Did you know that a good night’s sleep can be just as good for you as ensuring you have a healthy diet and exercise on a regular basis? In fact, sleeping badly can even undo the good you are doing for yourself. It really is that important.
Yet many of us struggle to sleep well. Whether it’s due to stress, worry, fear, anxiety, pain, because we deliberately stay up too late on social media or watching TV, or even for no discernible reason at all, insomnia is becoming a much bigger issue than ever before.
Some of the issues that a lack of sleep, or simply bad sleep, can cause include:
- Weight gain
- Negative effects on hormone production and balancing
- Poor concentration
- Poor co-ordination
If you want to sleep better and therefore optimize your health and wellness in other areas, here are some useful ideas for you. Try to do as many as you can, and you should find sleep comes more easily. If you still have problems, you should certainly seek medical advice.
Increase Exposure to Bright Light During the Day
Your body is an incredible thing. Within it, there is something called the ‘circadian rhythm’ and this is essentially your body’s own natural clock. The circadian rhythm has an affect on your hormones, as well as your brain and your body in general, and its main function is to tell you when you’re tired and therefore it’s time to sleep, and to help you wake up naturally.
Of course, in the modern day we don’t tend to listen to our circadian rhythm very much. We stay up much later than we should, even when we’re tired (because we don’t want to miss out on anything or we want to get ahead with work, and so on), and we force ourselves awake with alarm clocks.
There is something we can do to help put the circadian rhythm back on track, however. If you increase your exposure to bright light during the day, meaning sunlight or an artificial sunlight replicator, this will help. Firstly, it will give you more energy, meaning you get more tired at bedtime and it should be easier to sleep. Secondly, the sleep you do get should be deeper and more restful. You will also be able to get to sleep more quickly, which will reduce any time you might otherwise have been lying awake worrying.
Reduce Exposure to Blue Light During the Evening
Although exposure to bright light during the day is a good thing as we’ve mentioned above, at night it’s quite the opposite, and will likely cause you to have problems sleeping. This is even more true of blue light, a specific type of light that screens such as your phone, laptop, or TV emit. All bright lights, but blue light especially, make your circadian rhythm believe it is still daytime, and therefore not time for you to go to sleep yet. You will, of course, stay awake much longer than you should do because your body is literally telling you to.
In order to get a better night’s sleep and feel all the benefits that it will bring, you need to reduce your blue light exposure in the evening. If you can’t switch your devices off because you have to keep using them, you can purchase blue light glasses that block this light and will help you somewhat. You can also download apps that block blue light. The best solution, however, is to remove the blue light from your area altogether. This means switching off your phone, tablet, or laptop earlier in the evening, and ideally leaving them in a different room to your bedroom. As for TV, which also emits blue light, never watch it in bed if you’re planning on sleeping well, and try to stop watching altogether at least two hours before you go to bed.
Use Natural Supplements
For some, no matter how good they are about their blue and bright light exposure, sleep can still be a problem, and in these cases, it is most likely down to stress. More people are feeling stressed these days because everyone is busy and there is very little true downtime; people can always reach you and we are always looking at what other people are doing on social media – it’s hard to really unwind in these times.
If you can’t relax enough to get a good night’s sleep and you either can’t get to sleep at a reasonable time in the first place, or you keep waking up during the night (which can lead to serious fatigue) you can try natural supplements to help you. There are various different types you can try, each one used in different ways. CBD oil from cbdnerds.com can be extremely helpful, as can chamomile, peppermint, and lavender among others.
These supplements can be taken in drop or pill form, they can be used in a soothing bath or shower, they can be drunk in tea, and they can even be sprinkled on your pillow or used when you are doing your laundry to make your bed linen smell wonderful and relaxing. You might opt for candles or massage oils that use these supplements too. There are so many different options that something is sure to appeal, and they will all help you relax and get you to sleep more easily.
Be Careful With Caffeine
Caffeine can be beneficial for many people, and having a cup of coffee in the morning (or tea, which also contains caffeine) can improve focus, energy, and make you feel more awake. The problem with caffeine is that we do tend to consume it later in the day as well as in the morning, and that can lead to issues with sleep.
Any caffeine consumed eight hours or less before you intend to go to sleep will still be in your system, and since it is a stimulant, this means your ability to go to sleep and sleep deeply will be diminished. If you do want to have a refreshing cup of coffee on your way home from work, or you like a cup of tea in the evening when watching TV, try to drink decaffeinated varieties instead, as you will sleep much better that way.