If you’re like the one-third of Americans who sleep fewer than seven hours a night, rest easy – these natural tips and remedies are proven to improve sleep:
Stick to a schedule. Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule – even on weekends. This will help get your body into a healthy, consistent sleep rhythm.
Try yoga. A short bedtime yoga routine can gently stretch your muscles and relax you. It’s also a great time to clear your thoughts or meditate so you can easily transition into sleep.
Turn off screens. This is one of the easiest (and hardest) ways to get more sleep. Staring at a screen at night is like resetting your brain, waking you up when you should be winding down. Make the bedroom a “no screen zone” at least an hour before bed and make the room as dark as possible.
Take a relaxing bath. Soaking in warm water can help you relax if you’re tense. It’s also a great way to calm your mind. Try adding lavender oil to the bath for added relaxation.
Don’t forget magnesium. A lack of magnesium in your diet can cause muscle cramps and insomnia. Include magnesium-rich broccoli, kidney beans, spinach, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts to your diet.
Drink herbal tea. Certain herbs have very relaxing properties to help you get to sleep. Try decaffeinated chamomile.
Lavender essential oil is known for its calming effect. Apply a small drop to your pillow, use it in a diffuser in your bedroom, or add it to your bath water.
Regular exercise (not too close to bedtime) can help improve your sleep quality.
Cut off the caffeine by late afternoon and make dinner your lightest meal – finishing a few hours before bedtime. Avoid spicy or heavy foods, which can keep you awake with heartburn.
Kick the habit. Nicotine has a stimulating effect, and smoking can exacerbate sleep apnea or other breathing disorders.
Skip the “nightcap.” Although alcohol may help you doze off initially, it can disrupt your sleep pattern. It may cause you to wake up early or in the middle of the night.
Say no to Fido. We all deserve our own sleeping space. If you sleep with your pet, you likely experience sleep disruption every night – so send Fido to his own bed.
Cool it. A temperate room (between 54 and 75 degrees) is conducive to sleeping. We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but the benefits of adequate sleep are great – ranging from better heart health and less stress to weight loss and better memory. Try these tips to improve your sleep (and health) and if you continue to struggle with sleep problems, see your doctor or a Western CT Health Network sleep specialist.