5 Natural Sleep Aids To Help You Get To Sleep
According to various studies, over 60 million Americans suffer from poor sleep quality. The problem may not be the actual sleep, but the little disturbances that lead up to it. Not being well-rested can have negative effects on your memory, concentration, and mood. In some cases, it may even increase your risk for various ailments, such as depression, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Thankfully, there are several ways to help you drift into a peaceful slumber, and none of them require you to obtain a doctor’s prescription. Here are five natural sleep aids to help you get to sleep:
#1 A Warm Drink
Before you go to bed, make yourself a cup of warmed milk or chamomile tea. Of those options, warmed milk is said to have beneficial effects on sleep. Some studies show that it may be associated with certain chemicals that simulate the effects of tryptophan on the brain. Tryptophan is the same naturally-occurring amino acid that makes us feel sleepy after eating a huge Thanksgiving plate of turkey. Similarly, chamomile tea can make you feel more sleepy, as it contains flavonoids that interact with specific sleep-wake receptors in the brain.
#2 Physical activity
If you do plan on working out to help you sleep, consider some form of moderate aerobic exercise. Such has been found to boost the amount of deep sleep you get. Some also suggest that physical activity should be avoided within two hours of exercise. That’s because aerobic exercise releases endorphins which help keep people awake. If you feel more energetic after a run, it’s those endorphins working. Aerobic exercise also raises core body temperature, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
#3 Melatonin supplements
Melatonin supplements are an over-the-counter solution for poor sleep. The hormone itself is naturally released in our brains around four hours before we start to feel sleepy. Its release is triggered by the body’s reduced exposure to light, which is why we generally start to feel sleepy at nighttime. If you are taking melatonin supplements, you can help them work better by avoiding looking at your phone, laptop, or TV at night. The less exposure your body has to light sources, the better the melatonin supplements will work.
#4 Cool yourself down
The reason you can’t fall asleep may be because your body temperature is too high. Scientists recommend a thermostat setting of 65 to 72 degrees to help you fall asleep. Such temperatures are perfect for the body to cool itself down and trigger the release of sleep hormones. Additionally, avoid wearing socks and excessive layers to bed—keep your clothing light and consider buying self-cooling pillows and blankets to help you cool down faster.
#5 Make it dark
Some people can’t sleep without a nightlight, but that source of light may be affecting their ability to fall into a deep sleep. The darker the room, the better your body is able to focus on winding down. As mentioned earlier, void any visual disruptions such as your cellphone, laptop or TV. Also, if you wake up for a bathroom break, see if you can make your way to the bathroom with minimal light—it could take up to 30 minutes for you to fall back asleep if you increase your exposure to light, even in that short amount of time.
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