Several studies have shown that a good night’s sleep is crucial for a healthy life. But sometimes, falling asleep doesn’t come naturally.
Especially after a day full of stresses at work, home, and social life, we might find ourselves laying in bed with our minds racing out of control.
The good news is that there are ways you can fall asleep naturally – without any medication.
In this article, we will discuss 5 specific things that can help you.
Go to bed around the same time
We are creatures of habit. Habit is good. Especially for our sleep.
Keeping to the same bedtime becomes a cue for our body’s timekeeper, also known as, the circadian rhythm.
Over time, our body will learn to associate that tine with winding down.
That, in turn, helps to accelerate the feeling of sleepiness. Why is this so important?
Sleep begins when we’re awake. Each moment we are awake, there’s the tendency for sleep accumulates.
The pressure to sleep builds with every hour that you are awake. This is in part to a key factor in sleep modulation in humans called sleep homeostasis.
When we are awake, our body’s internal clock combats the tendency to sleep.
And the longer we’re awake, the stronger the drive to sleep becomes. This is one of the dominant jet lag symptoms.
Having a specific time to go to bed becomes a strong signal for your body to succumb to the sleep drive that builds during the day.
Avoid eating right before bed
If you eat a heavy meal right before bed, you’re likely to experience acid reflux, heart pain or general discomfort that will prevent you from sleeping well.
It may also result in a real struggle to digest the food.
This could lead to that situation where undigested food and stomach acid travel back up the esophagus. Not a good feeling.
To fall asleep naturally, make sure you eat at least two hours before your bedtime. This will allow enough time for food to digest and avoid any discomfort.
Exercise during the day
This is perhaps the well-known shortcut if you want to fall asleep naturally.
Researchers at the University of California and Arizona State University found that exercises help to counter the negative effects of restlessness and have a more restful sleep.
Add regular outdoor exercises to your routine. This helps to boosts serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is a precursor of the brain’s signal to wind down.
Telling your brain to wind down is the biggest victory in the quest to fall asleep naturally.
Pay attention to bedroom lighting
To fall asleep naturally, you’ll need to start paying attention to the light around you at bedtime.
Studies have shown that bedroom lighting plays a critical role in feeling sleepy.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endriconlogy & Metabolism, bedroom light exerts a profound suppressive effect on melatonin levels.
Turns out the light tends to shorten the body’s internal representation (clock) of night duration.
Therefore, exposing yourself to bright light could interrupt the body’s sleep mechanism and affect your sleep quality.
The key is to maintain a moderately dark bedroom while you sleep.
If that’s not possible, consider using red rights. Red lights, unlike blue lights, can help influence your circadian rhythm and stave off melatonin.
Keep a cool temperature
Have you ever laid in bed, tossing and turning with sweaty forehead and palms even though you’re not sick? Never a good feeling.
One of the ways you can fall asleep naturally is to have a cool temperature in your bedroom.
The temperature should neither be too cold nor hot and help you relax your mind and body.
Studies show that the body’s temperature naturally drops as a way of winding down for sleep.
This is why sleep experts and neuroscientists recommend you keep your thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit to help accelerate the body’s winding down process.
If you can, set the room temperature to ideal body temperature.
In the summer when it’s too hot, don’t be afraid to open the windows for a few minutes to allow for the free flow of air right before your bedtime.
Listen to relaxing music
The quality of sleep is not just how many hours you sleep.
Sure, that matters. But often, the most important factor in the quality of sleep is whether we indeed rested during the state of sleep.
The lack of sleep quality is why you’ll find people complain that although they sleep for several hours, they wake tired.
More hours doesn’t necessarily equal better rest.
A good rest depends on how well your brain waves slow down and the initial 90 minutes after falling asleep (a stage known as Rapid Eye Movement in the sleep cycle).
Listening to music while sleeping can help facilitate these stages.
Researchers split the participants into two groups: 25 to the music group and the other 25 to a control group.
Participants in the music group listened to soothing music for 45 min at nocturnal sleep time. The control group did not.
It turns out that the group that listened to music significantly increased their rested state during sleep and shortened the time their brain waves shut down.