How many times have you found yourself laying in bed unable to fall asleep? Even if you’re tired, it’s as though your engine doesn’t want to shut off. You toss and turn your way through a night of minimal or poor sleep and wake up poorly rested. That leaves you searching the web for sleep solutions. While there is no one-size-fits all recommendation for better sleep, there are different strategies that can help you get the rest you need.
People from around the world have developed unique sleep hacks that help them get a good night’s sleep. Some strategies in this article are backed by science, while others stem from anecdotal reports. If you want to have an easier time falling asleep and uninterrupted nights of sleep, read on to learn about sleep tips from South America, Finland, and beyond.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM),the jujube fruit is frequently used to help calm the mind and emotions. TCM practitioners use this fruit to encourage more restful sleep, in addition to a relaxed mood. Studies show that jujube fruit contains saponins and flavonoids, two chemical compounds that suppress feelings of stress while simultaneously promoting relaxation. Flavonoids and saponins work to lengthen sleep time, and studies show that flavonoids, in particular, boost the time spent in slow wave sleep (SWS). This state of sleep is the most restorative part of sleep, and it’s associated with better memory and learning.
Hot Foot Soak
Allowing your feet to soak in hot water before bedtime is a popular relaxation technique in TCM. Not only does it help you wind down and soothe tired feet, but it also helps promote more restful sleep. Get a simple plastic bin or use a bathtub. Fill with enough hot water to go up to your ankles. You can add Epsom salt, fruit peels, flower petals, or essential oils to the water if you want. The warmth from the water helps to reduce the amount of vital energy in the mind, according to TCM. It is thought that the warmth draws the qi, energy, away from your head, signaling the brain that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep.
This is a traditional Nordic tradition from Finland, and it involves enjoying a sauna in the evening. Sauna therapy is a regular practice for many people, especially for muscle relaxation and detoxing. The elevation in body temperature actually makes you sleepy, which is beneficial for a good night’s sleep. According to a 2018 review, saunas offer support for people with congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, and COPD. A 2019 survey found that 83.5% of participants reported sleep benefits for one to two nights after sauna therapy. Just make sure to drink plenty of water post schwitz because a sauna is dehydrating.
Chamomile tea is widely used for its calming properties. The chamomile flower contains apigenin, a chemical compound that binds to receptors in the brain, whereby it triggers sleepiness and relaxation. According to health experts, that ability makes it an excellent choice for people who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders. A 2017 study found that chamomile extract had sedative properties in hospitalized older adults. The extract was able to increase sleep quality and quantity.
The Hammock Habit
Have you ever enjoyed a sway in the hammock while on vacation? There’s something very soothing about it and the gentle swaying can lull you to sleep. For the natives of South and Central America, swaying in a hammock is a common bedtime routine. A 2011 study found that the rocking motion of hammocks may promote deeper sleep in adults. More modern studies on hammocks and sleep are related to infants, as the rocking motion helps them sleep more soundly. Research noted that a nap in a swaying bed shortens the time it takes to fall asleep. It also lengthens the second stage of sleep, the one before deep sleep.
A lot of life hacks have come out of Japan, with shikibuton being an important hack for better sleep. The shikibuton is a Japanese futon mattress that is used on the floor. Made from eco-friendly and natural materials like cotton and wool, it has demonstrated an ability to reduce back pain by supporting the spine. There are many shikibuton mattresses available, but make sure to opt for the ones that consist of natural materials.