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Don’t you just find it annoying when you can’t get quality sleep at night?. You just lay in bed, eyes wide awake and your mind ruminating through what you could have said, done better or just over trivial things. You know in your mind that getting that beauty sleep will help a lot but it’s just not coming.
Studies have shown that lack of sleep increases stress, blood sugar, blood pressure, cravings for carbohydrates and sugar which leads to weight gain, inability to concentrate and other health and safety problems. Some people have trouble falling asleep while some can’t stay asleep. If this is you, then these tips will help.
The Sleep Pattern
Sleep is regulated by the internal 24-hour clock in our brain called the circadian rhythm. Without this clock, we are unable to function properly.
As the sun goes down, the body senses this and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which releases melatonin, the master hormone for sleep. Once melatonin is released, you start to feel drowsy.
If you interfere with the natural other of sleep by surfing through your phone, watching TV, and late-night work, the stress hormone called cortisol is released. Now your sleep is affected and you are unable to fall back asleep.
Okay, let us try and fix this with these tips.
1. Clear The Clutter
According to Chinese Medicine, when your environment gets cluttered, your energy gets cluttered too. Try to remove books, mirrors, devices or any distractions away from your bedroom. Also, check your bed positioning, are you directly facing the doors or mirrors in your room? Facing the doors or mirror affects your body’s energy. It is preferable to have your bed against the wall not facing your bedroom doors or mirrors.
2. Turn Off Bright Blue Light
Blue light-emitting from bright lights in your room, eBooks, computers, phones, and tablets can reduce or delay the production of melatonin. Consider using yellow or orange light found in most lamps. If you are unable to sleep, read a physical book under those yellow lights. They have little effect on melatonin. Also, make yourself a cup of lavender or chamomile tea. You will soon become very sleepy.
3. Aim To Sleep Around 10:00 To 11:00 PM
This is a ritual that I don’t miss now that my body is used to it. Once it gets close to this time, I start feeling drowsy. It could be difficult for you to adjust sleeping hours to this time but try slowly like ten to fifteen minutes early every day. Gradually, your body starts adjusting to the new change in time. If you still find it difficult, then you can take natural supplements. I will talk about natural supplements in a bit.
4. Cut Down On Caffeine
I love caffeine and it has never affected my sleep. But if caffeine does affect your sleep, you may want to cut down on it. I know cutting down on caffeine can hurt especially when your body starts giving you headaches, and fatigue just to remind you to get back.
Try to cut back on caffeine by weaning slowly. Supplements like magnesium and vitamin B complex have been shown to reduce caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Herbs like maca and liquorice root are also helpful to reduce withdrawal symptoms. After taking these supplements for 2 days, you can start the weaning process.
The weaning process can go like this:
- Week 1: Three quarters caffeinated and one-quarter decaffeinated
- Week 2: Half-caffeinated and half-decaffeinated
- Week 3: One-quarter caffeinated and three-quarter decaffeinated
- Week 4: All decaffeinated
During this process, try to drink lots of water. Optimal hydration with lots of fruits that contain fibre is very important when weaning coffee out of the system. After this process, try to substitute herbal tea, grains and nuts. Ensure your substitute does not contain caffeine.
5. Quiet Your Mind
My brother gave me a book to read a long time ago, I honestly don’t remember the name of the book. But I can still remember the content about quieting the mind before bed. So in that book, the author suggests you shift all your thoughts to imagining an endless stream of sheep and counting the number of each sheep as they jump the fence. This will help your racing thoughts on the sheep till you sleep off.
6. Avoid Certain Foods Before Bedtime
I know sometimes we get hungry and eat late at night, which affects the quality of our sleep. Eating close to bedtime is a NO-NO and eating late affects brain function and makes it hard to shut down.
Avoid caffeine, noodles, alcohol, beverages, and any food high in sugar close to bedtime as they disrupt the quality of your sleep. These kinds of food not only affect your sleep but also upset the gastrointestinal tract. If you wish to eat these kinds of food, try to have them at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.
7. Eat Few Food Promoting Sleep
Sometimes hunger keeps you awake in the middle of the night when you are supposed to be sleeping. If you are in this category, the quality of food matters rather than quantity. Meaning eating very little but foods that promote good quality sleep is important.
Malted milk like Horlicks helps to that get good quality sleep. Mix 350ml of warm water in 4-5 teaspoons of Horlicks powder and drink 30 minutes before bed. Studies have shown that malted milk promotes less restless sleep in both young and older populations. Although the mechanism is unclear, scientists have suggested that the presence of wheat, malt barley, sugar, milk, 14 vitamins and minerals are associated with the improvement of good quality sleep.
Fatty fish are a good source of vitamin D and Omega-3 Fatty acids which are essential for the regulation of serotonin and therefore quality sleep. Fish like salmon and tuna help improve the quality of your sleep.
Kiwifruits are high in antioxidants, serotonin, vitamin C and folate. Eating at least 2 kiwifruits an hour be bedtime promotes good quality sleep at night. In addition, Tart-Cherries are high in melatonin concentration; the hormone needed for sleep.
Drinking chamomile tea just before bed has been shown to improve the good quality of sleep.
Track the quality of your sleep using this guide. It contains
- When you sleep, tracker
- How much you sleep
- The quality of your sleep
- Dream tracker
- Wake-up tracker
It is a PDF guide. To be printed out.
Use this tracker as a guide to create a habit to sleep better.
8. Got Stuff On Your Mind? Write It Down
Sometimes you can’t get quality sleep because your mind is clustered. Try to jot down what’s on your mind before bed.
Remember how you feel lighter when you talk to a friend? This is just like that but this time, you are having a conversation with yourself. This will help ease your mind with your thoughts well-aligned.
9. Write A To-Do List
Writing a to-do list helps clear up your mind. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming having so much to do. A To-do list helps clear up the space and ease your mind.
Write down the time and things you need to get done for the day. Once you have written this, relax and take comfort in the fact that everything you need to do the next day is all on paper.
If all these tips are not helping, maybe you should ask your healthcare practitioner what supplements to take. Supplementing with melatonin helps. Your healthcare practitioner might also want to check your hormones to know if there is a decline in hormones responsible for getting good quality sleep at night.
Before starting any supplements, talk to your physician.
Getting good quality sleep at night is not only beneficial for your health but also for your skin. I write a lot about how sleep benefits your skin so I hope you find these tips helpful for proper night’s sleep.