Natural Ways To Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep

Humans need sleep, but all too often, this essential state of being evades us. If you struggle to get to sleep, even when you feel incredibly tired, or you wake during the night on a regular basis, you’re not alone. Up to 70% of American adults suffer from sleep problems, with more than 10% subject to chronic insomnia. While in some cases, it’s challenging to find a quick-fix, there are several things you can try to improve the quality of your sleep. Here are some natural solutions that could make all the difference.

Exercise

If you find it difficult to get to sleep, or you often feel like you’re not fully refreshed when you wake up, try and incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Exercise can benefit those who suffer from sleep problems in several ways. Exercise is a proven stress-buster, and it also provides a natural remedy for anxiety. Working out also helps to tire the body out, and it can be helpful for those who find it hard to switch off when they climb under the covers. Timing is crucial when it comes to the impact of exercise on sleep. Although physical activity can help you to feel more calm and relaxed, it tends to produce a natural high, which makes you feel energized and reinvigorated during and straight after your session. Try and exercise in the morning or early afternoon and avoid working out in the evenings.

When you hear the word exercise, you might recoil in horror at the thought of sweating it out in the gym or running for miles in the freezing cold. If the idea of joining the gym or pounding the pavements doesn’t appeal, don’t panic. There are so many ways you can get fit. Join a local team or club, work out at home using fitness DVDs or online workouts, walk or cycle to work every day or take up a new active pastime, such as kayaking, climbing, golf or yoga. It’s also really beneficial to make simple changes to your daily routine, especially if you have a job that involves sitting or standing still for long periods of time. Take regular breaks, stretch your legs, and always take the stairs rather than the elevator.

Image by AndiP
Image by AndiP
Comfort

When you get into bed, how do you feel? Do you sink into a divine mattress and feel all your troubles immediately melt away, or do you toss and turn, desperately trying to avoid springs in your back or a dip in the surface? If you haven’t replaced your mattress or your pillows for years, it could be time to make an investment that could have a dramatic impact on your health and well-being. Mattresses don’t last forever, and if you’re not comfortable, you may end up with a sore back and aching muscles. When you’re shopping around for a new bed, tailor your search. If you’re prone to pain, for example, read reviews, ask for advice from your doctor and look for the best mattress for lower back pain. Your mattress should provide support for your spine while you snooze, and if it’s not doing this, your pain could become more severe. We’re all different, and we have unique needs and preferences, so it’s always a good idea to try products for size before you buy. Some people prefer firm mattresses to soft, for example. Lie down, see how you feel, and compare brand reviews and prices before you make a decision. It’s also important to replace your pillows every 6-18 months, depending on the quality of the pillow.

Image via kaboompics
Image via kaboompics
Routine

Do you go to bed at the same time every night or do you hop between early nights and the early hours with wild abandon? If you’re guilty of falling asleep in front of the TV, or you’re known to get into bed and then scrawl through social media for hours on end, now is the time to adjust your sleeping habits and get into a routine. If you’re a parent, you’re probably aware of the impact of a solid sleep routine for kids. The trouble is that many of us forget to apply the same theory to adult life. Our bodies have an internal clock, and we can program them to function at specific times of the day. If you’re used to going to bed at 10:30 pm and getting up at 6 am, you’ll start to notice that you get tired as your bedtime approaches and you feel fresh when your alarm goes off in the morning. It may take you a few days to get used to your new regime, but you should find that sticking to times that suit you has a really positive impact.

Improving your sleep routine isn’t just about changing the times you go to bed and get up. It’s also about learning to prepare your body and mind for rest. Many of us spend our evenings checking emails or watching TV programs or films that stimulate us. If your mind is active when you get into bed, you might find it difficult to switch off. Taking an hour or even half an hour to relax and unwind will help to combat this problem. Watch programs that don’t have you on the edge of your seat, read a book, listen to music, flick through a magazine or enjoy a long, hot soak in the bath. Just do anything that enables you to embrace calm. Leave gadgets and gizmos out of your bedroom, and don’t check your phone late at night. It’s also beneficial to avoid eating late at night and to cut out caffeine after 4 pm.

Image via kaboompics
Image via kaboompics
Stress management

Many people find it difficult to sleep because of stress. If you’re getting into bed thinking about how much work you’ve got to do or you’re anxious about paying bills, for example, this can really take its toll. Stress increases the risk of sleepless nights, and insomnia exacerbates symptoms of stress, leaving you in a cycle, which is tough to break. If you are suffering from stress, it’s worth trying natural self-help techniques. Exercise is a popular choice, and activities like yoga, Pilates, swimming, jogging, and boxing can be incredibly therapeutic. You may also wish to try meditation and creative activities. Creative hobbies enable you to devote time to doing something you enjoy, they can provide an outlet for your feelings and thoughts, and they also give you something to focus on that isn’t a deadline or a bill that needs paying. Talking can also help people to deal with stress. If you can open up to a friend or a relative, you might find that you feel better, and they may be able to give you advice or emotional support that gives you clarity, reassurance or comfort. If talking to people you know is a daunting prospect, it may be beneficial to see a therapist. Some people also find that spending time with pets helps them cope with stress. Taking time out can also be helpful, especially if you feel like you always need an extra hour in the day.

Image via kaboompics
Image via kaboompics
Do you find it difficult to sleep? Are you always tired, or do you crave a restful, peaceful night that doesn’t involve waking up several times? Sleep problems are very common, but often, there are steps you can take to try and improve your sleep habits and ensure you get more rest. Try and exercise on a regular basis, make sure you’re comfortable and get into a routine that gives you sufficient time to relax and recover. Stick to a regime, take time to unwind before you go to bed, don’t take your phone into the bedroom with you, and try and manage stress as effectively as possible.

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