Do you drag yourself out of bed in the mornings, or feel tired-but-wired before bed? Good sleep is crucial for good health. Read these simple 15 tips to sleep better naturally.
WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT?
Sleep is a requirement for good health.
According to research, 1 in 3 adult’s don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis.
The impact of sleep deprivation can affect you instantly, or over time and can raise your risk for chronic health problems.
Getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining your health and well-being. Contrary to belief, sleep is just as important as exercise and nutrition. Developing a natural sleep routine for you or your family is important for short and long term health.
Many people resort to sleep medications such as Ambien or Benadryl. These can be helpful towards getting you to sleep, but have some serious side effects. Read my 15 tips to sleep better naturally, without medications, and start feeling better today!
15 TIPS TO SLEEP BETTER NATURALLY
1. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
If you currently have sleep issues, or you are wanting to optimize your sleep, making it a priority is the first place to start.
Make it a priority to make time to sleep. This means putting up work early, or finishing your Netflix show up tomorrow. The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, but research states the average is seven to nine hours per night.
Make a commitment to stop working at a certain time. Working after hours can cause additional anxiety and stress. Not only does it keep your mind awake and active, but it takes away from family or alone time.
2. AVOID TECHNOLOGY BEFORE BEDTIME
Avoid or minimize being on your computer, phone, tablet or watching TV, two to three hours before bedtime.
- Use a program called F.lux to reduce the blue light from the devices.
- Implement quality time with your partner and/or kids. Turn the electronics off and read, play board games, or talk about your day.
- If you do use technology before bed, make sure to wear blue light blocking glasses.
3. TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS
Artificial lights disrupt our bodies natural sleep-wake cycles. When it starts to get dark outside, our brains are triggered to make melatonin, a sleep hormone. Exposure to artificial light (ceiling lights, kitchen lights, light from electronics), decreases melatonin production, making it hard for our body to know when it is time to sleep.
- Dim or turn off the artificial lights around your house. Turn on salt lamps, or light some candles instead.
- Wear blue blockers (orange glasses) to reduce exposure to any blue light
- Close the curtains, blinds, or shades to omit any light.
- Dim, cover, or remove anything that emits light in your bedroom before bed, like alarm clocks.
4. GET SUNLIGHT DURING THE DAY
Getting sunlight during the day, specifically in the morning, is so important in keeping your sleep regulated.
Take a short walk with your dog, partner, or with a podcast/music in your ears. Make sure to avoid sunglasses, as your eyes need to be exposed to the sun.
If you have a 9 to 5 job, and don’t have access to getting sunlight before work (especially in the winter), use a light therapy machine as soon as you wake up in the mornings.
5. GET THAT BODY MOVING!
Physical exercise is one of the most important factors for proper sleep. Pay attention to how sedentary you are throughout the day. How many hours of the day do you sit?
Walk, walk, walk! If you have access, walk in the mornings, in the middle of the day (maybe on your lunch break), and in the evenings before or after dinner.
Lifting weights or working out at the gym is also a great option!
If you have a desk job, and are very sedentary, opt for a standing desk, or treadmill desk.
If you feel like you don’t have time to exercise during the day, start with simple practices. Park far away in the parking lot at the grocery store, take the stairs at work, or chase your kids around at the playground.
6. DISCOVER YOUR OWN SLEEP NUTRITION
Some people do well with eating a small dinner and avoiding any snacks before bed (those with digestive issues), whereas other people need a bedtime snack (those with low blood sugar).
Don’t go to bed too full, or too hungry. Find your sweet spot on whether you should avoid food before bed, or have a snack before bed. If you are on a low carb diet, that can impact your sleep.
It’s also important to cut down on water 2-3 hours before bed, so that you aren’t up going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
7. CUT CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL
Caffeine and alcohol can really affect your sleep in a negative way, and are best left out if you do have sleep problems.
If you are a coffee drinker, it is best to quit drinking before 12pm. Drink water the rest of the day, and stay hydrated.
If you are going to drink alcohol, the best time to drink it is during the day. The closer you drink to bedtime, the more impact it will have on your sleep. Stay away from alcohol at least 3 hours before your bedtime.
8. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Going to bed with anxiety and stress? Have an argument with your spouse right before bed? It is very important to manage your stress before bed. Otherwise, you might find yourself lying awake, staring at the ceiling, instead of sleeping.
- Implement deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or tai chi for good sleep.
- Stretch, foam roll, or do some relaxing mobility
- Diffuse or roll on some essential oils such as lavender or chamomile
- Read a paperback book. Reading an interesting book can help you keep your mind off things you may be stressing over.
- Drink some hot herbal tea such as this lavender and chamomile tea.
9. SET THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE
Set a cool temperature on the thermostat 2-3 hours before your bedtime. Most people sleep best in a temperature ranging from 65 to 70 degrees.
If you are waking up hot in the middle of the night, this is an indicator that you need to lower the temperature, or think about changing your sleep clothing.
I use Nest thermostat to set the bedtime temperature in advance. During the day the house temperature is at 69 whereas at night it is turned down to 65.
10. GET COMFORTABLE BEDDING
You aren’t going to sleep well if you have an uncomfortable bed. I recommend buying a non-toxic mattress, as well as natural and organic bedding, from the sheets to your pillows. Check out this link for an overview of natural and organic bedding.
11. CREATE A RELAXING BEDROOM ENVIRONMENT
Creating a stress and distraction free bedroom is extremely important for a good night’s sleep. The bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex.
- Avoid using electronics in the bedroom
- Turn off or dim the lights while getting ready for bed. Salt lamps are great for turning on and omit a red/orange light instead of a harsh blue.
- Cut out the noise with a sound machine. If you don’t have a sound machine, I recommend downloading a sound app, and playing the sound through a speaker.
- Dim, cover, or remove anything that emits light in your bedroom before bed, like alarm clocks, smoke detectors, small lights on the TV, etc. The small lights can disrupt sleep.
12. WAKE AND SLEEP AT CONSISTENT TIMES
Waking up at the same time everyday can not only regulate your sleep cycle, but also sustain healthy habits.
If you wake up at the same time everyday, your body will prompt you to also go to sleep at the same time every night.
Avoid sleeping in even on the weekends, if you want to keep your sleep cycle on track.
13. CUT THE NOISE
Avoid disruptive noises like house creaks, or highway traffic with a sound machine. You can also use a loud bedroom fan, or a relaxing sleep sound app.
I use Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds app. I play it through a small speaker so that the sound covers the whole bedroom.
14. PRIORITIZE SAFETY
If you don’t feel safe in your house, then you probably won’t be sleeping optimally.
Remembering to lock your house up at night so that you feel safe and secure. For extra safety measures, I recommend getting a security system. This really helped me feel safe while sleeping.
15. REMOVE TECHNOLOGY FROM THE BEDROOM
Most people are sleeping with their phone either in their bed, or right on the nightstand beside them. This interferes with sleep.
Although their is no evidence to support that cell phones do cause cancer, there are concerns regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cellphones.
It is better to be safe than sorry. Keep your phone out of the bedroom at night, especially away from your head, and find a place to charge it outside of the bedroom.
If you are going to keep it on your nightstand, or in the bedroom, put the phone on airplane mode.