Do you just envy those people who seem to have no problem drifting off almost as soon as their head hits the pillow? There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning for hours on end, eventually falling into a deep sleep about an hour before your alarm wakes you up leaving you totally frustrated. Personally, if I’ve had just one bad night I’m absolutely like a bear with a sore head! Studies undertaken reveal as many as 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 varieties of sleep disorders with 60 percent of adults reporting problems sleeping two or three nights a week, most of which go undiagnosed or untreated.
It’s vitally important to get the correct amount of rest, and it’s advised that adults should be having 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Missing out on one or two nights will leave you irritable and affect your ability to focus, if this goes on for longer your concentration levels become much worse, increasing your risk of accidents at home, in the workplace and on the road, and a continuous lack of sleep could seriously affect your health, giving rise to negative health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
If you’re currently feeling physically and mentally exhausted and desperately seeking ways to swiftly drift off into that deep long-lasting slumber you may find some of the following tips helpful.
Your internal body clock plays an important role in your overall health and wellbeing, when it’s out of synchronization it can be the cause of serious sleeping problems. Try not to vary your bedtime routine too much and stick to a consistent sleeping and waking schedule.
Exercise boosts the production of serotonin and decreases levels of cortisol in the brain, which in turn will increase the length and quality of your sleep. Physical activity in the morning rather than later in the day has shown to be much more beneficial for sleep.
DAYLIGHT AND DARKNESS
Light also influences your internal body clock, getting enough natural light, especially early in the day is very important, try introducing a morning walk into your daily routine. Darkness promotes tiredness and increases the production of melatonin a hormone essential for sleep, making your bedroom dark with blackout curtains or a blind could help.
When you lie down to rest your body begins to cool down, check the temperature of your room, if it’s too high it could be preventing you from falling asleep. Taking a hot bath or shower before bed can be helpful by speeding up your body’s temperature changes, when your body begins to cool afterwards it signals your brain to sleep. Evidence has shown that adults who bathe or shower at temperatures between 104 °F–108.5 °F (40.0 °C–42.5 °C) 1 to 2 hours prior to going to bed benefit from improved sleep.
Be careful what you eat in the hours before you go to bed. Studies have shown that a diet high in carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and breads will help you to drop off quickly, but you’re not likely to have a long-lasting restful night. Foods containing a high fat content will send you into a deeper much lengthier sleep, try eating foods or snacks high in healthy fat such as fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, eggs and dark chocolate. Try switching to a Paleo Diet, you may find this helps promote sleep in addition to lowering your body’s level of inflammation. To learn a bit more about how a Paleo Diet could lower your inflammation and cholesterol click here.
Try listening to some relaxing music when you hit the hay, as studies have shown that doing so promotes a deeper, more restful nights sleep.
This may sound obvious, but comfort is everything when it comes to getting that much-needed sleep and your mattress and bedding play an important role.
It’s also been proven in studies that a medium-firm mattress will help with sleep disturbance and muscle discomfort. Try to choose good quality bedding and pillows and make sure your choice of nightwear will keep you at the right temperature during the night.
REDUCE STRESS LEVELS
Studies show that 43 percent of people aged 13–64 have reported lying awake at night due to stress at least once in the past month. Relaxation and meditation 30 minutes before going to bed can help to reduce stress levels and promote of good night’s sleep.
It may be difficult to break the habit, but, taking regular naps during the day often leads to poor quality of night-time sleep. Try not to sleep during the afternoons, and limit your morning naps to no longer than 30 minutes.
If you’ve simply tried every tip and trick in the book and you’re still not having any joy then it may be time to seek the help of your health professional to find the specific cause or rule out any medical condition that could be treated before having to think about the need for prescription pills, especially if you are suffering from stress. Stress and lack of sleep together if left untreated can lead to long term problems. Your doctor can advise on how and when to safely take any sleeping tablets should they be required as a last resort.