It's true that more than one-third of Americans regularly miss out on getting enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those who are sleep-deprived, it can seem like a lose-lose battle between not getting enough sleep and taking prescription medications. But it doesn't have to be. There are natural remedies to help you sleep and tips on how to sleep better at night naturally that can make a big difference.
Why Sleep Matters So Much
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that adults get seven or more hours of sleep each night for optimal health and well-being. A study by the Sleep Research Society states that inadequate sleep may lead to health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and depression. Getting less than the suggested seven hours is thought to be linked to lowered immunity, increased pain, and greater risk of accidents.
And it's not simply clocking your nightly hours that offers both physical and mental health benefits. Sleep regularity plays a key role in happiness and well-being, too.
In a research project published by the AASM, college students were evaluated for happiness, healthiness, and calmness twice daily. The study found that, even if subjects got the average number of hours of sleep in a week, irregular sleep schedules led to lowered morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness, while sticking to a regular sleep schedule showed higher levels of these qualities.
So, what are some natural remedies to help you sleep and ways to optimize the sleep you get?
9 Natural Remedies to Help You Sleep
There are several steps you can take to get a good night of Zs. The best part? Most of them are readily available to you without leaving your home.
1. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
As with work and other things in life, if you set a schedule for sleep and stick to it, you'll feel better in the long run. It can be difficult when you are feeling sleep deprived, but aim to turn in at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning for best results.
2. Set Up Your Environment for Sleep
Having a sleep-worthy setting will improve your chances for a good night's rest. Keep your room cool (the National Sleep Foundation recommends 65 degrees) and dark, and shut off devices at least thirty minutes before turning in.
3. Avoid Disruptive Foods and Drinks
Certain foods and drinks can actually make it more difficult to fall asleep and sleep soundly, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can making it difficult to wind down at bedtime. In addition, even though alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it can still sabotage restful sleep.
4. Don't Skip Exercise
Not only does staying active keep you in shape, but a study published in the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal states that regular exercise improves the quality of your sleep. The study suggests that getting in some physical activity each day may help you get to sleep quicker.
5. Find Ways to De-Stress
A racing mind and not being able to wind down may have a lot to do with trouble getting to sleep. Try a guided meditation at bedtime or journal just before going to bed. Do some deep breathing and declare your bed a no-stress zone, promising yourself you'll get to those worries in the morning.
6. Eat and Drink Right
Eating a healthy diet does more than keep energy up. The Mayo Clinic reports that eating late in the day and consuming fatty foods may keep you up at night. Eat a balanced diet of fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein instead.
7. Consider a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a hormone that the body creates naturally in response to darkness, and it also comes in supplement form. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, melatonin helps to balance your circadian rhythms and may help you get a better night's sleep.
8. Try Lavender Essential Oil
As an article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine states, lavender essential oil may have a positive effect on sleep when inhaled. Added bonus, you can find many natural products with lavender that could help. As a naturally derived fragrance ingredient, lavender smells divine.
9. Limit Daytime Naps
When experiencing sleep deprivation, little else sounds as tempting as a long nap. However, John Hopkins Medicine reports that, while short naps (between thirty and ninety minutes) may actually improve cognitive function, anything longer is likely to impair your cognitive function and disrupt your nightly sleep routine. If you have to sleep during the day, be sure to set a timer.
Learn more ways to incorporate natural remedies in your routine on the Naturally Inspired Solutions board by @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!
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Why It's Good
With natural remedies to help you sleep, you can get your Zs in and feel great about your mind, body, and health.