Are you constantly vexed by sleepless nights?
Get in line.
Almost 62% of adult Americans suffer through sleepless nights and related sleep-related problems several nights a week, according to a statement from the National Sleep Foundation.
And it’s no laughing matter. Sleep deprivation affects not just your health and quality of life, but also your fitness, mental health, emotional health, and cognitive health.
Long-term sleep deprivation may result in an increased risk of obesity, changes in mood, memory lapses, mood swings, and difficulty in concentrating. Chronic sleep loss also interferes and enfeebles the body’s natural immune responses, and therefore undermining its natural defenses.
Don’t let the lack of sleep undermine your health—read up on our 10 simple ways to sleep faster, better.
Avoid the light at night
It’s a known fact that light interferes with the body’s capability to sleep. That includes the light from your mobile devices, no matter how dim their lights are. More importantly, your exposure to light regulates melatonin production. Melatonin plays an integral role in managing your body’s internal clock, otherwise known as its circadian rhythms, as well as sleep, and exposure to light controls the hormone levels in the bloodstream.
Avoiding looking at any bright screens around an hour or two before bedtime may help you fall asleep faster. Also consider improving your “sleep hygiene” by switching out your light bulbs or by installing blackout curtains to ensure optimal conditions for high-quality, restful sleep.
Shower in the evening instead of the morning.
If you’re the type that takes a shower the first thing in the morning, you might want to think again. Not because you should forego your hygiene, but because doing showering towards the end of the day or before retiring to bed might help you catch those Z’s much easier. Showering at night allows your body to cool down before sleeping, making it conducive to achieving a better quality of sleep.
Consider trying CBD (cannabidiol) if you can’t sleep.
Cannabidiol, more commonly known by many as CBD, may seem to some of us as just another fad that will be hip today and gone tomorrow. But ignore its potential therapeutic benefits for sleep at your own risk. See, studies have shown that CBD appears to zero in an individual’s endocannabinoid system to identify and fix the problems leading to insomnia, rather than being taken as a relaxant or sedative. CBD may make you feel drowsy and sleepy without any psychoactive effects, such as those associated with its relative, THC—the cannabinoid responsible for the “high.” CBD might help improve your sleep quality without making you feel like slow or crappy the next day.
Get more tryptophan in your diet.
Got milk? Well, you should hope so. Milk contains alpha-lactalbumin, a protein that is loaded with tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid responsible for melatonin production—which, in turn, is the hormone that manages the body’s sleep-wake cycle and induces sleep.
Increasing tryptophan consumption through dietary sources (primarily through milk, for that matter) helps improve sleep by boosting melatonin levels in the bloodstream. A study showed that individuals who consumed tryptophan-fortified cereal for breakfast and dinner saw them fall asleep faster and longer, as opposed to when they were eating regular store-bought cereals. Based on the scientific evidence thus far, it appears that tryptophan-rich diets appear to boost sleep and improves the amino acid’s absorption in the brain.
Engage in stress-reducing activities.
Constant worrying about how much sleep you’ll stand to gain in the 4 hours into a sleepless night will leave you stressed out and anxious rather than rested—leading to an increase in cortisol levels in the bloodstream, otherwise known as the “stress hormone.” Therefore, reducing your stress levels should be a conscious decision.
Consider taking up a new hobby or rediscovering a passion you once had. Explore activities such as yoga or meditation, which help you feel less stressed and anxious, leading to a better chance of getting a good night’s sleep at first ask. Guided mindfulness meditation, for instance, was shown to help boost the quality of
Make your bedroom a conducive place for sleep.
Sleep hygiene once again, people: we can’t emphasize this often enough. If you’ve ever found yourself lying in bed but find it hard to relax and fall asleep, you may be experiencing a state of arousal caused by doing things in your bedroom that have trained your brain to stay awake rather than rest and sleep, such as scrolling through social media, constantly checking every notification or email that comes in, or by watching cat videos on Instagram.
“Going to bed” at a particular time is not the same as “falling asleep” at a particular time—many of us will agree that there are days when we hit the sack early, but don’t fall asleep until over an hour past bedtime.
Therefore, train your brain to associate your bedroom with one thing and one thing only: sleeping.
Your bedroom is a temple and sanctuary for sleep—treat it with respect, turn off all the lights at bedtime, and relax, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. It’s up to you to make your bedroom the ideal sanctum for rest.
Dial-up the A/C a notch (or two).
Cold temperatures can actually contribute to better sleep quality. Cold temperatures have been shown to be conducive to better sleep habits, so consider setting your thermostat a couple of notches or so lower. This will allow the body to regulate its temperature, setting off a sleep-inducing process.
Don’t mess with the routine.
There’s no question that it’s fun to sleep in during the weekend, not to mention wonderful for your body, but going to bed and waking up at different times every day messes up your internal clock like nothing can. It shouldn’t be surprising that the National Sleep Foundation strongly recommends sticking to a set time to wake up and go to bed, which keeps the body’s sleeping patterns consistent. This makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up the next day at the same time. And, if you’ve been doing it for a while, you might find your body automatically doing the waking and sleeping for you—without hardly any assist.