Finding natural ways to get better sleep without medication is important because almost everyone has trouble sleeping at some point in their life.
There’s a lot of focus on the amount of sleep (# of hours per night) we get but what about the constitution of that sleep? In terms of sleep, it is not just the quantity of sleep but also the quality. The age old question of, “How many hours are you sleeping at night?” is likely not as indicative as, “How well do you sleep at night?”
Thousands knowingly suffer from insomnia but perhaps just as problematic is the less overt “poor sleeper” whose health is negatively impacted by poor sleep without their knowledge. In fact, upwards of 70 million Americans (29% of our adult population) suffer from a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality.We’ve documented the overmedication of Americans and sleep aids are no exception as 9 million Americans (4% of US adult population) use prescription sleep medication despite the inherent risks.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are several natural ways to get better sleep without medication:
Natural Ways to Get Better Sleep Without Medication
1. Create Absolute Darkness in your room
A recent study showed that event he subtle light of a laser pointer disrupted the sleep of the survey participants. Light disturbs the body’s production of melatonin which is a sleep regulating hormone that your body naturally produces. Sanjeev Kothare, M.D., director of the pediatric sleep program at NYU Langone Medical Center calls melatonin, “the hormone of the dark” because the body produces late in the day as it gets darker in your environment. By exposing your body to light in the form of TV, cell phones, etc., you are confusing your body’s natural daily cyclical functioning by not allowing it to produce the proper amount of melatonin. So ditch night light and if you insist on having your cell phone in your room, keep it face down so that it does not emit light during the night.
2. Restorative Yoga Poses or Meditation Before Bed
Standing forward bend, Seated forward bend, Happy Baby, and Seated Twists are just a few of the dozens of helpful yoga poses that can be practiced before bed. Studies have shown that those who practice yoga and/or meditation get more sleep and better quality sleep. Do a few restorative poses to induce relaxation and to calm your central nervous system.
3. Drink Herbal Tea
In the US, Chamomile Tea is the most well known tea. It works. Peppermint, Spearmint, Licorice Root are also good for promoting restful sleep. Yogi Tea makes a good, natural, non GMO blend for sleep induction.
4. Make Sure Your Sleeping Environment is as Silent as Possible
Sleeping with a television should be avoided. By sleeping with the TV on, the quality of your rest is compromised. Your brain is subconsciously attempting to interpret the chatter of the TV show and hundreds of commercials that you’re exposing it to. It’s no wonder that even if those who fall asleep with the TV get the same # of hours of sleep, they don’t experience the same quality of sleep.
5. Deep Exhales
Inhale through your nose for a count of 3 seconds. Exhale through your nose for a count of 6 seconds. Doubling the amount of time on the exhales has been proven to decrease stress and help with relaxation.
6. Keep the Room Cold
You know that feeling in the morning when you don’t want to get out of bed because your room is cold and your bed is warm? Recreate this every night. If you’re able to control the temperature in your room, keep the temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 21 degrees Celsius. Can you ever recall getting a good night sleep while you were sweating or the temperature was too hot? Me either.
7. Put the cell phone and computer away at least one hour before bed
One of the best practices for getting quality sleep is to put your cell phone in airplane mode before going to sleep. Checking the barrage of incoming messages and advertisements on your cell phone right before bed can cause stress and decrease relaxation. Make sure to totally “shut it down” before you hit the sack 😉 Instead of looking on Facebook or texting, you might take 10 minutes to journal, pray, or reflect on the beautiful things in your life.