sleepiness.
Additionally, eating a heavy dinner or spicy and oily food close to your bedtime will definitely ruin your efforts to fall asleep since the body takes time to digest the intake. Therefore, avoid having late night dinners and heavy snacks. Studies recommend having your dinner 4 hours before going to bed and not eating anything thereafter.
Regular Exposure to Light
Your body needs to get habituated to light and darkness to regulate its internal clock that decides when to sleep and when to stay awake. Exposing your body to light during the daytime tells it to be awake and alert while making sure you sleep in total darkness adjusts its response to it.
Long and erratic exposure to light destabilizes the circadian rhythm which limits your body’s ability to fall asleep. Therefore, make sure you get regular exposure to light during the day and make your room dark at night to signal your body that it’s sleeping time by secreting more melatonin, a vital hormone for sleep.
Tossing and turning in bed, trying to drift off to sleep can be highly frustrating. It hampers the rational functioning of your mind and makes your body lethargic and low on energy the entire time you are awake.
However, there are numerous home remedies and natural ways that can help you solve your sleep disorders. Minute changes in your lifestyle and sleeping routine can go a long way in helping you fall asleep faster and ensure you have a deep, refreshing sleep.
Before resorting to medication and supplements, try and inculcate these in your routine to judge the effects.
Last update on 2024-02-27 at 19:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API