Having trouble falling asleep can lead to getting not enough sleep or sleep deprivation, the most signs of which are excessive daytime sleepiness, yawning, and irritability. Chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with balance, coordination, memory, decision-making abilities. Worse still, it suppresses immune system function.
Remedies to the more physical and environmental sleep-deprivers are fairly obvious, even though not always easily employed. So, if you are in the majority of those having trouble to fall asleep and not having a quality sleep, here are some do-it-yourself suggestions:
Avoid eating within 1 ½ – 2 hours of bedtime
Eating or snacking before bedtime is one of many nighttime habits. Eating especially right before your bedtime can be very disruptive to sleep. Salt-filled snacks such as potato chips, for instance, could make you feel thirsty. Drinking too much fluid before bedtime may cause extra trips to the bathroom.
Taking refined carbohydrates and sodas loaded with sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) before bedtime can also cause disrupted sleep. Eating high-carb diet before bedtime can cause blood sugar to nose dive.
Snack on fats and proteins
Snacking on fats and proteins 2 hours of bedtime are much safer than snacking on carbs especially processed carbs. The reason is these foods would not cause sugar spikes. Fats especially healthy fats such as coconut milk, cheese, full cream milk and most proteins that contain an amino acid tryptophan may help you to feel calm, which in turn make you falling sleep more easily.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine
Caffeine, nicotine, and sugar are stimulants if consumed close to bedtime can prevent you from falling asleep. Caffeine is found in a number of foods and drinks, including chocolate, tea, energy drinks, and some pain relievers. While alcohol sometimes makes users feel sleepy and may speed up the onset of sleep, as the body metabolizes the alcohol, it actually acts as a stimulant, preventing quality sleep and increasing awakenings during the night.
Good nite sleep depends much on parasympathetic nervous system (PSN) dominance. So nicotine, sugar (from table sugar or processed carbs), caffeine, and alcohol (certain amounts) would increase sympathetic nervous system activity resulting in its dominance over PSN and may awaken you as well as disrupt your sleep.
Note: Some people believe that any type of alcohol is bad for health due to ethanol content even only a glass of it at a time. Ethanol is converted to ethanal, a lethal aldehyde. This aldehyde is found to be very cytotoxic, meaning it can destruct and eventually kill cells.
Consider alternative treatment/therapy
Some medications can cause disrupted sleep. These are the most common ones said to cause it, including alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, corticosteroids, SSRI antidepressants, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, cholinesterase inhibitors, H1 antagonists, glucosamine/chondroitin, and statins.
Write down every drug and supplement you take. If you’re taking any of them and having sleep problems, you may try an alternative treatment or therapy. Gotu Kola and Sensitive Plant, for instance, may be used as alternatives for alpha-blockers and beta-blockers. They may also be used as antidepressants.
Turn off you mind
Convert your concern over something that bothering such as worrying about next day’s event into some kind of action plan and you will rest easier. Take a piece of paper and jot down your top concerns. Then write down the steps you will take to resolve the problems or situations. Don’t forget to include how and when you want to materialize your planned strategies.
Exercise, at least four hours of bedtime
Exercise especially cardio workout helps improve the length and quality of you sleep. 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, for instance, keeps your body temperature up to 4 hours, thus, inhibiting sleep. When your body cools down, at the same time the stress hormone cortisol follows suit, your brain starts releasing melatonin, so then you will get drowsy.
Comfortable sleeping environment
Use your bed for sleep and sex only. Using your bed for other activities such as studying or watching television would let your brain to associate your sleep spot with being awake and alert.
Blue wavelengths are beneficial during daylight hours as they boost attention, reaction times, and moods, however, when emitted by electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting during bedtime may cause disrupted sleep. Many people don’t know that LED screen of their mobile phones emits blue wavelengths.
Use dim red lights for night lights as it has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
Having sexual activities before bed is seldom discussed as one of the ways to induce sleep and to have a good sleep. Some married couples have routine intercourses performed every night or several nights per week before bedtime as a means to help them to fall asleep more easily. Sexual activities release endorphins, which exert a soothing effect on the brain and nervous system.
Some married couples or individuals practice non-orgasmic sex or at least delayed orgasm, obtained via having intercourse or caressing/fondling genitals or sensual parts. The moderate release of dopamine would not only provide pleasure but also long-term satisfaction to both parties as well as inducing good night sleep.
Start a sleep ritual
When you were a child, your mother read you a bedtime story and tucked you into bed every night. This comforting ritual acts as a signal to your brain to fall asleep. Have sex, drink a glass of warm milk, take a bath, listen to calming music, or recite bedtime prayer are bedtime rituals, which help signal the mind and body that it’s time to sleep.
Make your bedroom smell good
Essential oils such as Ylang-ylang, Lavender, Bergamot, Marjoram, Neroli, Sandalwood, and Sandalwood are said can combat insomnia, two symptoms of which are difficulty falling asleep at night and waking up during the night.
The most convenience way to use them is by applying on your neck or pillow.
Epsom Salt and lemon
If you want to improve your sleep every night, you may want to consider taking lemon water with Epsom salt added to it. Magnesium is believed can help calm your brain and autonomic nervous system by activating parasympathetic nervous system over sympathetic nervous system.
Squeeze ¼ lemon in a glass of water, add ¼ teaspoon of Epsom salt and a pinch of Himalayan salt. Drink it ½ hour of your bedtime. It is useful in inducing sleep for those experiencing insomnia, hypertension, anxiety, and depression.
Alternatively, take Valerian root, Gotu Kola, Chrysanthemum or Lemon Grass tea ½ hour before bedtime. It can help relax your mind and body
Take coconut oil
Surprisingly, consuming coconut oil daily is said can help induce sleep and have a good night sleep. Coconut oil is believed to have the ability to regulate body functions and eventually help one sleep more easily.
In the evening, having a warm cup of golden yellow turmeric milk is soothing and can help you sleep soundly through the night. How to prepare: in a small pot, bring almond milk to a boil, turn off the heat and whisk in turmeric, cardamom, and raw honey. Adding 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla would make the turmeric milk taste better and further synergize its calming effect.