3 Hacks Proven to Help You Sleep
Everywhere you look, there’s a book or article about the importance of getting a good night’s rest. Just do a google search and you’ll find millions of resources to help you sleep. Sleep deficiency is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.
Sleep also regulates our mood, learning and memory function. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, emotional and physically exhausted from everyday life, sleep is non-negotiable.
As someone who had insomnia for over 20 years, I know how miserable being tired all the time feels, but there’s hope. More and more studies are finding effective, natural ways to help you sleep. Here are three you can try now:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule
Make an effort to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. When your body’s internal clock, your circadian rhythm, is used to a schedule, it will start to get sleepy at the same time each night. You may notice you’ll start to wake up at the same time each morning, without the need for an alarm clock.
On the weekends, try to keep yourself on the same sleep schedule. If you like staying up on Friday and Saturday nights (hello everyone) and sleeping in on the weekends, this probably sounds lame. But give it a try for a few weeks, collect your own evidence and see if it works for you.
2. Take a hot bath to help you sleep
Taking a bath is relaxing, but it’s also a natural, effective way to help you fall asleep. Our body temperature naturally rises during the day and starts to fall in the afternoon. It’s our bodies way of winding us down and eventually, preparing us to sleep.
60-90 minutes before bed, take a 20-30 minute bath. Your body temp will rise, then cool, triggering the body to know it’s time for bed. Studies have shown this will not only help you sleep but keep you in a deeper sleep.
Be sure you give yourself a full 60-90 minutes before bed. If you take a bath and immediately go to bed, your body will still need that cool down period, and it could disrupt your ability to fall asleep.
3. Avoid Blue Lights
Another way to prepare your body for sleep is to avoid bright, artificial light, from TVs or screens.
Artificial light disrupts our circadian rhythm. The National Sleep Foundation has shown that artificial light causes the suppression of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Light from the blue part of the spectrum (the kind from laptops, tablets, smartphones) is the worst culprit.
Try to avoid devices three hours before bed. If you must use your phone, turn on its night setting. It will switch your screen to a warmer light each evening and automatically reset in the morning.
If you want to watch TV, consider wearing a pair of amber-colored glasses. Some studies have shown that wearing blue-blocking glasses is an effective way to avoid blue light, which allows the production of melatonin to fall asleep.
Good luck, and sweet dreams.
Did these suggestions help you sleep? Have any tried-and-true tips to share? Post them in the comments below.
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