In a rush? You can skip to parts you want!
- Why Does It Matter How Much We Sleep?
- Your Internal Sleep Timer: Hormones And Sleep
- Why Is Rapid Eye Movement So Important?
- How Much Sleep Does One Need?
- Why Sometimes Sleep Medications are not an Alternative for Natural Sleep?
- Sleep Hygiene Habits
- Tactics For Better Quality Sleep
- Does Your Bed And Pillow Position Matter?
Why Does It Matter How Much We Sleep?
Natural sleep remedies are what one seeks when they are tossing and turning or can’t fall asleep fast and don’t necessarily want to take more medications. YEARS of sleep deprivation have made me look into these natural sleep remedies more and more as I get asked what are the best natural alternatives at least almost once a week.
It is vital as sleep disorders may contribute to the development of dementia. Disturbed sleep as early as middle age may increase the risk of dementia. Sleep deprivation as a busy professional alone had me rethink the way I looked at rest!
Poor sleep habits can harm your physical health as well.
When we fall sleep, we are preparing our system for the next challenge of the day.
Long term poor sleep may link to mood disorders, increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
I have found some helpful natural sleep remedies so that you may modify this risk and be much better for wellness by doing something you already know how to do.
In the end, a lack of sleep impacts places such as on the highway with those that fall asleep on the wheel or at work where productivity is subpar and most importantly with those around you that end up not getting the best out of you if you are too sleepy to enjoy life with.
Let’s not wait. Let’s dive right in!
Your Internal Sleep Timer: Hormones And Sleep.
We all have this sleep timer inside of us all it helps us fall asleep fast. This internal clock is what makes us fall asleep naturally. Melatonin is our internal master clock. Biologically, we consume tryptophan an amino acid which converts to 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP) which then becomes serotonin. That serotonin becomes melatonin.
Melatonin is released more when it gets dark. This hormone regulates when you go to sleep and when you wake up. Stress hormones can interfere with this balance and can cause sleep problems.
Why Is Rapid Eye Movement So Important to Fall Asleep Fast?
The most beneficial parts of sleep occur from 10 pm to 2 am. Consider this, most adults miss half of this sleep.
One of the crucial stages of sleep is Rapid Eye Movement (REM). It is when dreams occur. Your muscles are completely relaxed, and your mind and body are regenerating at the highest speed.
How Much Sleep Does One Need?
Why Sometimes Sleep Medications Are Not An Alternative For Natural Sleep Remedies?
The most troubling of these modalities is that time, and time again people end up with a tolerance to the medication they may be used to help them with ways to fall sleep.
In other words, they have a diminution in the body’s response to a drug after continued use. Lack of efficacy of the same drug translates into taking a higher dose for the same potency.
Many times they are wrought with side effects such as headaches, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, trouble concentrating and more.
Sure, they may help in the short term but building healthy sleep habits may make more restful nights sleep for a lifetime.
We will explore natural sleep remedies for falling sleep, including changes in habits, foods and even your bedroom environment to help achieve this easily.
How to Fall Asleep
1. Avoid Naps.
If you need to try taking only 15-20 minutes of power naps. Stay away from naps during the afternoon.
2. Set A Sleep Schedule.
In other words, go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every night including weekends.
3. Avoid Sleeping In.
Replace it with taking a short nap during the morning. Short naps help set your internal clock and doesn’t disturb the sleep-wake cycle rhythm. One gauge is if you wake up naturally you may have had enough sleep if you need an alarm you could use more sleep time.
4. Keep a sleep diary for two weeks.
It helps to track the time you go to bed and get up, wake up from sleep, foods you are taking before bed,and the amount of exercise you have been doing. Keeping records helps you to get the most out of these two weeks to judge if you need to improve or not.
5. Establish A Ritual Before Sleeping.
We are creatures of habit; we like routine. Set a time to relax and let go of the day and the stress. Dr. Breus suggests falling sleep is not an off button but easing off the gas position.
First 20 minutes:
- Do some stretching
- Read one chapter of a book
- Take a Bath (it relaxes the body and the mind)
- Prep for the next day (pack your bag, set out your clothes).
Next 20 minutes:
- Take care of personal hygiene (brush your teeth, moisturize your face).
Last 20 minutes:
- Relax in bed
- Reading with a small, low-wattage book light
- Practicing deep breathing.
6. But What If My Mind Is Racing?
The number one complaint I hear is: ‘ I am tossing and turning and can’t put my mind to rest, or I can’t turn off my mind to fall asleep”. If you tend to bring the day’s thoughts with you to bed write them down before sleeping.
If there are several things on your mind, consider writing down a step by step plan. Taking one or more steps may assuage your mind to calm itself and figure out the rest while sleeping or during the morning.
7. Go To Sleep When You Are Truly Tired.
If you get sleepy before that, set a time to get up off the couch and do something stimulating such as call a friend or do the dishes.
If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, then get out of bed and do some relaxing exercises such as read a chapter in a book or listen to your favorite tunes until you are ready.
8. What To Eat For Deep Sleep Get Your Carbs.
A small number of carbs will make it easier for tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier. Here are some tips for natural sleep remedies with carbs:
- 15 minutes before bedtime you can have some small amount of cereal or half a sandwich or fruit.
- Avoid sugary snacks and sweets, simple carbs just before bed can wake you up feeling hungry and fueling insomnia.
Here Are Some Suggestions For Meals:
- 1 piece of whole grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or turkey
- Banana with one teaspoon of peanut butter
- Whole grain cereal and fat-free milk
- Fruit and low-fat yogurt
Add More Magnesium Foods To Your Diet.
Simply put, that means to consume less processed food and more whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
It has been shown in studies to improve subjective and objective measures of sleep disorders in the elderly and can be a useful aid in the general population.
9. Drinks That May Help Too.
Tart Cherry Juice
In a pilot study, it was shown to increase sleep time and sleep efficiency. It does this via increasing tryptophan and may improve sleep disorders.
Drink Some Chamomile.
Chamomile tea works on the sleep by affecting the central nervous system by a substance called apigenin that binds Gamma-Aminobutric Acid (GABA) and relaxes the muscles.
Sip Some Warm Milk:. You can think of it as your rest routine if nothing else.
The studies are inconclusive on this, but it does produce tryptophan. The warmth of the milk often brings fond memories of my childhood and a easy way to fall back asleep quickly.
10. Cut Caffeine After 2 pm.
Bonus Tactics For How to Fall Asleep Quickly
An article in 2017 discussed the evidence supporting integrative approaches to insomnia treatment including yoga.
Yoga is a system of relaxation, breathing, and exercise with origins from India.
Meditation can improve sleep quality along with mindfulness and healing prayer. It reduces stress and allows a positive space.
3. Breathe Deeply.
It slows breathing as well and reduces stress hormone. Relaxation techniques can be helpful for insomnia.
4. Improve The Feng Shui In Your Bedroom.
This practice is more than decorating; it helps to maximize good energy flow throughout the living spaces.
Here Are Some Tips:
- Keep the bed easily accessible from all sides.
- Allow natural light and open windows when possible.
- Have the bed positioned so that you can see the door to lessen anxiety.
- Clear clutter to reduce stress and the feeling of unfinished business.
5.Make Your Bedroom Your Bedroom
Install F.lux (it is free) on all computers and devices to reduce blue light and help you fall asleep better.
In some people, the nighttime view can hinder melatonin and mimic the feeling of having traveled multiple time zones. The light in the laptop, phone or any device can interfere with the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls sleep). This delays melatonin, so keep the room as dark as you can.
Tips on Improving Your How to Fall Asleep Faster With Your Sleep Environment
- Turn on the White Noise
Sound machines are great to produce low-level soothing noses which drown out the inconsistencies that often may wake people up.
Listen to a soothing song or meditation or a short bedtime story.
6. Exercise Before the End of the day
Even 30 minutes of aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for about 4 hours and during the cool down releases melatonin.
How much do you ask?
One study, published in the journal SLEEP, concluded that people who get 60 minutes of exercise five times per week have more normal REM sleep than those who don’t. But you might not need to sweat it out for quite that long to reap the benefits. Other findings show that insomniacs who engage in thirty-minute spurts of exercise just three or four times a week sleep for nearly an hour longer than sedentary folks and wake up less frequently.
7. Stop Smoking
Many smokers know that smoking is a stimulant and they experience withdrawal at night.
Among the many other reasons to quit smoking a better night sleep is one of the major ones.
Beta blockers and some antidepressants can cause insomnia. Consult your doctor after writing them down.
9.Supplements and Herbs Essential Oils
There is conflicting data around supplements, and essential oils and further studies with double-blind, randomized trials need to be done on these supplements for them to be recommended as one of the natural sleep remedies.
- Valerian is used as a natural sleep aid and thought to work by increasing the amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which helps regulate the action of nerve cells and has a calming effect. Albeit conflicting reports in the studied literature because of its calming effect, it is also extremely popular as a natural anxiety remedy.
- Melatonin enriched foods such as cherries (they have tryptophan that turns into serotonin and becomes melatonin) and bananas (they have potassium, tryptophan, and magnesium) may help to relax the muscles too.
- Use lemon balm as well may promote calmness and relaxation. Caution if taken in large quantities, as it may have the opposite effect and cause anxiety. In a study in 2013 of women going through menopause, it stated valerian/lemon balm might assist in reducing symptoms of sleep disorder.
- Hops are used for beer and also for relaxation and can be used for as sachet to a be left under the pillow.
- Passionflower is thought to be a sleep inducer in rats as per the Sleep Science article in 2017. It is known to help the quality of sleep and anxiety as per the University Health News article.
Lavender essential oil and sleep hygiene were found to help college students with self-reported sleep symptoms to have better quality sleep. I am considering making a sleep sachet of lavender to place under my pillow.
Does Your Bed And Pillow Position Matter in Ways to Fall Asleep Faster?
Try keeping your head and neck aligned and straight, so it doesn’t wake you up at night. A supportive pillow that doesn’t have you flexed at night will help. It will also help if you sleep on your stomach if you didn’t use a pad at all.
Invest in the right mattress as your comfort is worth it.
A weighted down blanket may aid as a natural sleep remedy through altered tactile pressure points, as per the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders from 2015.
Most of us feel sleep is a luxury after a long days work. I hope these sleep remedies make this luxury accessible to everyone.
Did we miss one of your go-to how to fall asleep?
Let us know in the comments below!