Written By Mikkie Mills / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Studies have long shown that a lack of sleep has a markedly detrimental effect on your health, and can seriously affect your performance during the day. Good, fulfilling sleep is good for your hormones, mental health, and immune system and can even help you to stay at a stable weight.
Poor sleep quality has many causes. Fortunately, there are several natural ways you can encourage your body to fall asleep - and to stay in dreamland for the recommended seven to nine hours per night. Take a look at these simple tips to better regulate your sleep schedule and feel more rested.
The key to good sleep is a solid routine, but a consistent schedule won’t happen overnight. For some, insomnia can even strike when you’ve followed an ideal bedtime routine down to the letter, especially if your body is chemically dysregulated. Your body naturally produces several hormones that either encourage or discourage sleep, and stress hormones, some foods and other substances can keep you up at night.
There are a variety of natural supplements for sleep that can help your body catch the z’s you need to maintain the right amount of focus for the following day. Supplements such as melatonin, magnesium and l-theanine are naturally occurring chemicals that mimic the hormones that would already exist in your body and can help you to get some shut eye.
Certain foods and substances can impede your ability to sleep soundly, such as processed foods, caffeine, sugar and alcohol. The better you’re able to fuel your body during the day, the less hard it has to work to function and the process of sleep becomes more accessible. Pull out the food pyramid and make sure to pack your plate with fresh foods, and keep things in the “sparingly” category just that.
Regular exercise can do more for your body than just keep your waistline trim. When you get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, you release helpful hormones that regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Exercise is stimulating, however, so it’s important to time your workouts during daylight hours or you could lose out on precious time in slumber at night.
Day-to-day life is fast paced and packed with tasks that crowd your seemingly never ending to-do list. Stress, anxiety and depression all have a negative impact on your system and trigger the release of hormones that hinder your ability to relax and wind down for the night. For this reason, it’s important to include mindful de-stressing techniques to get both your body and mind in the right space for sleep.
Some find journaling to be relaxing. Others swear by deep breathing and meditation. Whatever it is, find a way to quiet your mind and diffuse some of your worries and restlessness and clear the way for calmness and serenity. If you find it hard to relax on your own, put on a pair of noise cancelling headphones and play a guided meditation intended for sleep, a relaxing playlist or a soothing audiobook.
Many bedrooms serve lots of purposes, from office and entertainment room to workout and hangout space. If possible, try to reserve your bedroom as a place of sleep and relaxation only and save other activities for living rooms and other dedicated areas. Most importantly, make sure your bedroom is a place that encourages relaxation by eliminating anything that could interrupt or prevent you from getting a good night’s rest.
In addition to removing distractions, find ways to make your room a calmer place to be. Set up a few therapeutic candles, invest in a dim lamp and reduce screen time when it’s time for bed.
Your body’s sleep-wake cycle is regulated by many factors, but one of the best ways to get into a routine is to set a firm bedtime and a solid time to get up in the morning. The more strictly you adhere to these times, the sooner you’ll find your body falling asleep and waking up naturally. Your body already does a great job of putting itself to sleep, and when you let it work the way it's meant to, you’ll find that good sleep was right there all along.
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Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and DIY. When she's not writing, she's chasing the little ones around, walking her dog, or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.