Nowadays most people consider sleep as a luxury than a necessity. We work excessively day and night and add in more activities and delay our physical and mental recharge, skimp on sleep and begin suffering from a myriad of sleep and sleep-related problems.
When it’s finally time to lie down, our super busy minds don’t let us rest. Despite the cause, insomnia is one of the most common sleep complaints in the world. The National Sleep Foundation states that an average of 30 to 40 percent of adults say they suffer from insomnia occasionally.
When you realize you may be suffering from insomnia, it may be tempting to turn towards sleeping pills. However, some natural sleep remedies and lifestyle changes may help you too. All it takes is some trial and error.
Exercise in the morning
When you exercise in the morning, you sleep better at night compared to when you exercise during the evening or night time. Some researchers believe this is mostly because early morning workouts decrease stress hormone levels, which tend to rise in the a.m.
Do some gentle yoga
Before hitting the sheets, try practicing a 15 minute yoga routine that will help your body relax. Some excellent yoga-like poses include shoulder rolls, neck rolls, back stretches, cow pose etc. The poses will help your muscles loosen up. However, make sure your routine focuses on helping your muscles relax and not increase your heart rate and elevate your energy level.
Start counting sheep backward
Counting up is an easy task so it may be easy to focus on other things. In order to distract yourself and prevent your mind from racing, try counting backward as this is mathematically more complicated for your brain.
Try the rocking chair
If you want a baby to fall asleep, perhaps the oldest trick in the book is to rock gently back and forth. It works for the baby and surprisingly, it will work for us adults too. According to a Swiss research, participants who took a nap in a hammock bed fell asleep much faster as compared to those who slept in regular beds. The study also showed that the people sleeping in the hammock bed entered restorative deep sleep phase sooner, thus indicating that the swimming sensation may have an impact on the areas of the brain that are involved in deep sleep stages. It may be difficult to sleep on a hammock every day, therefore try relaxing in a rocking chair for a few minutes before getting into bed.
Practice good sleep hygiene
The author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, Michael Breus, PhD, suggests practicing a routine called the Power-Down Hour. According to him, your body requires time to unwind. Therefore, follow a 3-part routine in which you complete all your chores within the first 20 minutes, brush your teeth, wash your face, get dressed etc., in the next 20 minutes and finally lie in bed, relax and meditate in the last 20 minutes. When you meditate, you want to focus on your breathing alone and eliminate all negative and troubling thoughts so that you can relax and unwind.
Listen to soft music
If you’re having trouble catching your Zzzs, try listening to some calm, soothing music. According to one research, older people who listened to soft music before bed had better sleep quality at night compared to those who didn’t.
Don’t try to sleep too early
In order to keep insomnia at bay, it is important that you stick to a routine. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, going to sleep hours before you usually do may disrupt your body’s normal sleep rhythm. Your brain prefers following a pattern, therefore, avoid daytime napping and hitting the bed too early, especially if you experience insomnia frequently.
Have cherry juice
If you enjoy having a drink (of the alcoholic variety) just before bed, you need to stop. Not only is alcohol a toxin, but it is a known sleep disrupter too. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it will also disrupt your normal sleep cycle and wake you up in the middle of the night. Fortunately, there is an alternative for this. cherry juice contains a hormone called melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep cycle.