Tips for a Sound Night's Sleep
It seems that more and more people are having trouble sleeping. The modern world and our current lifestyles bring with them stress, personal problems, technology and poor nutrition. All of these can disrupt our normal sleep pattern and leave us exhausted for most of the day. Working nights and irregular shift patterns can also disrupt our usual sleep routines. In addition to addressing the underlying issues that are affecting your sleep, why don’t you try the natural remedies below. Before you know it you will be enjoying a great night’s sleep and have bags of energy for the next day!
Listen to relaxing music
Listening to relaxing music before bed can help you get off to sleep. Studies have shown that people who listen to 45 minutes of soft music before going to bed improve their sleeping problems by 35%. The music that works best is soft and slow and has around 60 to 80 beats a minute. It is though that this causes physical changes in your body which promotes sleep. It may slow down the heartbeat and regulate breathing. If you listen on headphones (or earphones) it is even more effective because it will drown out all other sounds in the room which may distract you and stop you from relaxing.
Try several different types of music and find out what works best for you. Try to choose a continuous piece which does not have many breaks in it.
A milky drink before bedtime is a traditional sleep inducer but its properties actually have a basis in science. Dairy products are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals, serotonin and melatonin. Eating a carbohydrate-rich snack may work as well. Try a few oatcakes or a bowl of cereal, an hour before you go to bed and it will stabilise blood sugar levels, raising insulin levels gently. This hormone helps to clear amino acids that compete with tryptophan from the bloodstream, allowing more of this sleep-inducing amino acid to enter the brain. Before you know it you will be fast asleep.
Imagine a relaxing scene
We have all tried to bore ourselves to sleep by counting sheep or counting backwards in multiples of any number! It rarely works and just makes us wound up. Next time you are having problems getting to sleep why don’t you imagine a relaxing scene. It is a lot more effective. Some studies have shown that when people imagine relaxing scenes such as the beach, a massage or a walk in the woods, they get to sleep an average of 20 minutes more quickly. Experiment and find out which scene works best for you.
Concentrating on your breathing can have a similar effect on the body to meditation. It is a very effective way of reducing your heart rate and blocking out all the troubling thoughts that are stopping you from getting to sleep.
A warm bath
Our body temperature drops around two hours before we go to sleep – it is a natural change which triggers our brain to prepare us for going to sleep. You can trigger this drop in temperature by having a warm bath. It will increase your core temperature and then, when it drops again when you get out of the bath, it will make your body relaxed and ready for sleep.
Avoid drinking alcohol
Many people rely on alcohol as a way of relaxing them after a stressful day. However, alcohol before bed can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. Alcohol is metabolised in the liver and takes a couple of hours to be processed by the body. We get poor quality sleep after we have been drinking and wake up feeling tired. It is best to avoid alcohol before bedtime.
Get out of bed
This seems mad but it works! Get up and go into a different room of the house. Forget about trying to get to sleep for a while. Then, when you start to feel sleepy again move back into the bedroom. It usually only takes about 15 or 20 minutes.