Guide on Promoting Sleep the Natural Way
One of the most basic necessity of a human is rest and sleep. Sleep is supposed to occur to every one of us in a natural and timely manner. But as we go about our daily lives, we begin to notice that we have a harder time sleeping each night.
If you are one of those people who toss and turn restlessly and end up having a bad night because you can’t seem to find your much needed sleep, I hope I can help you solve (or even just alleviate) your dilemma. You do not need expensive medications or go to a sleep doctor to adjust your body for sleep. You can do it the natural way instead. All you need to do is to keep a constant, positive and dedicated attitude towards it.
Start Preparing During the Day
Having a sound sleep starts as soon as you wake up. What we always lack to figure out is that whatever we do during the day will affect us at night. So here are some ideas that you can consider as you go about your daily routine.
- Watch What You Eat and Drink
What you ingest during the day will affect you as you near your sleep time. Keep vigilant of food and drinks that will either prevent or promote a good and easy sleep. Here are some examples of food and drinks to avoid and those that can be eaten to promote sleep.
- The No-Go’s
- Too much water-too much water as you near your sleep will make you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Caffeine-any food or drink that has caffeine content will definitely affect your sleep. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages and food starting at noon time until your ready yourself to sleep.
- Alcohol-Drinking too much alcohol can make your body more “awake” than sleepy. So better take adequate alcohol “nightcap” amount if you do.
- Aged Cheese
- Cured Meat
- These last two food groups, when consumed, will give the byproduct called “norepinephrine” which is the “wake-up” hormone of the body.
- The Good Menu
- Dairy Products
- Whole Wheat Bread
- The combination of these food groups will promote the sleep inducing hormones of the body called “serotonin” and “melatonin”. These hormones can be activated when you ingest food rich in “tryptophan” (dairy products, cheese, nuts and grains) and “complex carbohydrates” (whole wheat bread and crackers).
- Change Your Lifestyle
How you go about your daily routine will have a vital factor that contributes to your sleep deprivation. Slowly diminishing the negative routine will help you promote better sleep. Here are some examples.
- Less “going out” at Night
Like what was stated previously, too much alcohol can give an “awakening effect” as soon as the buzz you feel wears off. Once your body has gotten over the “buzz”, your body will start to feel more active and awake that sleepy.
- No to Nicotine
Similar to caffeine, nicotine is also a stimulant. Some may find this hard to give up so better ask help from experts.
Having a daily exercise routine for even just a few minutes a day can help your body be ready for sleep more effectively.
- Avoid “sleeping-in” even during the weekends
Try your best to resist the urge of “sleeping-in” even if you have the luxury of doing it. Once you give in to this, it will disrupt your sleep at night.
- No to Naps
Similar to “sleeping-in”, having naps during the day will disrupt your night‘s sleep. But if naps are unavoidable, try to make it as short as possible. A few minute to 30 minutes the most are acceptable nap lengths.
- Keep A Diary Handy
Keeping a tab on all your daily activities can keep you in track of the events that you need to adjust and the activities that has helped in the progress of your “night sleep project”. In addition, you can also share your own personal experience to other people who also suffers from sleep deprivation.
Focus on Your Nightly Routine
Now comes the main event, the few hours before your sleep. Having a good and relaxing nightly routine will make or break your sleep for the day. So better take note of these helpful tips to help you have a great pre bedtime regime.
- Eat a light and sleep inducing dinner
Do not eat a heavy meal before going to bed. It will cause your body to “wake-up” rather than to sleep in. In addition, try not to eat dinner too late so that your body can properly digest what you have ingested. Finally, having the above mentioned “good food menu” will add to your sleep promotion.
- Start “Winding Down” at least an hour before you sleep
At least an hour to two before you sleep, you need to “wind down” not only your body but also your mind and emotions. Here are some ideas to help your promote an affective “wind down” routine.
- Write down your “to-do” list for the next day
One thing that keep u up at night is the expectation of what we will be dong the following day. Be it work, errands or other things, it will still bug us as we try to go to sleep. The best thing to do is to make a “to-do” list of all your activities for the next day.
- Take a hot bath
A warm bath relaxes your tense muscle and the same time promotes a soothing effect to your body.
- Do deep breathing, muscle or stretching exercises before lying down
Having a mild yet calming exercise before lying down can further promote relaxation not only to your body but also your mind. Try to figure out wat type of exercise best fits you and your body.
- Add relaxation promoting stimulants in the room
Having additional relaxing stimulants in the bedroom can further “up the ante” of your sleeping journey. Here are some suggestions of sleep stimulants.
- White Sounds or relaxing music
The right background music can do wonders for your sleep. As other people attest to (and researches agree in it) having your bedroom “too quiet” also affects the way you sleep. If your bedroom is so quite that you can “hear a pin drop” it can also add to your sleep deprivation.
Stimulating all your senses, including your sense of smell, will offer you a full body relaxation experience. Preparing your body holistically will increase your chances of having a calmer, soothing, and most importantly, longer sleep.
- Dim or dark light
One of the biggest NO-NO when your go to sleep is to have a bright light open in your bedroom. Even the slightest ray of light will alert your body to “wake-up” without you realizing it. So best to keep your bedroom pitch dark or with just a very dim light the most.
- Make a Set Timeframe for your sleep
When you make a set time for your sleep, you have to make sure you follow it every day, no buts no ifs. Having a set time for your sleep and wake up will eventually tweak your biological time clock to follow it and will, in due time, let your body sleep and wake up on its own without the help of an alarm clock. Here are some reminders to keep in mind when you plan to have a set time for your sleep.
- Set an alarm for Bed
Having an alarm for your bedtime will force you to stop everything you are doing and focus on sleeping. It will also be a good reminder every day to stick to your routine.
- Do not use an alarm as your wake-up call
This may sound hard but using an alarm to wake yourself up is discouraged. Instead, you need to wake up the natural way, without any “forced” disturbance. Having an alarm waking you up will just force your body to “jolt” up and awaken which makes your still sleepy and groggy afterwards. If you are not confident in waking up without the help of an alarm, you can still use it. Just make sure that you will not go to and press the “snooze” button, and wake up with just the first alarm.
- Keep quiet all throughout the night
Just simply remove all other “noise causing” items that is in the bedroom. If you have a noisy neighborhood, try to use earplugs or use headphones and play soothing music as you sleep.
- Do not stress yourself out if you cannot sleep
There will definitely be a time when you still can’t sleep, despite of all the preparation you have made in order to do so. But do not let this dilemma cause you to be stressed and frustrated. Try these simple steps to help you get back to feeling sleepy.
- Get out of bed immediately
If you toss and turn trying to find your “sleep” you will only get irritated and will lead to further sleep deprivation. If you are not able to fall asleep after 15 minutes, stand up and do something else that can further relax you.
- Do other relaxing activities
Try to extend you calming activities. Try to stretch more or even do another round of muscle tensing exercises or simply indulge in deep breathing exercises.
- Do not leave the confides of your bedroom
AS much as you want to, try your best not to leave your bedroom. Once you leave the room, your body will trigger its “wake-up” alarm and think that you will not sleep anymore. Do not break you body’s biological timeclock and stay in your bedroom.
- Do not turn on the light
Like what I have mentioned previously, the slightest ray of light will cause our body in instinctively react to it and wake up. So try to do these additional soothing activities with the same dim or dark atmosphere you have started with.
Consider Other External Assistance
I fully grasp the whole relaxing sleep experience, you also need to be mindful of the other factors that can trigger or help you reach your goal. These are the other external things and additional factors surrounding you and that is within the premises of your bedroom.
- Consider the Hues of your Room
Having the right shade painted on your bedroom walls can definitely help you and your body to relax and enjoy the whole bedroom even more. Choosing the right relaxing colors is different from one person to another. Just make sure you choose a matte finish type of shade. Some examples of relaxing colors are the following:
- Sky Blue
- Pastel Color Shades
- Make Your room sleep friendly
What you have inside your bedroom will definitely affect the way you sleep. So make sure you cancel out all the “sleep depriving” items that you can easily grab while you lie in bed or that can easily bug you as you sleep. Here are some reminders to avoid sleep deficiency.
- Check your Bed
Sometimes, the problem lies within the bed itself. Having an uncomfortable pillow or bed can totally prevent you from sleeping properly. Try to invest in good quality sleeping gears that will benefit you in the long run.
- Keep your room dark
Time and time again, I cannot be more vigilant when it comes to lighting issues when it comes to sleeping. Just the backlight of your cellular phone can prevent you from sleeping so best to avoid any bight light source.
- Keep the room free from any distractions
This tip is probably the “mortal sin” of everyone who has a hard time going to sleep. Having distractions inside the bedroom will tempt you to check these items out instead of focusing on sleeping. These distractions include the following:
- Gaming Gadgets
- Desktop Computers
- Be a “Clock Blocker”
If you are like me who keeps on checking the time and who is very particular with it, then you should avoid looking at the clock. One of the reasons why Insomnia happens is when we are too attached to checking the time that we unknowingly forget to sleep because of our worry about “ironically” having enough “time” for sleep. Remove your clock from your sight and make sure you will not put yourself under a “time pressured” situation and just go with the flow.
- Check your Room Temperature
Having your room too hot or too cold will prevent you from sleeping soundly. So make sure you get the right mix of temperature before you lie down to sleep.
- No Pets allowed
As much as you love your pet, keep a strict rule that a bed if for humans and the bedroom is for people. Having your pet in the room can add to additional trigger factors that can prevent you from sleeping.
- Maintain Your Bedrooms “Sanctity”
Your bedroom should provide you with one job and one job alone, and that is to give you your well-deserved good night’s sleep. It is also your responsibility to keep it that way. Here are some important reminders to help you keep your bedroom’s role its top priority.
- No Work in the bedroom
As busy as you are, you should never bring your work to bed. We all know where this will lead. Yes, late night pondering on your backlogs and eventually will lead Insomnia.
- Use bedroom for Sleep
Use the bedroom for sleep, and nothing else. It is not an entertainment center or a work desk. Keep it that way, all the time.
- Use your bed for rest, sleep and sex
Like the bedroom, your bed also has three major functions. That is to sleep in, to rest in and, for couples, to be intimate with each other. Your bed is not a dining table or a play area so don’t use it for any other purposes except for the three mentioned.
Making a change in your sleep pattern is easy to do if you are totally committed to it and religiously following it ever waking day you have. Of course, do not expect it to happen all in one day or with just a snap of your fingers. Keep in mind that we are doing this the “all natural” way to make our transition as safe, natural and acceptable to our bodies as possible. I am not fond of using medicated measures like sleeping pills because even if it does promote sleep, it will have its side effects in the long run and promotes drug dependence as you prolong your use of it.
It takes time for your body to cope with the new change, so be patient as well. Finally, you need to keep a positive outlook and a relaxed state of mind and body each time you get ready to sleep. Remember, having adequate sleep is as important as eating regularly so do not take sleeping for granted.