Strategies For Getting A Better Night’s Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is crucial to maintaining good health. Poor sleep or sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on your muscles, hormones and brain function. Here are several strategies that sleep experts recommend to help you improve your sleep quality. It also includes foods, herbal and nutritional supplements that promote sleepiness, as well as sleeps aids, and medical cannabis, the best sleep medicine available.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommendation for nighttime sleep for adults is 7-9 hours.
Strategies For Better Sleep
1. Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. While it is possible to catch up on missed sleep by sleeping extra hours on the weekend, it is better to follow this regime.
2. Increase your exposure to natural sunlight during the day. Morning sunlight reinforces your natural circadian rhythms by increasing your serotonin levels. That leads to the increase in production of melatonin, your natural sleep aid, and vitamin D.
3. Optimize your bedroom environment for sleep and spend 30 minutes unwinding in preparation for sleep before getting into bed.
Sleep in a completely dark room which triggers the body’s natural melatonin levels; it puts you to sleep and keeps you asleep.
- Sleep in a completely dark room which triggers the body’s natural melatonin levels; it puts you to sleep and keeps you asleep.
- Make sure there is a safe path to the bathroom if you typically get up during the night.
- Lower the temperature of your bedroom at night. If you are too warm, you will probably have trouble falling asleep. 60-67°F is the recommended range. Your body temperatures changes as you are falling asleep; your core temperature decreases while there is an increase in the temperature of your hands and feet.
- Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow. Too many pillows or too flat a pillow can leave you with neck pain. Too soft or too hard a mattress may interfere with restful sleep.
- Turn off all electronic devices a couple hours before you want to fall asleep; computers, TVs, smartphones. Not only are you stimulated, but the blue light emitted by these devices interferes with your ability to fall asleep.
- Avoid looking at your clock if you awake at night. You may actually want to remove all clocks from your bedroom.
4. Engage in physical activity. However, it is best to exercise earlier in the day so that your body has time to recover and relax.
5. Stop eating at least 2-3 hours before you want to fall asleep. Eating too late in the day, especially late at night, interferes with your ability to fall asleep. Restrict your caffeine intake and stop drinking it early in the day. Avoid drinking liquids, especially alcohol, and using nicotine immediately before you go to bed.
Foods That Promote Sleep
- Cheese which is high in tryptophan
- Fatty fish such as salmon, kippers and mackerel which are high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Cherries/Tart Cherry Juice
Foods To Avoid
- Spicy Foods
Sleep Inducing Nighttime Snack Recipes
- Turkey Roll-Ups: Cream cheese or hard cheese on a piece of turkey with a slice of cucumber. Roll it up and devour it…no bread
- Warm Milk or Cocoa
- Nut Butter Toast: Whole wheat toast with almond butter or peanut butter. Add bananas, if desired
- Cheddar Cheese and Apple Slices
- Whole Grain Cereal and Milk
6. Reduce irregular or long naps during the day. Studies indicate that regular, late, long (two hours or more) naps may diminish nighttime quality of sleep and even result in sleep deprivation. A power nap of 20-30 minutes works well for many people. For some of us, any length of nap interferes with our nighttime sleep.
7. Reduce irregular or long naps during the day. Studies indicate that regular, late, long (two hours or more) naps may diminish nighttime quality of sleep and even result in sleep deprivation. A power nap of 20-30 minutes works well for many people. For some of us, any length of nap interferes with our nighttime sleep.
- Self-Massage and Acupressure Point Therapy
- Relaxing Music
- Hot Bath with Essential Oils
- Deep Breathing. The 4-7-8 Breathing Method promotes calmness, relaxation and reduces stress so that you can fall asleep more easily.
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth
- As you exhale completely through your mouth, make a whoosh sound
- Close your mouth and count to four as you exhale through your nose
- Count to seven as you hold your breath
- Count to eight as you make a whoosh sound after exhaling completely with open mouth
- Repeat entire cycle at least 3 more times
Herbal and Nutritional Supplements
- St. John’s Wort
- Passion Flower Tea
- California Poppy
- Ear Plugs
- Weighted Blanket
- Pulsating Light and Sound Devices
- Blackout Curtains
- Essential Oils in a Diffuser
Visualize Your Happy Place
Imagine a place where you have had a positive experience and return there in your mind. It doesn’t matter when it occurred during your lifetime.
Write Down Your To-Do List
This is one of the best tips. If you are like me, and you have many tasks you need to accomplish within the next day or 3, write them down. Instead of trying to keep your list in your head, you are free to direct your thoughts to pleasant things.
Wait To Go To Sleep Until You Are Truly Tired
If you attempt to go to sleep before you are tired enough, you may end up tossing and turning all night. Tune into your body clock, not the time clock.
More and more people are abandoning harmful sleep prescription drugs and replacing them with medical cannabis. Here is the link to an article I wrote about cannabis and how it affects your sleep patterns.
Please note that the effects of cannabis are unique to each individual based on many factors. Some trial and error is typically required to find what works best for you. The conventional wisdom is that indicas are typically more sedating than are sativas.
healthline.com, 17 Proven Tips To Sleep Better At Night amerisleep.com, End Sleepless Nights With These Natural Insomnia Remedies, MaryGrace Taylor, Sept 30, 2019
healthline.com, 20 Simple Tips That Help You Fall Asleep Quickly, Arlene Semeco, 10/30/17
healthline.com, The 9 Best Foods To Eat Before Bed, Brianna Elliott, Oct. 23, 2017SleepFoundation.org
tuck.com, The Importance of Morning Sunlight for Better Sleep, Amelia Wilson, Dec. 16, 2018