Here are 10 Natural Ways to help you sleep better

Most of us have experienced a sleepless, restless night on occasion. However, if sleep is something that is becoming a cause for stress, here are tips to aid a good night’s sleep naturally.

What is healthy sleep?

Sleep is your body’s detox, repair, and fix-it time. This is the time when toxins are getting flushed out, and your muscles, bone,s and other tissues get repaired. As you pass through the different phases of sleep, it allows you to rest and build energy for handling another new day. Did you know that for a healthy night of sleep you cycle through each stage of sleep four to six times?

Why is sleep important?

Sleep is necessary for your overall well-being. Lack of sleep affects both your emotional and physical health. In the short term, it has a detrimental effect on your memory, productivity, focus, and your overall mood. In the long term, it increases your risk for health conditions like depression, dementia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Although you may believe that sleep is downtime for your body, in reality, during sleep your body and brain are actually working hard to keep you healthy.

How much sleep do you need?

The recommended sleep for adults in India is at least 7-8 hours every night. For young children, it is 10 hours every night. Did you know that studies have found that India is the second most sleep-deprived country in the world?

What are examples of sleep disorders?

If you wake up often at night, or you wake up feeling tired despite having a full seven hours or more of sleep, you may have a clinical issue that may need a visit with a health care practitioner. The most common sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.

What to do if you cannot sleep?

Here are 10 tips for a restful night of sleep:

1. Develop a regular sleep routine

Your weekend sleep routine may look different than your weekday sleep routine. Unfortunately, changes in your routines disrupt your biological sleep clock and are better avoided if possible. A regular bedtime routine, even on weekends and holidays, supports your body’s internal sleep and wake clock, and promotes better quality of sleep.

2. Be active

A new data insight suggests that Indians are the least active and log in only 6,533 steps daily on an average. A Northwestern University Department of Neurobiology and Physiology study found that when previously sedentary adults got aerobic exercise four times a week, it improved their sleep quality. These adults also reported fewer symptoms of depression and sleepiness during the day while demonstrating more vitality. Just be sure that your workout finishes well before your bedtime so that you can settle down for a good sleep!

3. Change your diet

Another change one can make is to stop consuming food and drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate, by mid-afternoon. If your dinner is your lightest meal and well before your bedtime, your body will be done digesting the food and ready for a good rest. It also helps to avoid spicy or heavy foods, which can keep you awake with heartburn or indigestion.

4. Say no to nicotine

A study found that smokers are four times more likely to feel their sleep wasn’t as restful compared to non-smokers. A Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study attributes this to the stimulative effect of nicotine and the nighttime withdrawal from it. Smoking can also pronounce other ailments such as sleep apnea, and asthma, which can make it difficult to get a restful sleep.

5. Avoid a nightcap

Alcohol has been found to disturb the pattern of sleep and brainwaves that help you feel refreshed in the morning. While sometimes a drink might help someone doze off initially, once the effects of the alcohol have worn off, they might wake up and have a hard time getting back to sleep, according to a study at the Mayo Clinic.

6. Leave tech behind an hour before bedtime

A National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey has found that nearly all participants used some type of electronic technology, like a television, computer, video game, or cell phone, before going to bed. Since the light from these devices stimulates the brain, it makes it harder for the brain to rest and wind down. It is essential to put these gadgets away at least an hour before bedtime to start a good night’s sleep.

7. Protect your bed space

In a study performed by the Mayo Clinic, they found that 53 percent of pet owners who sleep with their pets, get disturbed during the night. In India, it is common for adults to keep their small children with them in bed. More than 80 percent of such adults reported challenges in getting a good night’s sleep. Pets and kids both move during the night and can disrupt parents’ sleep patterns. Having your own sleeping space is important.

8. Keep it cool, not hot

Eighty degrees may be great for the beach, but it’s not appropriate for the bedroom at night. A temperate room helps with sleep. By balancing the thermostat, bed covers, and sleeping attire, you can reduce your core body temperature. It will result in better sleep.

9. A dark bedroom helps with sleep

The circadian rhythm dictates much of our body’s responses to its surroundings. When our body senses light, it’s time to wake up! So, too much light in a room disrupts our sleep as our brain conflicts with the environment. A darker bedroom addresses this need. For some people, even a small bit of light, say from a cell phone screen, will disturb their sleep by disrupting the production of melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles) and overall sleep.

10.  Use your bed for sleeping only

Research shows that human being spends up to a third of their lives sleeping. It is worth it for us to have a dedicated space for our sleep and not use that space also for eating, drinking, and working. This way, when we get to bed, our brain and body know it is time to leave all our worries and stresses behind and get a good night’s sleep!

Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve. These tips should set you up with a good start in that direction!

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