Sleep deprivation affects our productivity, energy levels and even corrupts our emotional balance. In serious cases, our weight is affected as well. Tossing and turning all night, or sleeping for fewer hours than you need, seriously harms your overall health. Fatigue alone caused over 100,000 automobile crashes in the U.S. Not having enough sleep also inhibits your cognitive reasoning, weakens your immune system, increases anxiety and even increases heart disease.
What you are about to read are natural methods to help you sleep. Even so, not all sleep disorders and difficulties can be managed on your own. In some instances, you may need the help of a sleep doctor.
In order to optimize your sleep quality, training your body’s clock is a necessity. You can do this easiest by setting a “deadline” for falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day. Over time, your body will begin to naturally feel tired at night and, in the morning, wake up without an alarm.
- Pre-sleep Routine
Putting yourself into the “mindset” of falling asleep will, unsurprisingly, help you fall asleep faster – and for longer. By training yourself to transition from alertness to sleepiness, establish a successful pre-sleep routine. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates stated that he enjoys doing dishes each evening and reading an hour before bed.
- Hot Bath or Shower
There are many benefits of hot showers. To name a few: they relax your muscles, lower body tension, reduce anxiety and decongests nasals.
Certified sleep specialist Dr. Dianne Augelli, M.D., said that body temperature plays an important role in telling our body when it’s time to feel sleepy or alert. Therefore, cooling ourselves down tells us it’s time for sleep – indicating that a hot shower earlier in the evening is triggering sleep. Alternatively, try showering an hour and a half before you slip into bed. It is your health we’re dealing with, and only you know how your body feels.
- Update Your Mattress
It’s widely accepted that a seven-year-old mattress must be replaced. However, the quality of your mattress and how you use it over time determines its life expectancy. One trick for making your mattress last is to ensure its “healthiness” by comparing it to newer models every year or so. Tempur-Pedic mattresses are consistently improved each year to make peoples’ lives easier, by molding to our natural curves (which relieves joint pain).
- Fight Drowsiness
While naps during the afternoon are instrumental in improving your life, dozing off after dinner prevents you from falling asleep later at night. This seems obvious but submitting to drowsiness later in the evening hinders your nighttime snooze. To combat drowsiness, prepare your clothes for tomorrow, wash the dishes, or do something mildly stimulating to gently wake you up.
- Avoid Caffeine At All Costs
Another age-old obvious (but largely ignored) method for falling asleep is to avoid caffeine. Everybody in the world knows that a cup of coffee—and other forms of caffeine in chocolate, tea, etc.—is great for keeping you awake. However, many health specialists recommend avoiding all forms of caffeine 4-6 hours before your bedtime. This is crucial in today’s age of information overload.
The effectiveness of these sleeping principles depends on you. By turning these tips into habits, your body and mind will literally rewire itself to “expect” these habits, helping yourself have a more fulfilling sleep. Charles Duhigg’s phenomenal book “The Power of Habit” is an invaluable source of helping you build self-discipline and developing habits that stick with you.