According to a recent study conducted by the CDC, roughly 9 million US adults use a prescription sleep aid to help achieve a restful night’s sleep.
Unless you have an insomnia disorder, in which case you need to see someone who specializes in that, we want to offer seven natural ways to help you drift off—no prescription necessary.
- Get out of Bed: We need time to wind down in order to properly “shut off” our minds. We have trained ourselves to associate bedtime with fretting, which is counter-intuitive. If you haven’t fallen asleep after thirty minutes, get out of bed and do something else for thirty to sixty minutes, or until you are really feeling tired.
- Meditate: Mindfulness meditation quiets your mind and has been proven to help fight insomnia. A study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that insomnia patients who meditated slept longer and better. Try this step-by-step meditation guide for better sleep.
- Take a Warm Bath: Candles and flower petals are not necessary, but a long soak can be soothing and help the sleep process. When you take a bath, your body temperature rises slightly. When you get out, the rapid cooldown mimics the body’s natural nighttime drop in temperature. The brain associates that as a trigger for bedtime.
- Feel the Burn: According to a 2013 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, regular exercise generates better sleep among those who make it a point to incorporate some form of physical activity into their days.
- Cut out Caffeine Earlier: Caffeine has a half-life of five hours, meaning that five hours after you have consumed your last cup of joe, half that caffeine is still circulating through your system. It’s recommended that you cut yourself off after lunch.
- Switch to Herbal Tea: Caffeine-free herbal tea may actually help you sleep. “Sleepytime” teas are made from compounds often found in sleep-promoting supplements.
- Stop Smoking: Nicotine, life coffee, is a stimulant and can lead to sleep disturbance. In 2008, Johns Hopkins researchers found that those who smoked were four times as likely to say they woke up feeling tired in the mornings as nonsmokers.
If All Else Fails…
Sometimes we can do everything to help induce a beautiful night’s sleep, and it still doesn’t come. In that case, it may be time to seek help from your doctor, as there could be other things going on.
Find a bed that makes you feel good,