Most of us know the basics of getting better sleep; don’t look at electronics or watch TV, don’t drink caffeine or alcohol too late, take a hot bath or shower, and the list goes on of things people tell us to do repeatedly.
And even if we follow those tips, we can still have trouble getting to sleep, especially if our minds are racing from stress or worries. But thankfully there’s more you can do to beat insomnia and get a more restful sleep at night. And you don’t just have to settle for sleep meds.
Drinks That Promote Better Sleep
Hot drinks are great, their warmth is able to calm any nerves. And when paired with awesome ingredients, they can be an easy knockout to insomnia. So finding the right kind of hot drinks can help promote better sleep for you (and it doesn’t have to be chamomile tea).
When I was a kid, I was crazy; too overactive. But whenever I had mint tea, it was one of the few things to help calm me down. Mint tea is great in that it helps to de-stress and relax you after a long day. It also helps you if you have an upset stomach keeping you awake. So quickly warm some up in the microwave, and call it a night.
The first time I had this, I had gotten it from Asian grocers out of curiosity. But when I found out about its benefits, I was happy that I made the purchase. The flower has been used in an old Chinese remedy that can help to calm and relax you, as well as keep insomnia away.
Snacks that Promote Better Sleep
After a long day of work, it’s easy to get something loaded with sugar and call it good. But that’s exactly what’s going to keep you up till midnight. Thankfully though, there are snacks (ones that actually taste good) that can keep away the hunger and help you get to sleep.
Whether you’re having popcorn or something a bit heavier like toast with butter, carbs can help you get sleepy. They raise your blood sugar levels which help regulate your internal sleep clock.
Bananas and Cherries
These two fruits are easy to eat and great for promoting sleep. Bananas have muscle-relaxing minerals like potassium and magnesium and also have an amino acid called tryptophan which breaks down into melatonin and serotonin (both hormones that help you sleep). And cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin. So eat one of these fruits before bed, and you’ll start to feel the sleep hormones kick in.
Natural Remedies That Promote Better Sleep
There are plenty of sleep meds out there and almost none of them are good for you. Even melatonin pills (which are better and more natural) can mess with your sleep if you take them consistently and stop. You don’t want to be dependent on a pill to get better sleep. And that’s why 5-HTP is one of the best things you can take to stop insomnia.
The supplement helps your brain to start producing serotonin (the sleep hormone) and once you’ve taken it consistently for a few months, you can go off of it because your brain now has the ability to produce enough serotonin on its own. Pretty awesome right?
You can get 5-HTP at most drug stores or you can save yourself the time and trouble and get it online here.
Actions That Promote Better Sleep
After a long day, it’s finally time for sleep, but sleep doesn’t come. Everything that your brain couldn’t think of before because you were too busy, is now rushing through your mind. But thankfully there are things you can do to keep your mind from racing and drift off to sleep.
The first time I read about this breathing technique, I had to try it right away to see if it really worked. I wasn’t even trying to sleep (still daytime), I just wanted to see what would happen. The technique claimed it could put you under within a matter of minutes, and when I did it, I had to stop otherwise I would have dozed off where I sat.
The method is this, you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and then exhale for 8. This technique lowers your heart rate quickly and calms your mind as you focus on counting the seconds. It really is something you should try if you’re stressed or get stuck in your thoughts at night too often.
Schedule a Time to Worry
A couple of years ago, I read about this technique and it’s helped me quite a few times. Basically, if you find yourself feeling worried or stressed over something at night as you lay in bed, assign a time the next day to worry about whatever it is that’s occupying your mind.
Tell yourself that you’ll stress over it at 2 PM the next day and a few things may happen. First, the problem that you were worried about may have already passed and been figured out. Second, by the time it rolls around, you may have forgotten about the worry and will have saved yourself the stress. Or lastly, you’ll have time to actually figure out the problem that’s been worrying you
This technique frees up your mind and actually allows you time to rest from the stresses of life.
Whether you’re into yoga or not I’d suggest this simple move that helps you relax. Lay on your back with your legs straight up on the wall. Hold for 30-60 seconds (or however long you want), and focus on breathing slowly. This helps your mind to concentrate and your heart to slow as the toxins that have pooled in your feet are being released.
Cool it Down
I hate those hot summer nights laying in bed with the blanket pulled back, trying to stay cool, and constantly turning the pillow over to the colder side. It takes the longest to get to sleep on those nights. So that’s why I turn the AC down to 65F (around 20C) which is the best temp for sleeping. Whether you need to open the window or use a fan to help the temp drop, or you’re fine with putting it down that low, just know that it will definitely have you dozing off easily.
Read or Write
Another thing you can do to take your mind off of the worries or stresses of the day is to find a book you like. Distract your brain with stories (preferably ones that don’t have a cliffhanger making you wonder what happens the next chapter and keeps you up even longer.. So basically stories that defeat the purpose) and let your eyes get tired as they focus on the words.
Do any number of combinations of these things to ensure that you get better sleep at night. Find your perfect temperature, the best pre-bed snack or drinks, and an action you can do to take your mind off of your stresses.
I hope this post was helpful for you and if you have any techniques that work for you, email me or let me know in the comments below!
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