If getting good sleep is something you struggle with, you’re not alone. Millions of people suffer from sleep disorders. Here are some tips to help you fall asleep faster & stay that way!
Poor sleep can cause weight gain, fatigue, irritability, lack of sex drive, and much more. My daughter and I have struggled with getting a good night’s sleep for years. She has a hard time falling asleep, and I have a hard time staying asleep.
Having tried just about everything there is, we’ve both had success with everything on this list. My personal favorite to fall asleeep faster is to take a hot bath. And as long as I’ve taken my melatonin, I’ll sleep all night!
Take A Hot Bath:
When you take a hot bath right before bed, it raises your internal body temperature. When you get out, your body will rapidly start to cool down, which triggers the brain to sleep. This works so well for me, that I’ve actually fallen asleep before I can get through the first page of a book! For this to work best, be sure the water temp. is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too cool, you won’t have the same results.
Shut Your Brain Off (or try to):
I’m an over-thinker, so this one is hard for me. Just before you go to bed (maybe before your hot bath), journal all of your thoughts for the day. When you lay down hopefully the big stuff weighing on your mind will be gone. If your mind is still going a mile a minute, ask yourself “will this matter in 2 years or 2 weeks”. Remind yourself that you are not in control and “let it go”.
Turn Off Electronics:
The darker it is, the better you sleep. Cell phones, computers, or TV emit blue light which suppresses melatonin, which is the hormone that induces sleep. The only light you should have is from your alarm clock, and make it as dim as you can (or turn it away from you).
Read A Book:
Reading can reduce stress, take your mind off whatever may be troubling you, and help you unwind. Try to choose a book that’s not overly exciting or this may have the opposite effect. My favorite thing to read at bedtime is magazines.
Do A Mindless Activity:
No doubt you’ve heard that “counting sheep” helps you fall asleep, and it actually does. But to make it even more effective, try counting in multiples of three or four. This forces your brain to focus on counting and keeps your thoughts from wandering.
Cut Out Caffeine Earlier:
Did you know that caffeine can affect you for up to 6 hours? Try to have your last caffeinated drink no later than 2 pm. If you want to sip on something hot in the evening, caffeine-free herbal tea is a better choice. There are varieties that may actually help you sleep, like “Sleepy Time” tea made with valerian or chamomile.
Avoid Alcohol Before Bed:
Alcohol can help you fall asleep but it also can cause you to wake up several times throughout the night. A single cocktail can prevent you from entering deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
I don’t know anyone that sleeps well when they are too hot, so set your thermostat at a temperature that keeps you cool through the night. It also helps to wear cool, breathable materials.
It wasn’t until I read this in a magazine that I realized how many times a night our dog woke us up. Pets shake, scratch, and move around a lot when they dream – all of which can wake you up throughout the night. So as much as I hate to say it, keeping your furbaby out of the bedroom might be a good idea.
Aromatherapy with lavender has been shown to slow the activity of the nervous system and improve sleep quality. Pure lavender essential oil is the best and can be found at health food stores. Try a few drops on a tissue tucked under your pillow, add a few drops to your hot bath, or use an aromatherapy diffuser.
Magnesium is considered the “anti-stress” mineral and has a calming effect on the nerves. Doses of 250 milligrams about an hour before bed can help induce sleep. It’s best taken with calcium, so I always take mine with milk or use Natural Calm.
Melatonin naturally induces sleep, but less is more. Doses of 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams about an hour before bed is usually effective.
L-theanine can help promote a deeper sleep. Its effect on the brain has actually been confirmed by EEG. It relaxes the body without drowsiness, which is the type of relaxation prescribed by sleep therapists. Try 50 to 200 milligrams at bedtime.
Check Your Adrenals:
Cortisol, or the “stress hormone”, is secreted during times of fear or stress and can wreak havoc on the nervous system. High cortisol levels interfere with restorative REM sleep and interrupt sleep rhythms. While a lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels. It’s a vicious cycle. You may have to see a Naturopath to have this diagnosed, but I think every woman should do this. Our bodies can be stressed without us feeling “stressed”. Women tend to go-go-go constantly, which puts our bodies in a constant state of stress. I was diagnosed with very high cortisol levels about a year ago and given an all-natural cortisol supplement. Within a week of taking it, I noticed a drastic improvement in my sleep and mood.