How to Get a Better Night Sleep Naturally
Insomnia remains the most common sleep disorder, affecting some 30% of adults. Chronic insomnia has a number pegged at 10% – and that could be climbing with the rate at which more cases are coming in. That, and we have not even talked about other sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, snoring, and the likes.
Suffering from any of these can lead you to take many pills and try non-natural treatments that do not work. Even if they worked, it is with some side effects, and the results might be temporal. Not to talk about the dependency from any such non-natural methods of treatment.
Today, we expose a series of natural approaches to getting a better, rejuvenating night sleep.
Food for Good Sleep
Sleep can be influenced by a series of chemicals (naturally occurring), enzymes, and hormones. Some of such are, but not limited to:
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins
- Copper, etc.
While many food items contain these substances, they are not in enough quantities that can impact your sleep. That is why we focus on those foods that help you sleep through the night on account of containing substantial amounts of the substances above and others that we did not even mention here.
Almonds are known for their high concentration of melatonin. This hormone is responsible for the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.
The best thing about almonds is that they also come with magnesium and calcium on the side. Although not in the same concentration as the hormone above, these compounds are also instrumental to a good night’s sleep.
When not considering almonds as one of the foods that help you sleep, they are appreciated for their low sugar and unsaturated fats, making them an excellent snack for the evening.
Kiwi is one of the powerhouses for sleep. A single serving of the fruit contains melatonin, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, flavonoids, and carotenoids. ALL of these are significant compounds that promote good sleep.
The efficiency of kiwi for sleep is backed by a human study where participants saw improvements in their sleep cycles after introducing kiwi to their evening diets.
Fishes are great for the protein and the fatty acids (omega 3) and vitamin D in them. These have a direct impact on serotonin, another hormone important in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Thus, it is little wonder how eating more of these could have a direct impact on the quality of the sleep you are getting.
The picks of foods to help sleep are not complete without lettuce, and lettuce oil too. The plant contains traces of the n-butanol compound, which is known to have a mild sedative effect.
Besides the fact that this compound can help to promote better and longer sleep, it also contributes to reducing the time that it takes to fall asleep in the first place.
We are not all about the plants and fruits here. You can spice up your sleep platter with a serving of turkey too.
If you have ever noticed that you get a filling/tired feel after eating some turkey, that is because it contains proteins that stimulate the release of melatonin. If you have been following from above, you will know that this hormone is also an essential part of foods that help you sleep better.
Best Thing to Drink Before Bed
After having your fill of the best foods that improve your sleep, you should wash that down with some drinks that will help better your chances at a good night’s rest also.
Of all the drinks out there, what can you possibly take to boost your chances of sleeping better? Tea remains the top pick on this list.
Ancient Chinese and Western medicine has adopted the use of various kinds of teas to address varying conditions. One such is the lack of sleep – and we have found out that it works till today.
Making conventional tea has the effect of getting you tired and increasing your chances of falling asleep. For the very best results, though, we have curated some of the best tea that helps you sleep faster and better.
Every serving of chamomile tea delivers an antioxidant called apigenin, which provides a therapeutic and tranquilizing effect to the drinker. This antioxidant binds with specific receptors on the brain to decrease the feeling of anxiety for more calm. That way, it can also induce sleep.
These thoughts are not based on sentiments, either.
A nursing home study found that patients who were served chamomile tea as part of their daily meals got significantly better sleep than the others who weren’t.
Lavender is a fan favourite for many things, and we are happy to note that sleep is one of those things.
A study of postnatal women in Taiwan showed that those who smelled the lavender fragrance and drank the tea were more relaxed and calmer than the other women who didn’t. The former group also enjoyed less fatigue than their counterparts – although there were no serious correlations to their sleep patterns.
Another study, however, confirmed that sleep was improved in women with insomnia who consumed lavender tea.
Unlike most other plant-based teas, Lavender tea is not made from all parts of the plants or its grown leaves. Here, the buds of the flowering plants are plucked to make the tea.
When dried, the leaves of lemon balm also make excellent tea.
But excellent tea is not what we are here for, but tea for good sleep. That leads us to a study where lemon balms increased the GABA levels in mice, indicating a sedative effect from the plant. A survey with contestable results also establishes how lemon balm extracts helped better insomniac patients’ conditions after just 15 days of daily usage.
Light Does Affect Your Sleep
The reason why we sleep in the evenings/night is not that someone, somewhere, deemed it so. It is also not only because we go out to work in the day and come back in the evenings.
It could be argued that this is an age-long evolutionary trait that has been passed on from ancestors who hunt and gather in the day to retire for rest at night.
It could also be attributed to the fact that humans, unlike certain animals, do not have an excellent sight at night. Thus, we retire to rest so that we are at our best at the hours when our senses are most heightened.
In all of that, though, we should consider ‘light’ also.
Sleeping in the evenings is aided by the fact that the natural light source – from the sun – is out already. However, human-made light now abounds today. This can be the greatest undoing to an otherwise excellent sleeping pattern/habit.
A behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, Dr. Wendy Troxel, confirms that ‘light, especially at night, can disrupt our internal biological clock.’
This is because your body has associated illumination times with day time, and only dark times as night time. When you still see a lot of light around, your body can decide not to shut off so that you can stay active for the ‘day.’
Battling the problem that light presents can be challenging, depending on where you live.
Those that reside in areas with street lights, bright digital billboards, clubs/ bars/ other nightlife establishments, for example, can have serious problems sleeping. All the extra light streaming in from those places can impact your chance of having a great night’s sleep.
Some of the best ways to combat such are to:
- Invest in quality window blinds to block out the light
- Change the position of your bed.
- Invest in a quality sleep mask to keep the lights out.
When buying a sleep mask, make sure you find one that is made for you. This means being aware of the shape, size, weight, and material of make.
Likewise, internal light plays a massive role in your sleep also.
Some people like to sleep with the lights on, but not too much light either. Traditional lighting options (lamps and bulbs) only have one setting that allows you to switch them on or off. This creates a dilemma between being able to sleep early enough while still having enough lighting that you are not in the dark.
If that sounds like you, it is time to get a sleep lamp that works for you.
These creations are designed to allow you to dim the light to your preferred tone so that you get just the right level of lighting. They are also functional enough, given their alarm clock functions, sunrise and sunset simulation, sleep aid digital clock, and more. Well, the best ones anyway.
Environmental Noise and Sleep Disturbances
A study on sleep science confirms that environmental noises are a significant source of sleep disturbances. Transportation noises were also identified as one of the most serious, if not the most serious, noise sources in this category.
Sleep disturbances due to environmental noise can come in two ways.
Some people cannot sleep in a noisy environment at all. This category represents most people who will preferably have silence instead of the noise around them when they are about to hit the hay.
On the other hand, we have the ‘lucky’ few who can fall asleep despite the noise around them. The only problem is that they are not as lucky as they might think, or as we have made them out to be.
Even during sleep, the brain can register and record the sounds and noises around the body. These sounds will affect the blood pressure and heart rate, among other things. Thus, such people wake up feeling less rested than they should have been.
In both cases, the sleep disorder victims do not get as much quality of sleep as they should.
Besides, sleeping in a noisy environment also leads to early waking times. These could feel like a natural wake-up process, only to discover that you cannot go back to sleep anymore.
At other times, the waking up could be caused by a sudden loud sound. In that case, the patient wakes up with a jolt, leading to shock, sweat, extreme headache, migraines, and anxiety, among others.
Fall Asleep Easily with a White Noise Machine
Some of the best advice for combating this problem is:
- Getting quality soundproofing for your place.
- Moving to a less busy environment/area.
- Investing in a white noise machine for sleep.
- Wear sleep earplugs to bed.
- Shift your bed away from thin walls and windows.
- Turn off all the electronics in your home before sleeping.
Block Unwanted Noises for a Peaceful Night Sleep
Note that some noises cannot be avoided altogether. When that happens, the case becomes managing the situation better so that it doesn’t have that much of an impact on your sleep. That is where a sleep sound machine and/earplugs come into the mix.
If you can change your environment, though, that would be the best thing overall. After all, getting insufficient sleep consistently can lead to other long-term problems for you.
Your Room Doesn’t Have a Calming Scent
There are five primary senses associated with the human body: touch, smell, taste, hearing, and sight.
Of all these, we have already touched on how sight can impact sleep. That is where light comes in – and you know how to regulate that already.
We have also seen how hearing can impact the quality of sleep you are getting. After all, environmental noises play a considerable role, as has already been discussed above. In the same vein, touch is linked to the comfort that your body gets – as registered by your skin.
One of the senses that gets overlooked quite a lot when it comes to sleep is smell.
The sense of smell might not be responsible for waking you up from sleep. However, it can prevent you from getting quality sleep or any sleep at all. This is why you will find it hard to sleep in a foul-smelling environment.
That is just one example, though.
Our sense of smell is not only opposed to intense, foul-smelling environments. Your nose can pick up hundreds and thousands of scents that you might not even know about. These sensors in your nose are working overtime with the brain to interpret those scents – and they can keep you from falling asleep fast enough, staying asleep, or sleeping at all.
Fortunately, you can do something about that too. In one word: aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy relies on essential oils extracted from certain plants/ flowers/ herbs for different purposes. One of the benefits that aromatherapy holds is calming the human body and mind, reducing anxiety, and overall promoting good sleep.
Not all essential oils are great for promoting sleep, though. Some of the tried and tested oils include:
- Lavender – lavender is known for its wonderful fragrance, but it does more than making the room smell pleasant. It has also been researched to enhance calmness via its soothing and sedative effects. The right concentration of the essential oil can help promote better sleep.
- Chamomile – chamomile also finds excellent applications in perfumes, soaps, and lotions. It is most revered for its soothing and calming effects.
- Geranium – the essential oil of geranium has a smell similar to roses. It is equally soothing and calming.
For the best effects, it is not enough that you get essential oils to help sleep alone. Pick up an aromatherapy diffuser for sleep to ensure an even and better distribution of the scent around your sleeping space.
The best thing about essential oils is that they smell nice too. Thus, you will be getting the double advantage of a scented apartment, making you better relaxed and calm for better sleep.
A Snoring Partner
Like environmental noises that we discussed above, a snoring partner can also make it difficult to sleep well.
The problem here is that they seem to be sleeping well while depriving you of the chance to enjoy your sleep also.
However, that should not open up the room for blames.
You are the victim of getting inadequate sleep here but also understand that your partner has no power over their snoring when already asleep. That does not mean that they cannot manage the situation either.
If you are in this position, you should:
- Talk with your partner – let them know about their snoring problems and how it affects your sleep cycle. Let them also see the negative impacts of snoring on their own lives.
- Get help – you can see a doctor about a snoring problem. More often than not, snoring is a sign of an underlying issue or problem. This way, you can get rid of two issues at once.
- Sleep separately – while supporting your partner through these times, there are times when you need your quality sleep. Maybe you’ve got a long day the next day, an important presentation at work, etc. It is okay to sleep separately to ensure you get the best sleep.
Snoring has been recognized in plenty of quarters as a serious problem. It is, thus, understandable that there are a lot of products claiming to eliminate snoring overnight. We don’t subscribe to such schools of thought.
That said, there are also great products that can help you/your partner manage snoring problems while seeing a professional. You will achieve faster success in eliminating the entire situation that way.
A handful of helpful products are:
- Anti-snoring nose clips – the anti-snoring nose clip comes with magnets that help open the nasal cavity to prevent snoring. This magnetic nose clip for snoring is also designed to conform with the human nose anatomy, eliminating discomfort from wearing them to bed.
Ease Your Snoring with a Anti Snoring Nose Clip
- Anti-snoring chin strap – most loud snorers do so via the mouths too. Conversely, the snoring can be reduced/eliminated if the mouth is kept closed during sleep. This is where a comfortable chin strap for snoring comes into the mix—holding the jaw in place to prevent mouth opening at night, little to no sound escapes, thereby keeping snoring at bay.
Reduce Your Snoring with a Anti Snoring Chin Strap
- Anti-snoring acupressure ring – the Asians devised acupuncture medicine. This practice allows the treatment of health issues by focusing on the nerves leading to the problem’s site, not the site itself. This is the same principle that an anti-snoring acupressure ring works on.
Acupressure Ring Control Your Snoring and Help Your Partner Sleep Better
- Sleep earplugs – noise-canceling earplugs for sleeping are more for the benefits of the non-snoring partner. Using these earplugs for sleep to bed will block out all the snoring noises, leaving you in a world of your own to sleep better. They are also designed to fit and stay comfortable in the ear even while asleep, eliminating the chances of injury or falling off.
Noise Cancelling Sleep Earplugs Blocks Unwanted Snoring Noise
- Sleep sound machine – we recommended a white noise machine to help you sleep better in a noisy environment above. Fortunately, you can also use white noise to drown out snoring. The device is also highly portable so that you can move it around with you.
Drown Out Snoring Noise with a White Noise Sleep Sound Machine
Speaking of the human senses that impact sleep, we did mention touch.
One way our bodies can respond to touch, as regards sleep, is via the room temperature.
Scientists have found that it is almost impossible to sleep when the room temperature is either too hot or too cold. The body naturally desires an ideal climate for sleep to happen. If that temperature can be achieved, sleep latency is reduced, and the rest is also of more quality.
So, what is this ideal temperature? Anywhere between 60 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
A hot room affects your sleep cycle more than a cold room. Hot environments are generally not suitable for us, explaining technology’s advancement to better air conditioning in our homes and offices.
If you manage to fall asleep in a hot environment, there will be little to no quality throughout the sleeping time. Constant twitching, rolling, and shifting will dominate the sleeping time. The body will naturally be seeking cooler places at intervals, informing the rolls around the bed space.
Colder environments do not have the same effect.
The body can still tolerate such conditions unless there are no beddings or coverings for you to sleep with. Even then, though, your sleep cycle might not be affected in any way.
However, cold environments will increase the sleep latency – or the period that it takes you to fall asleep. If you also get too cold during sleep, it could have adverse effects on your health. For example, your body altering its natural cardiac automatic response concerning the prevalent temperature.
Invest in a quality thermostat to keep an eye on your room temperature. Set the thermostat within the recommended range for a ‘cool’ room, and you will find it easier to sleep.
If living in frigid climes, invest in beddings and cover materials to keep you warm against the temperatures outside. If the reverse is the case, make sure your room is well aerated while investing in air conditioning too.
Sleep is Vital for Your Health
Many things go into falling asleep, getting there fast, and sleeping well through the night also. Considering only one while neglecting the others won’t do you much good.
Taking a holistic view of sleep, as we have done above, gives you a better shot at always sleeping well.
Start identifying the causes of your low sleep cycles and habits today. Eliminate what you can and make efforts to incorporate other best practices. With better sleep, you will always wake up the best version of yourself.