There are about 50-70 million Americans with sleep disorders and about nine million American adults use prescription sleep aids to help them fall asleep. Not only are sleeping pills unsafe, but they can also create a dependency and a need to have them in order to fall asleep regularly. What most people don’t realize is that sleep difficulty or sleep disorders can be the result of things like hypertension, diabetes, stroke, depression, or other chronic diseases.
Take our short quiz to see if you are sleeping properly. Click here to take the quiz. If you are not getting a healthy amount of sleep, your body might be suffering. Use the following tips to help you develop a healthier sleep pattern.
Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This technique was developed a little over 100 years ago and it involves tensing all of your muscle groups and then relaxing them. This method has been known to reduce fatigue and promote overall relaxation. Most importantly, patients who have practiced this method have shown improvement in the quality of their sleep. Tense your muscles for ten seconds and rest for ten seconds. Try this for five minutes about an hour before bed.
Meditation may be the right practice for you to help release stress and negative energy from your body. According to a 2009 study, people with insomnia benefited from meditation. The subjects who meditated slept longer than those who did not. Before you go to bed, try to meditate for ten minutes. Find a quiet, calm area (light some candles if you want) and give in to relaxation. If silent meditation is not your speed, there are many online guided meditation videos that may be more suited for you.
Take A Warm Bath
Taking a warm bath or hot shower about an hour before bed has been known to help improve sleep. When you are in a hot bath/shower, your body temperature raises, but exiting the tub results in a rapid decrease in body temperature. This signals the brain that it is time for bed. This regular practice can help you fall asleep more quickly and improve the overall quality of your sleep.
This may not be for everyone, but using lavender essential oil on its own, in eye masks, in bath scrubs, or as a scent for your pillow may be helpful in promoting better sleep. Lavender’s natural aroma helps to calm the mind and promote relaxation. Choose whichever method works best for you. If you have insomnia, lavender has been known to be beneficial.
Cut Caffeine Earlier And Switch To Herbal Tea
This may seem obvious, but too many people indulge in the late afternoon or early evening caffeinated beverage. It’s important to know that caffeine has a five hour half-life. This means that half of the caffeine content is still in your system five hours after you’ve had your last caffeinated beverage. Depending on the size of the beverage and the amount of caffeine in it, you may be wide awake when you should be sound asleep. Instead of drinking caffeine, try to opt for herbal teas in the evening. Many of them often have properties that promote healthier sleep (think chamomile or valerian).