7 Ways to Get More Sleep Naturally

According to the organizers of World Sleep Day, sleep problems affect 45 percent of the world’s population. However, sleep medications can come with troubling side effects, and some can make your sleep problems worse. Before talking to your doctor about your insomnia, try some of these natural ways to get some shuteye.

Ways to Get More Sleep
Ways to Get More Sleep

1. Sleep in the Same Place Every Time

If you sleep on your couch, in your recliner, and in your car during your lunch break, then your brain isn’t associating one specific spot with sleeping. Instead of sleeping anywhere you can catch some peace and quiet, pick one dedicated place to get your Z’s. If you’re most comfortable sleeping on your bed, then only sleep on your bed. Also, as much as possible, keep other activities away from your sleep spot; this means don’t watch TV or read in bed.

2. Find Ways to De-stress Before Bedtime

Many people find themselves lying in bed while thoughts about the day’s problems race through their minds. If anxious thoughts are keeping you up at night, try some of these ideas to de-stress before bedtime:

Take a walk. Exercising right before bedtime can energize you and keep you from falling asleep. However, a 30-minute stroll after dinner can prompt your brain to release endorphins, which will help you to relax and get you ready to fall asleep later.

Meditate before bedtime. Try a meditation program, such as Headspace, which teaches you simple, breath-focused meditation techniques. You can complete a 10, 15, or 20-minute session before bedtime. Both the deep breathing and your relaxed mind will help you fall asleep.

Listen to relaxing sounds or white noise. Many people find that listening to comforting sounds, such as the sound of a stream or some white noise from a fan, soothes them and helps them to fall asleep. If you need something more intensive, listen to a recorded relaxation exercise.

skip alcohol and caffeine to sleep better
Skip Alcohol and Caffeine

3. Skip Alcohol and Caffeine

Getting plenty of sleep is a three-step process. You have to fall asleep, get high-quality rest, and stay asleep until morning. If you’re having a glass of wine to relax before bed, you might feel more relaxed when you lie down to sleep. However, when you fall asleep, alcohol interferes with quality sleep.

Also, if you’re gulping caffeine in the afternoons and evenings, you’re going to struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. Lower your intake of booze and coffee, and start drinking plenty of water. Instead, try drinking other beverages like chamomile tea to relax before bedtime.

4. Manage Your Light Levels

For some people, a bedroom nightlight is essential. For others, even moonlight shining through the window is a sleep killer. At night, filter outdoor light by closing your window shades. Also, turn off any digital displays that could shine light into your room. If you have a digital alarm clock with a bright display, face the clock face away from you while you’re trying to sleep.

In addition to managing your light levels at night, find ways to get more sunlight during the day. The contrast between light during the day and dark at night can help your body fine-tune its circadian rhythms.

avoid daytime naps
Avoid Daytime Naps

5. Avoid Daytime Naps

When you’re struggling to sleep at night, you probably feel desperate for sleep during the day. However, taking naps during the afternoon might actually make it harder for you to sleep at night. Instead of crashing and taking a nap, go outside and stand in the sunlight or take a quick stroll. Avoid using caffeine as a crutch to raise your mid-afternoon energy levels.

6. Create a Bedtime Routine

Doing the same activities every night before you go to bed conditions your brain to know that it’s bed time. Try disconnecting from all screens, including TV screens and computer screens, at least 30 minutes before bed. You could read a book, drink some tea, take a bath, or enjoy some soothing music. Just make sure to follow the same pre-sleep routine every night.

7. Know When to Get Professional Help

Most of the time, incorporating one or more of these natural remedies should solve most people’s sleep problems. However, if your sleeplessness is caused by severe anxiety or depression, or if a disorder like sleep apnea robs you of sleep, talk to your doctor about non-pharmaceutical solutions for the underlying cause of your sleeplessness.

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