If you want to live a healthy life, sleep is just as important as other aspects such as a healthy diet and daily exercise.
In fact, research suggests that poor sleep can have a massive negative impact on your brain function, hormones and overall health. In the long run it can lead to weight gain, increased risk of heart disease and other health issues.
Over the last few decades, sleep quality and quantity have been reported to be on the decline with many people getting poor sleep every night.
If you want to take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle, read on as we have prepared nine of the best natural ways to promote sleep.
- Consume Less Caffeine
While caffeine has health benefits and is widely consumed by people around the globe, it can also affect your sleep in a negative way.
A single dose of caffeine can help improve your focus and give you a boost of energy, but drinking caffeinated beverages close to bedtime will stimulate your nervous system and can prevent your body from relaxing.
Caffeine can stay in your system for six to eight hours, which is why drinking large amounts of it in the afternoon is not suggested. If you already have trouble sleeping or are particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine, it might be a good idea to cut out caffeine completely.
- Reduce Long Naps
A power nap during the day can give you the energy boost you need to get through the day, however, long naps can disturb your natural sleep schedule.
When you sleep during the day, your internal clock can be disturbed, meaning you find it more troublesome to fall asleep at night.
In fact, studies suggest that taking longer naps in the day can leave you feeling sleepier. If you do take a nap, aim to keep it around 20 minutes as shorter naps can make you feel refreshed and enhance your focus.
- Take Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is the key hormone that controls your sleep and tells your brain when it’s time to head to bed. One of the most popular natural ways to promote sleep is taking melatonin supplements.
Melatonin is often used to treat sleeping disorders such as insomnia. As little as 2 mg of melatonin before you hit the hay can help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed the next day.
In certain countries you might need a prescription to get melatonin supplements, while in others it’s sold over the counter. If you want to start melatonin treatment to help you sleep better, then it’s always advised to consult with your GP to get a professional opinion.
- Have an Early Dinner
Overeating at night can have an impact on the natural release of melatonin in your body and negatively affect your sleep. This includes your late-night snacks as well.
While high carb meals for dinner can make you feel sleepy, eating too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect. Eating too much close to bedtime can also cause other sleep disturbances such as heartburn and sleep apnea.
A balanced diet and early dinner is the key to a healthy sleep schedule.
- Clear Your Mind Before Bed
Distancing yourself from your everyday worries is another natural way to promote sleep. Many people have a sleep time ritual that helps them clear their head.
This could be a relaxing bath with aromatic salts, guided meditation, reading or even journaling your thoughts in a notebook.
Doing those quiet activities can help you unwind and doze off to sleep much faster.
- Limit Blue Light Exposure
The bright blue light from a mobile device can be a distraction before bedtime, so if you want to get better sleep, you should consider limiting blue light exposure.
Try putting all mobile devices away at least an hour before you get into bed. Instead focus on leisurely activities.
- Say No to Alcohol Before Bed
Alcohol is known to increase symptoms of sleep conditions such as apnea, disrupted sleep patterns, snoring and insomnia.
Even a couple drinks at night can affect the production of melatonin and disrupt the circadian rhythm of your body.
If you feel like having a drink in the evening, make it a non-alcoholic one like a warm herbal tea or a cup of milk.
- Sleep and Wake up at Consistent Hours
One of the best natural ways to promote sleep is by regulating your circadian rhythm. When your body clock is aligned you wake up feeling refreshed and find it easier to fall asleep.
In order to keep your body clock in line you should be consistent with your sleep and wake times. Irregular sleep patterns can lead to poor quality of sleep as they can alter your circadian rhythm.
If you’re struggling with falling asleep, then try to get into the habit of going to bed and waking up around the same time, even on the weekend.
- Get a Comfortable Mattress and Pillow
A natural way to promote sleep that people often overlook is getting a high quality mattress, pillows and bed. The quality of your bed and bedding can greatly affect your sleep. A mattress that is old and sagging is no good when you’re trying to create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom.
In general, it’s recommended to change your mattress every five to seven years. This depends on the exact model and composition of the mattress as certain types of mattresses can have better longevity.
If you haven’t replaced your mattress for a few years and you’re noticing the quality of your sleep deteriorating, then a quick solution is to get a new mattress. When shopping for a mattress online, always look at reputable retailers that stock a good selection of brands. My Next Mattress is one of the leading UK mattress retailers that offers mattresses for every budget and from top brands such as Sealy, Hypnos and many more.