Sleep is very important to the human body and a lack of a good night’s rest can have negative health consequences. Medicated sleeping aids offer a solution but have their own side effects, are largely addictive and may leave you feeling drowsy and lethargic long after the medication has been taken.
Fortunately, there are a number of different natural techniques that can help you fall asleep much faster and promote better health rather than the disadvantages of using synthetic sleeping aids.
Eating And Drinking
Many types of foods and beverages that we consume have a stimulating effect on the body and mind which can make you restless and cause difficulty falling asleep, even when you are tired. For example, caffeine and sugar are both stimulants that can delay sleep. It is recommended to avoid foods that have stimulating properties for at least a few hours before bedtime. Some experts recommend that caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and some sodas, should be consumed no later than 2 or 3 in the afternoon to ensure a good night’s rest.
It is important to relax and calm the body and the mind before bedtime. Avoid stimulating activities such as exercise before bedtime. Watching television or playing computer or other electronic games can also be very stimulating for the brain and make it hard to fall asleep. It is recommended to abstain from these activities at least 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. Rather read a book or play soft calming music that will tell the brain that it is time to switch off and go to bed. Meditation is a great way to clear the mind and relax the body in preparation for sleep.
Staying In The Dark
Darkness stimulates the secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland. Also referred to as the darkness hormone, melatonin has been linked to the ability to fall asleep naturally. In other words, the hormone tells the brain and the body that night time has arrived and that it is now time to go to sleep. This hormone is being included in many different types of sleeping medications to help patients fall asleep faster. However, dimming the lights in your home and sitting in the dark for an hour or so before bedtime can naturally stimulate the release of melatonin to fall asleep faster as well as regulate sleep patterns on a long term basis.
Natural Sleep Supplements, Essential Oils And Aids
There are many naturally occurring substances that can assist with falling asleep faster at bedtime. Chamomile tea or extract is one of the most successful at providing relief from sleep disorders. Lavender, Cedarwood and Ylang Ylang are all essential oils that have aromatherapy qualities to help you fall asleep. Valerian is another herbal remedy that can aid sleep, however it is recommended to take caution when using this supplement as interactions or side effects may occur. Alternatively, melatonin in supplement form can also be beneficial to assisting with falling asleep.
Understanding Your Sleep Patterns
New research has found that the optimal amount of uninterrupted sleep per night is 7 hours. Sleeping too much or too little can negatively impact your sleep patterns making it harder to fall asleep as can lying in bed when it is not time to sleep. Keep a sleep journal to monitor how much sleep you are getting and adjust your bedtime as well as pattern to get closer to the magical 7 hours of sleep per night.
At first it may not be easy to adjust your lifestyle to incorporate these natural ways to fall asleep faster but it will become easier as time passes and your body adjusts to your new sleep pattern.