These days it is not uncommon at all to have trouble getting to sleep and staying that way. Between worry about the economy and personal finances and day-to-day life worries, it is no small wonder such a large percentage of the population has difficulty sleeping well and spends a fair amount of time and money trying to learn how to sleep better.
How To Sleep Better Naturally
This article is going to explain some of the ways you can take charge of your own life and begin to get that restful sleep you have been searching for. We will be discussing how you can encourage your body and mind to stop resisting the sleep you need and do it naturally. When we say we are going to show you how to sleep better naturally, we mean without any drugs, chemicals or supplements.
Prepare Your Mind for Sleep
Being mentally prepared for sleep is an important part of the whole sleep experience, and will allow you to fall asleep faster. We have all experienced the feeling of our minds racing when we lay down for bed, and we all know how frustrating it can be to try to get to sleep when it happens. Being mentally prepared can make the transition from awake to asleep go much more smoothly.
You can begin to prepare yourself mentally for sleep by spending a few moments before bed time making a conscious effort to visualize lying down and falling into a peaceful, deep, slumber. This simple exercise teaches your mind that it is time to shut down and can have surprising results.
Another suggestion to help you prepare your mind for sleep is to do about ten minutes of mild meditation and deep breathing exercises before bed. The act of concentrating on your own breathing patterns helps you to tune out the distractions around you that keep your mind occupied and stimulated. You can even take these exercises with you to bed and use them to help you to fall asleep.
Of course, there is always the old standby of reading a book before bed. Getting enthralled in a good book can have the same effect as the meditations mentioned above of helping your mind wind down and disconnect from all of the things that keep it stimulated throughout the day.
The primary thing to remember about making your mental preparations for sleep is that you need to make a conscious effort to relax. This does not mean that you tell yourself, “OK, I need to relax so I can get to sleep”, just before you jump in bed. In fact, putting pressure on yourself to get to sleep will almost always have the opposite effect; it will just cause you more stress and stimulate your mind that much more, causing you to lay there tossing and turning rather than sleeping.
We have discussed things to do to prepare mentally, but we need to also discuss things not to do before trying to get to sleep. It is just as important to not over-stimulate your mind before bed as it is to work at relaxing. Try to avoid watching television for at least several minutes before you go to bed. It is surprising how muck even casually watching a television show or movie can stimulate your brain.
Prepare Your Body for Sleep
We have out minds ready for a peaceful night’s rest, now let us prepare out bodies. It doesn’t matter how prepared your mind may be for sleep, if your body is not ready as well you will simply not rest well. If you do not rest well your body will not get the regeneration it needs to function properly and eventually your health will suffer.
To prepare your body for a good night’s sleep you just need to think about relaxing. You could begin by taking a warm to hot bath or shower immediately before going to bed. The warm water of the bath or shower will stimulate blood flow to your muscles and help them to relax and unwind. It will also work to relax your mind to prepare mentally for sleep.
If you don’t have time for a hot bath, you can always take a few minutes to wrap yourself around a warm cup of chamomile tea. Yes, we said we were going to discuss non-supplement ways of getting to sleep, but the chamomile does help you relax. The fact is, however, you don’t need it. Any caffeine free tea will help you to prepare for sleep because the hot tea will help to warm you inside and calm your body.
Just like when you are preparing your mind for sleep, there are some things that you can help your body prepare for sleep by not doing. First and foremost, avoid any and all caffeinated beverages for at least the last few hours before bed time. This does not just mean coffee; it means everything with caffeine in it including sodas. While your resistance to the effects of caffeine may be so strong that you don’t think it affects you, rest assured that it does, and whether you recognize it or not, caffeine will rob you of rest even if you are exhausted enough to sleep through the effects of it.
You should also avoid strenuous or stressful activity right before bed. Doing a few minutes of yoga stretches before bed time is a great way to help unwind your muscles but performing a full-blown work out will get your entire system in GO mode instead of STOP mode, which is the opposite of what you want.
Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
The place you sleep is as important to helping you get a good night’s rest as anything else. Your bedroom needs to be a place that eliminates all of the disturbances that disrupt your sleep as much as possible. This is an area though, where what works for some may not work for others, so you may have to experiment a little bit to find what suits you best.
Start by making your bedroom as dark as possible when it is time for sleeping, and don’t be afraid to take some rather drastic steps to accomplish this. If you have to put a blanket over the window to get your room dark, do it. You will be amazed how much longer you will sleep in a completely darkened room, and you will be amazed as well with how much ore rest you get from that sleep.
After you have eliminated the light from your sleeping area, work on getting rid of the sound interruptions. These are considerably more difficult to remove because they are often dependent on other people, both inside and outside your home. If you can’t protect your bedroom from disturbing noise you can try a couple of different options to cover the interruptions.
You may have luck with a white noise machine that generates a wind sound that tends to help block other sounds. Another option to cover noises is to have a fan in your room with you. If you place the fan close to your head the wind noise will help to drown out other noises.
The next option would be to play instrumental music in the room. This can be relaxing and also cover the disturbing sounds. You do not, however, want to leave a television on in the room or play music with singing because the human voice will attract your attention even when you are asleep and cause you to not get the deep, restful sleep that you need.
Lastly, make sure that your actual sleeping place is as comfortable as possible. If you like to sleep on a firm mattress with clean, crisp sheets, do it. If you prefer to nestle down in a big, jumbled pile of fluffy pillows with lots of covers, make it happen. Also make sure to have the thermostat in your bedroom set for what you find the best sleeping temperature to be. Some people prefer to have it a little cooler than normal at night so they can curl up under a heavy comforter, while others like it more temperate so they need no covers. Whatever your preference is, create the environment where you are able to completely shut the world out and relax.
Establish a Sleeping Pattern
One of the key elements to learning how to sleep better at night is to train your mind and body when to go to sleep. It may sound silly, but humans are habitual creatures that like consistency. If you will make the effort to establish a routine that involves a semi-regular bedtime, your body will thank you. You will notice that once you train yourself to be ready for sleep on a regular schedule, your body will begin slowing down around that time and instead of worrying if you will be able to sleep tonight, you will be looking forward to going to bed.
Be sure to work all of your sleep preparations, mental and physical, into your bedtime routine. After just a short time of following your new pattern, you will find yourself more prepared for sleep when you go to bed and it will take you much less time to actually fall asleep.