Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep
The impact of sleep deprivation can affect you instantly, or over time and can raise your risk for chronic health problems.
Getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining your health and well-being. Contrary to belief, sleep is just as important as exercise and nutrition. Developing a natural sleep routine for you or your family is important for short- and long-term health.
Read our 15 tips to sleep better naturally, and start feeling better today!
1. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
If you currently have sleep issues, or you are wanting to optimize your sleep, making it a priority is the first place to start.
Make it a priority to make time to sleep. This means putting up work early, or finishing your Netflix show up tomorrow. The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, but research states the average is seven to nine hours per night.
2. AVOID TECHNOLOGY BEFORE BEDTIME
Avoid or minimize being on your computer, phone, tablet or watching TV, one to two hours before bedtime.
3. TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS
Artificial lights disrupt our bodies natural sleep-wake cycles. When it starts to get dark outside, our brains are triggered to make melatonin, a sleep hormone. Exposure to artificial light (ceiling lights, kitchen lights, light from electronics), decreases melatonin production, making it hard for our body to know when it is time to sleep.
- Close the curtains, blinds, or shades to omit any light.
- Dim, cover, or remove anything that emits light in your bedroom before bed, like alarm clocks.
4. MAKE SURE TO GET SUNLIGHT DURING THE DAY
Getting sunlight during the day, specifically in the morning, is so important in keeping your sleep regulated.
Take a short walk with your dog, partner, or with a podcast/music in your ears.
Physical exercise is one of the most important factors for proper sleep. Pay attention to how sedentary you are throughout the day. How many hours of the day do you sit?
Walk, walk, walk! If you have access, walk in the mornings, in the middle of the day (maybe on your lunch break), and in the evenings before or after dinner.
Lifting weights, going for a run, or working out at the gym is also a great option!
If you have a desk job and are very sedentary, opt for a standing desk, or treadmill desk.
If you feel like you don’t have time to exercise during the day, start with simple practices. Park far away in the parking lot at the grocery store, take the stairs at work or chase your kids around at the playground.
6. ESTABLISH YOUR SLEEP NUTRITION
Some people do well with eating a small dinner and avoiding any snacks before bed (those with digestive issues), whereas other people need a bedtime snack (those with low blood sugar).
Don’t go to bed too full, or too hungry. Find your sweet spot on whether you should avoid food before bed, or have a snack before bed.
It’s also important to cut down on water 2-3 hours before bed, so that you aren’t up going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
7. LIMIT CAFFEINE & ALCOHOL
Caffeine and alcohol can really affect your sleep in a negative way, and are best left out if you do have sleep problems.
If you are a coffee drinker, it is best to quit drinking before 12pm. Drink water the rest of the day, and stay hydrated.
When drinking alcohol, the closer you drink to bedtime, the more impact it will have on your sleep. Stop drinking and switch to hydrating when you feel like you will be getting within a few hours of bedtime.
8. BETTER STRESS MANAGEMENT
Going to bed with anxiety and stress? Have an argument with your spouse right before bed? It is very important to manage your stress before bed. Otherwise, you might find yourself lying awake, staring at the ceiling, instead of sleeping.
- Read a paperback book. Reading an interesting book can help you keep your mind off things you may be stressing over.
- Implement deep breathing, yoga, or meditation before bed.
- Diffuse or roll on some essential oils such as lavender or chamomile
9. SET THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE
Set a cool temperature on the thermostat 2-3 hours before your bedtime. Most people sleep best in a temperature ranging from 65 to 70 degrees.
10. GET COMFORTABLE BEDDING
You aren’t going to sleep well if you have an uncomfortable bed. Invest in some new comfortable bedding if you find yours difficult to get comfortable or fall asleep in.
11. CREATE A RELAXING BEDROOM ENVIRONMENT
Creating stress and distraction-free bedroom is extremely important for a good night’s sleep. Create a room that makes you feel happy and relaxed.
12. WAKE UP & GO TO SLEEP AT CONSISTENT TIMES
Waking up at the same time every day can not only regulate your sleep cycle but also sustain healthy habits.
If you wake up at the same time every day, your body will prompt you to also go to sleep at the same time every night.
Avoid sleeping in even on the weekends, if you want to keep your sleep cycle on track.
13. CUT OUT THE NOISE
Avoid disruptive noises like house creaks, or highway traffic with a sound machine. You can also use a loud bedroom fan, or a relaxing sleep sound app.
14. PRIORITIZE SAFETY
If you don’t feel safe in your house, then you probably won’t be sleeping optimally.
Remembering to lock your house up at night so that you feel safe and secure. For extra safety measures, get a security system. This really helps feeling safe while sleeping.
15. REMOVE TECHNOLOGY FROM THE BEDROOM
Most people are sleeping with their phones either in their beds or right on the nightstand beside them. This interferes with sleep.
Keep your phone out of the bedroom at night, and find a place to charge it outside of the bedroom. If you are going to keep it on your nightstand, or in the bedroom, put the phone on do not disturb mode.