Research has shown that one third of Irish adults have said they feel they don’t get enough sleep. Here are some natural ways that will help you drift off when you can’t switch off and get a good nights sleep.
1. If you can’t fall asleep, get out of bed:
Many people find that they’re mind tends to wander when they go to bed, they worry about things that have been on their mind and when it’s time to unwind, they find it impossible. Try to unwind before going to bed, relax, and try to go to bed when you feel ready to fall asleep. If you find after 20-30 minutes that it is still difficult to fall asleep, get out of bed. Try to occupy yourself until you feel tired and ready for bed, but avoid using laptops or watching television, as the lights emitted from these devices acts a stimulus to the brain. Instead, read a book, drink herbal tea, listen to some relaxing music etc., anything to help you unwind.
According to a recent study, Meditation may be an effective treatment for insomnia. Meditation aims to get past the “thinking” mind and into a calmer, relaxed state of mind. Research has shown that people who meditate tend to sleep for longer than people who don’t, with the quality of sleep better than that of sleep without meditation.
The scent of lavender has been found to have an effect on sleep. Placing a sachet of lavender under your pillow at night, adding a drop of lavender oil to your pillow, or even to a hot bath before bed, can have a huge effect on your ability to fall asleep. Read more about the effects of Lavender here.
4. Drink Herbal Tea
Fruit flavour herbal teas are often developed for their flavour, but herbal teas such as chamomile, thyme, peppermint tea etc, tend to have therapeutic effects. The best herbal tea to drink to help with sleep issues is chamomile tea. It has been found to provide profound relief to people who find it difficult to sleep as the contained apigenin, a phenolic flavonoid, has a tranquilizing effect. This acts as a relaxant in the body helping to promote sleep. These relaxing effects also help to relieve muscle spasms, and often provide some relief for those who suffer from restless legs syndrome.
5. Get moving
Regular exercise can make it easier to fall asleep and also deepen sleep. Research has found that sedentary adults who got exercise 4 times a week improved their sleep quality significantly. However it’s important not to exercise before bed as this may give a boost in energy and make sleeping more difficult.
6. Get enough sleep
Sleep cycles occur in 4 hour patterns; for the first 2 hours, the brain waves begin to gradually slow to a deep sleep, over the next 2 hours the brain waves begin to activate and a lighter sleep phase is begun. During this stage dreams take place. After these 4 hours, the cycle begins again. By waking up after 6 hours, the brain is forced out of a deep sleep, making it more difficult to waken, as well as shorting the deeper rejuvenation phase of sleep. By depriving the body of a good 8 hour sleep you are more likely to be low in energy during the day, and you are more likely to nap.
7. Make yourself comfortable
When sleeping at night, it is important to be comfortable. Any slight discomfort can lead to hours of unnecessary wakefulness.
- Ensure you pyjamas are comfortable and cozy.
- Make sure your bed clothes are clean and fresh.
- Keep yourself warm.
- Make sure your pillows are not too high, as this may create neck strain.
- If your mattress is uncomfortable, invest in a new one that will support your body.