Along with proper diet and exercise, the amount and quality of sleep that you get can have a major impact on your overall health. Not only can a lack of sleep lead to things like brain fog and crankiness in the short term, but it can have more serious repercussions for your health in the long term, as well, which is why it can be so important to make quality sleep a priority. However, many may struggle to get the sleep they need at night, and may be uncertain about how to improve their sleep in a meaningful way. The good news is, though, that there are many simple things you can start doing today that will help you get the deep sleep that you need.
Cut Out Sleep Sabotaging Substances
One of the top contributors to sleeplessness at night is the diet that you eat and the things that you drink. Some of the biggest culprits of ruining sleep are caffeine and alcohol, in particular. While caffeine can be a great way to stimulate your nervous system and get you going early in the day, at night this stimulation of your nervous system can cause you to toss and turn instead of rest. Not only that, but caffeine can stay active in your system for several hours after you have drank it, so if you really want to sleep deeply at night it can be a good idea to avoid anything caffeinated after early afternoon.
Even though many may like to have a drink or two to unwind in the evening, the reality is that alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycles and have a negative impact on your ability to get good sleep at night. While a drink or two may not do major damage, if you really want to feel refreshed in the morning, you're generally better off avoiding alcohol altogether if you can.
While it can be helpful to cut out substances that disrupt sleep, sometimes that isn't always enough to help you get quality rest. One way that you can help reduce feelings of restlessness and promote calm is by trying CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is the same thing as the marijuana or hemp plant. However, CBD is not the same thing as marijuana, because it does not contain THC, and it does not make you feel a buzz. However, the compounds it does contain can relax your nervous system and promote feelings of calm. Additionally, there can be many ways to try CBD, from CBD gummies to CBD oils or pills.
Create a Comfortable Space
Another way to help promote restfulness is to create a comfortable space that's conducive to deep sleep. Even if you don't eat or drink anything that disrupts sleep, if your bedroom is bright, noisy, or too hot, it can make it almost impossible to sleep well. Additionally, and uncomfortable bed can also make it hard to rest fully, too. By taking steps to create a more peaceful and comfortable sleeping environment by doing things like using room darkening blinds or updating your mattress, you can help ensure that your environment isn't preventing you from falling asleep.
Try Essential Oils
Along with things like CBD, essential oils can be another effective way to promote calm and restfulness. Essential oils, particularly ones like chamomile, frankincense and lavender, can help calm the nervous system and reduce things like anxiety, which can keep you up at night. There can be many ways to use essential oils to promote sleep, whether you put a few drops in a mist diffuser before bed, take a scented bath, rub a couple of drops onto your temples, or purchase a pillow or eye mask that is scented with essential oils.
Drink Calming Teas
Even though there are many drinks like coffee, soda and alcohol that can keep you up all night, the good news is that there are drinks that can help you fall asleep at night, too. There are many different kinds of herbal teas that are not only good at promoting relaxation in general, but that may even promote drowsiness as well. Some of these teas include chamomile, holy basil, and valerian root, however, there are many more. Drinking a lot of liquid right before bed may not be beneficial, as it may cause you to need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, but trying a small mug of relaxing tea about an hour before bed can still be a good option for promoting restfulness.
Have a Relaxing Nighttime Routine
Some may not realize it, but what you do right before bed can have a big impact on how well you're able to sleep. Because of this, it can be important to avoid doing things that cause stress or increase your energy levels, like exercising, for example. Not only that, but distractions like television or your cell phone can keep you up at night too, because of the blue light that they emit, but also because of the stimulation they cause. To wind down properly and really feel rested, it can be a good idea to start following a relaxing nighttime routine. Some great calming things to do within an hour before bed can include reading, writing in a journal, meditating, taking a hot bath or practicing some gentle stretches.
Mindfulness, or meditation, isn't just good for calming down during the day or tuning into your emotions, it can also be great for getting more restful sleep at night, too. This is in part because of the calming effect it has on your nervous system, but also because of the fact that it can literally change your brain over time, and make it more resistant to stress, which is one of the top disruptors of sleep. While there's no one set amount of time that will work for everyone when it comes to getting the most out of mindfulness, it is often recommended to practice it for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
A Few Final Thoughts
The quality of sleep that you get can have a major impact on your health, not just in the short term, but in the long term, as well. Because of this, it can be important to take sleep seriously, and improve the quality of sleep you get. While it may not always be easy to get the full recommended 8 hours you need every night, by doing things like developing a relaxing bedtime routine, you can make positive changes in your sleep quality today.
If your sleep issues are related to a sleep disorder, proper diagnosis and treatment will improve your sleep and your life. Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive sleep lab in the state, with locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna and Wasilla. Call us today for your free sleep consultation in-lab or through telemedicine.