How you feel during the day is a big clue as to how you are really sleeping at night. Do you feel like you have enough energy to get you through your day? If the answer is no, then keep reading because I have a few things you can do to help you greatly increase your quality of life through better sleep.
How to Sleep Better Naturally
by Whitney J
1. Increased Exposure to the Sun
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production is controlled by light exposure. Your brain should secrete more in the evening, when it’s dark, to make you sleepy, and less during the day when it’s light and you want to stay awake and alert. However, many aspects of modern life can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin, and with it, your sleep-wake cycle. (source)
Spending long days in an office away from natural light, for example, can impact your daytime wakefulness and make your brain sleepy. Then, bright lights at night—especially from hours spent in front of the TV or computer screen—can suppress your body’s production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep. However, there are ways for you to naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle, boost your body’s production of melatonin, and keep your brain on a healthy schedule… read on!
2. Develop a Bedtime Ritual
For me, this looks like taking a warm bath, reading, and drinking a hot cup of tea! (decaf) Find out what works for you! Maybe it’s listening to soft music, making preparations for the next day, favorite hobby, etc.
3. Limit What You Eat
Always try to have a light dinner as opposed to a huge dinner, as you cannot sleep as peacefully when your body is hard at work digesting food. Also, try to limit your fluid intake so you don’t have to get up to pee a million times. NO CAFFEINE AFTER 3:00pm for obvious reasons.
Tips for grazers:
If you’re hungry at bedtime like me, sometimes a light snack can help promote more sound sleep. When you pair foods containing tryptophan with carbohydrates, it may help calm the brain and allow you to sleep better. Experiment with foods to see which ones help you sleep better. I like half a turkey sandwich, banana and cereal or a smoothie. Yum. Oh great…now I am hungry. 😉
4. Magnesium and Calcium
Magnesium and Calcium are both sleep boosters, and when taken together, they become even more effective. William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.” (source)
Lavender has been proven to aid in relaxation and as a sleep aid. You can put lavender essential oil on your pillow, rub it on your temples and body, or get a lavender filled pillow! (or all of the above, haha!)
So cheers to sleeping better naturally!