A good night’s sleep is crucial to normal brain function. Melatonin and serotonin are the two hormones responsible for putting our bodies to sleep. There are several techniques and even foods that help induce their production and improve the quality and quantity of our sleep.
Do not skimp on a comfortable mattress, pillow, and duvet. We spend a lot of time sleeping. It matters if we are doing it comfortably. Get some nice linens too – it is said that silk pillowcases are the best for the skin. Unlike cotton or firmer fabrics, silk doesn’t pull on your skin and helps prevent early onset wrinkles.
Try using a lavender pillow spray or some candles. The fragrance is known to have a calming effect and helps you fall asleep faster.
The correct temperature to sleep in is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for babies and young kids.
Remove anything that could irritate you – blinking lights, humming gadgets, LEDs. If the street outside the window is lit up, consider installing blinds or curtains. A great way to cancel out any outside noises or lights without breaking the bank is a pair of earplugs or an eye mask. Making sure to turn your phone off and avoid staring into it directly before bed will also help you to achieve less disturbed sleep.
If you live in a cold and dry climate, consider getting a humidifier. Among many things, it improves sleep by making the environment feel warmer and comfortable. Winter air can be very harsh on our bodies. The air is often dried out by heating systems and can lead to flaky skin and even nosebleeds. A humidifier will make the air gentler.
It is advisable to go to bed at the same time every night. If you can create a consistent sleep schedule your body clock will soon set into a natural rhythm. Try to stick to the pattern even on the weekends. Sleeping in on Sunday will make Monday morning a lot harder!
Feeling clean will help you relax before bed. A soothing bath or a hot shower will leave you feeling sleepy and calm. If you don’t have the time, washing your face after a long day will do the trick as well as preventing breakouts and potential eye infections.
The first rule, stay away from caffeine. Try to taper off caffeine from the early afternoon. A more appropriate bedtime drink is warm milk.
Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which our brain turns into serotonin and melatonin both important sleep hormones. However, in order for tryptophan to get to the brain, the glucose levels in the blood have to be regular, so it may not work every time. Other foods high in tryptophan are turkey, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese. If you are looking for a vegetarian or vegan option, try nuts and almond milk. It’s not advisable to have a big meal right before bed, in small doses these combinations should make you drowsy.
It has been found that tart cherry (juice) in your diet can have a positive effect on sleep. Warm herbal tea like chamomile tea or lemon balm tea has a soothing effect on the stomach. If you feel that upset stomach is compromising your sleep, try not to eat before bed and have a cup of tea instead.
Bananas and coconut water are packed with potassium and magnesium that help relax muscles and lull you to sleep. Finally, valerian root extract, which comes in many different forms, is an old remedy for the sleepless. Try using it as a supplement and take it regularly before bedtime.
Try doing some light exercises like yoga. Have a look at Yoga For Bedtime by Adriene. Having a massage or stretching your body can assist in better sleep habits. It’s proven that relaxed muscles help in falling asleep faster. Reading a book or taking a bath can also be a part of your relaxation ritual. Listen to the ocean sounds or ambient music. Meditating once you’re lying in bed will help your mind relax as well as your body. Guided sleep meditation will cut down the time you spend tossing and turning or binging a T.V. show in bed.
Exhale completely through your mouth. Make sure to make a whoosh sound. Close your mouth, and inhale through the nose for four counts, then hold your breath for seven counts and finally exhale through your mouth for eight. Breathing will fill up the brain with oxygen and naturally sedate you.
Turn the devices off and do not use them at least an hour before sleep. Reduce blue light exposure. It not only impairs eyesight but also negatively affects the production of melatonin. Latest generation devices have a feature that controls the amount of the blue light the screen emits, take advantage of it.
Make sure you’ve completed all the tasks of the day before bed. You don’t want to be haunted by stresses of the day before bed.
Create a little destress routine. This could involve washing your face, brushing the teeth, taking a bubble bath, turning off the lights or locking the doors. Feeling clean and safe will help you relax.