4 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

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Do you struggle with getting a good night’s sleep? Are you frustrated by all the tossing and turning; mind racing and worrying; and groggy, drained mornings and days?  I too struggle with sleep, but I’ve learned a few things that have helped me to get better sleep recently. Hopefully, you’ll be able to benefit from some of these tips and tricks to naturally sleep better, faster, and longer, feeling refreshed and energized when you wake up.

1) Use of Blue Light

In our article, How Important is Sleep for Wellness?, we showed that blue light exposure late at night can disrupt sleep since it actually arouses you much like coffee. So, what I do is 1 hour before bedtime is shut off all electronic devices. No matter what I’m doing, I pause or stop it when that hour is up. I don’t make any exceptions for “just a few more minutes,” because that can cascade into an hour or two for me.  I spend the next 30 minutes journaling and reading, then shut off all room light and meditate. I currently listen to guided meditation that I’ve previously downloaded on a simple iPod (no blue light emission).  There are also special screens or apps that limit blue light exposure, but I have not tried these options because it seems like it would make it easier for me to stay up later and miss out on sleep, anyway.

Conversely, when I wake up in the morning, I seek out blue light as soon as I can and throughout the day, since it boosts mood and alertness. I head out to my balcony right after waking and looking up at the dawn sky, a natural source of blue and red light.

2) Create a relaxed environment

Whenever we go to a spa, massage parlor, or wellness center, we immediately recognize that the space is different. Soft background music, fragrant scents, dim lighting, minimalist decoration, and complimentary tea services all combine to create this environment. What I try and do is to mirror as much as possible this space in your own house in the evenings. This means clean up the bedroom, shutting curtains to block out city light and noise; using candles or incense; and drinking herbal teas, best because they do not contain caffeine to keep you awake and alert. Chamomile and verbena teas are my top recommendations.

3) Evening Exercise

Evening exercise helps me because it gives me an outlet for all the pent-up stress and tension from the day. I finish my workout a few hours before bed. Too late and the adrenaline rushes keep me up at night. Exercising in the evening also gives me a reason to shower at night, which helps lower body temperature and gets us sleepy.

4) Control body temperature

Taking a hot shower helps get me sleepy because when I get out of the shower, the surrounding temperature is lower, which induces my body temperature to lower. This is important since “the human sleep–wake cycle is usually tightly coupled to the circadian time course of core body temperature. The circadian regulation of heat loss in the evening, via distal skin regions, is intimately associated with sleepiness and the ease to fall asleep.” [1] I sometimes combine taking a shower with having air conditioning running to help lower my body temperature even more.

What is your evening routine like? Is it conducive to sleep? What do you find works best to help you sleep at night? Comment below and let us know!

References

[1] Kräuchi, Kurt & Deboer, Tom. (2011). Body temperatures, sleep, and hibernation. 323-334. P. 323..