Sleep. We all need it, but are you getting the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep every night? Dream on, right? If you’re one of the millions of Americans who aren’t getting those precious ZZZs, then you could be headed for health issues down the road – not to mention the loss of your beauty rest. Not getting a restful sleep may lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other long-term diseases. Before you reach for a sleeping pill, check out some natural ways that can help improve your sleep and overall well-being.
1. Tweak your diet
What – and when – you eat can impact your slumber; more than you know. Trying these dietary tips may add more hours to your nightly slumber:
- Include high antioxidant and nutrient-rich foods to your diet such as fruits, vegetables and healthy fats like avocado, olive and coconut oils.
- Eat quality proteins, which include organic and pasture-raised meats and eggs. They can pack a powerful punch when it comes to improving your rest.
- Skip the nightcap, caffeine and nicotine before bedtime. Avoiding them can greatly increase your chances of getting a restful sleep.
- Avoid sugars and carbohydrates after dinner. They can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, thus causing difficulty falling or staying asleep.
- Avoid spicy or heavy meals which can cause heartburn or indigestion.
- If possible, try making dinner your lightest meal of the day, and finish eating at least three-to-four hours before bedtime.
2. Create a sleep sanctuary
Three words come to mind when creating the perfect sleeping environment: “dark,” “cool” and “quiet.” Think of your bedroom as a peaceful space where your body and mind can unwind and decompress. Here are some ideas to help set the mood for a restful night:
- Use blackout shades or curtains on your windows to keep light out.
- Chill down your room to about 65 degrees. Studies suggest a cooler room can aid in better-quality rest.
- Keep the noise down. Sound machines and fans are great ways to distract from outside noises like traffic and noisy neighbors.
3. Get a massage
Sure, a massage sounds good right about now, but how many of us actually get one? The benefits of massage therapy go beyond just feeling good. Here are some ways a massage can help you get a more restful sleep:
- It helps improve the quantity and quality of rest, which will keep you in a deep restorative sleep longer.
- It may help increase serotonin levels, which are key to producing melatonin – an essential hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles.
4. Try acupuncture
O.K., you must be saying to yourself, “Getting poked by needles doesn’t sound very relaxing.” Well, the truth of the matter is that the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has benefits that go beyond pain management. Here are some ways acupuncture can help you fall asleep easier:
- Increases a feeling of relaxation
- Lessens anxiety
- Helps with sleep apnea
5. Check the oil
As history would have it, essential oils have been used for centuries to relax the body and mind. If you haven’t experimented with one yet, then it’s time to give lavender a try. Lavender has therapeutic properties to ease tension and lessen anxiety, so you can fall asleep. And it smells great, too!
6. Other tips to improve your rest:
Getting consistently good rest can turn your life around and improve your overall health and well-being.
Here are some other helpful tips:
- Maintain regular bedtime routines
- Meditate or set aside spiritual time
- Keep pets and kids out of your bed
- Power down electronics at least one hour before bedtime
- Either read or listen to music or an audio book
Things to avoid:
- Strenuous activities or exercise before bedtime
- Napping during the day
- Upsetting or emotional discussions before bedtime
- Counting sheep – unless that helps!
There’s nothing better than waking up refreshed and ready to face a new day. Trying some of these natural ways to getting a good night’s rest may help you earn the restful sleep you’ve been dreaming about.
Contact us today to learn more about the programs at Swedish Institute.