How to sleep better tonight?
How did you sleep last night? If you tossed and turned or awakened feeling unrefreshed, it impacts everything from your workday to your closest relationships.
Sufficient rest is vital to your physical and mental well-being. While everyone’s needs vary, you should improve your habits if you regularly feel unrested and unsettled. Here are five science-based ways to sleep better tonight and enjoy a healthier tomorrow.
Address underlying conditions
If you struggled with sleep for some time, have you considered that an underlying medical condition might play a role? Several disorders can cause insomnia, including the following:
- Sleep apnea: This disorder occurs either due to a blockage in your air passages or your brain sending mixed signals to your breathing muscles. Either way, it can result in broken rest and feeling tired, even when you think you slept a full eight hours.
- Narcolepsy: This rare disorder creates excessive tiredness throughout the day that might cause you to take “micro naps” — an overwhelming need for a short burst of sleep.
- Restless legs syndrome: This disorder causes pins, needles and other unpleasant sensations that create an impulse to move your legs. It often gets worse when you try to rest and can severely disrupt slumber.
- Shift-work disorder: You aren’t alone if you have to get your body used to today’s 24-hour workplace. Blackout curtains and white noise devices can help you get your Zzzs during the busier daytime hours.
- Chronic pain: Chronic pain patients often need rest the most, yet nevertheless find it elusive when they can’t find a comfortable position.
- Anxiety and depression: Worries and cares can have you tossing and turning until dawn. Those with depression often suffer from sleeplessness or, conversely, sleep too much.
Fortunately, you can treat some of these conditions with a doctor’s visit. If you have sleep apnea, for example, your provider can fit you with a device that pushes your lower jaw forward while you slumber, opening your airways so that you can breathe. The right medications can ease chronic pain and help you address anxiety and depression symptoms.
Treatments for sleep apnea range from weight loss surgery and oral appliances such as CPAP masks. (CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.) The use of a CPAP mask with a CPAP machine can be an effective way of restoring near-normal breathing during the night, and many experts consider it the first-line treatment.
Tucker yourself out
People have become more sedentary in recent years, and this shift has affected sleep cycles. Perhaps no one understands the “tucker out” principle better than parents. You know it’s much less problematic to put your little ones down at naptime if they played themselves to exhaustion all morning.
Please adopt a regular exercise program. You don’t have to go hard or go home — seek out gentle activities like walking and swimming if conditions like arthritis create pain with high-impact moves. 30 minutes most days a week does the trick, although you can go up to an hour per day if nighttime restlessness continues to plague you.
Create a bedroom oasis
Are you still keeping electronic devices in your bedroom? If you haven’t created a kitchen or living area charging station for your family yet, please do so. Why?
The blue light from these devices imitates the sun’s wavelength. The effect upsets your circadian rhythms by disrupting the sleep hormone melatonin. Please invest in a standard alarm clock if the temptation to scroll social media when you can’t fall under proves too much.
Go a step further and transform your bedroom into an oasis. Invest in an aromatherapy diffuser — the scent of lavender can help lull you into dreamland. A white-noise machine that plays the sounds of ocean waves or rain on a tin roof can help you sleep if a snoring partner or noisy roommates frequently interrupt your slumber.
Develop a wwind-down routine
People are creatures of habit. Try using sensory cues to tell your body that it’s time to relax, starting 30 to 60 minutes before you retire.
You might decide to indulge in a bubble bath with a good book, letting the warmth of the water relax tense muscles while you escape to a fictional world. Perhaps you calm your physical body with a bit of yoga, followed by a brief meditation to create a peaceful mindset for drifting off into sleep. Pull down the covers, give them a spritz of lavender, dim the lights — make getting ready for bed a ritual.
Try supplements and herbs
Your doctor can prescribe sleep aids, and these might be what you need in some cases. However, you might also be one of many who prefer trying natural, holistic remedies first.
A cup of tea before bed is an excellent part of your wind-down ritual — the act of sipping the warm liquid alone helps induce a calmer state. Why not fill your infusing pot with one of these best herbs for insomnia or try a supplement to help you drift off:
- Valerian: This herb has a longstanding reputation for inducing slumber, but it isn’t a one-shot abortive remedy. It needs to build up in your system to work best – add it to your pot every night.
- Lavender: The herb you use to scent your pillow also works when taken internally as a tea.
- Chamomile: You can find scores of tea brands containing this relaxing herb.
- Melatonin: This substance isn’t a herb. Rather, it’s a supplemental form of the hormone that tells your body to sleep. Although scientists need more data to affirm its efficacy, some studies suggest it helps and many people swear by it.
Sleep better tonight with these 5 tips
A good night’s rest improves your mental and physical well-being and can make every aspect of your life seem better. Sleep better tonight with the five above tips.