5 Tips to better sleep: Natural sleep aids



#1: Create a dark environment in your bedroom
Insomnia has become an epidemic in the United States. We are all hyper-connected and find it increasingly irresistible to put down our hand held devices. If you’re ever wondering why you toss and turn when you first lay down to go to sleep, ask yourself, when did I last use an electronic device? If that answer is within an hour prior to you attempting to sleep, you are not creating a dark environment in which to facilitate sleeping.

Try turning off all electronic devices including the television 1 hour prior to going to sleep. Try reading a physical book or a Kindle book. I know, I know, I said don’t use electronic devices 1 hour prior to sleep, but the light emitted from a Kindle device does not disrupt your sleep pattern compared to the blue light from a smart phone. Try covering your eyes with an eye mask, they tend to be very effective in keeping the light out for those who have difficulty creating a darkened room.


#2: Choose your naps wisely
Regular naps during the day, particularly naps longer than 20 minutes significantly disrupt your circadian rhythm. Taking regular naps during the day particularly those longer than 20 minutes is an indication that you are experiencing poor quality sleep during the night.
The ideal nap for adults appears to be approximately 20 minutes in the mid to early afternoon. A short afternoon nap can allow you to feel more energetic and alert. If you sleep longer than 20 minutes, you’ll enter into the deeper stages of sleep which may leave you groggy when you wake up.


#3: 8 Hours of sleep is the goal
I know, I know, our lives are so busy most of us are lucky to get 5-6 hours of sleep at night. The problem is, that’s not enough! Not getting enough hours of sleep can lead to poor health and increased stress. If you are unable to “schedule” 8 hours to sleep during the night, you should consider evaluating your daily schedule for areas where you can minimize or remove tasks altogether.  The goal is to find more hours in the day that will allow you to allocate more hours to sleeping.


#4: Exercise
I’m probably preaching to the choir, but obtaining proper exercise during the day is critical to our health and wellbeing in so many ways. For example, research shows that adults who exercised 35 minutes during the evening hours reported better quality and quantity of sleep than those who did not exercise.


#5: Get the temperature right
Our bodies have an internal thermostat that is linked to our sleep cycles. Have you ever wondered why when your bedroom is too hot or too cold you toss and turn and don’t sleep well? That’s because our bodies self-regulate our internal (core) temperature based on the environmental temperature. Your body is attempting to do it’s natural process of cooling down your body to its core temperature but it’s fighting against the environmental temperature making it harder for you to sleep.

So, what should you do? Create an environment in which the temperature ranges between 75 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your pajamas and bedding help facilitate the optimal temperature. Use a fan, AC, heater, etc. to help achieve the ideal room temperature.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *