The Secret Behind How To Get A Good Night Sleep Naturally
Updated August 27, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Tonia Cassaday
Getting good sleep every night is something that lots of people work toward, and indeed, it’s worth the trouble! Being able to fall asleep easily and quickly, and then to stay asleep until morning can improve your performance at work, make a difference in your personal life, and simply give you an overall sense of well-being. While a lot of people turn to medication and sleeping pills when they have trouble falling asleep, there are plenty of ways to get a good night’s sleep naturally!
The Science of Sleep: Why Some Nights You Get Good Sleep and Other Nights You Don’t
Sleep is a mysterious thing, and it often eludes many people. We all know it’s important, and most of us try to fall asleep and wake up at reasonable hours, so we get plenty of sleep, but why is it that it’s sometimes so hard to sleep? The answer varies greatly, but some very specific causes are especially common. Here are some of the most frequently cited reasons for having sleep problems:
- An overactive brain; you can’t get your mind to stop racing at night
- Stress; high stress is one of the leading causes of insomnia and sleep problems.
- Lack of a sleep schedule; for example, some days you sleep in, some days you don’t
- Poor environment. There’s some time in your bedroom environment that interferes with your sleep; a partner who snores loudly, disruptive outdoor noises, and other distractions are all examples.
- For women specifically, hormonal changes can cause sleep problems.
- You’re hungry or too full.
- Your bedroom space is too bright or cluttered.
- Depression and anxiety (among other similar emotional issues) can disrupt sleep.
- You drank caffeine, alcohol, or a sugary drink shortly before bedtime.
- You’ve had significant life changes recently and have much to process mentally.
- Insomnia (as a disorder)
- You drank a lot of water before bed; this may cause multiple bathroom trips during the night, each one of which interrupts your sleep and can cause poor sleep overall.
- When you struggle to sleep, you feel stressed about it because you have to sleep at a particular hour and wake at a specific time because of your busy schedule; feeling like you have to sleep often has the opposite effect than what’s desirable.
- You have sleep apnea.
- You took a long daytime nap (longer than 1 hour often causes sleep problems)
Keep in mind, however, that these are only some of the most common reasons why you might not be sleeping well at night. There are numerous causes of sleep troubles, and sometimes it’s challenging to identify the reason why you’re not able to sleep. In fact, a lot of the time, there’s more than one reason! That’s why it’s smart to adopt some of the techniques below, no matter what, so that you can improve your overall ability to fall asleep and stay asleep naturally.
Tips and Tricks for Sleeping Better Naturally
No matter the exact root of your sleep problems, some particular bedtime habits will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Practicing good sleep habits and knowing the ins and outs of how to get to sleep more easily will give you more tools to use when you’re struggling to sleep. If you already have a decent sleep routine, you’ll be able to more clearly tell what’s keeping you up at night. Here are some tried-and-true methods for getting a good night sleep every night:
Turn Off Electronics One Hour Before Bedtime
It’s not new information that turning off your screens before you go to sleep will improve your ability to get decent rest. Cell phones, e-readers, and televisions all emit light and promote excess brain activity, and when this is the case at night, your brain has a harder time winding down to a state of restfulness. These devices interfere with natural circadian rhythms, and also encourage us to continue thinking and working even late into the night. When you turn off the electronics before bedtime, you’ll give your brain a chance to rest and also encourage natural sleeping rhythms and patterns.
Drink a Soothing Herbal Tea
Drinking tea before bed is a pleasant, relaxing habit to begin with, but the teas that you drink can also improve your sleep! Chamomile, valerian, passionflower, and lemon balm teas are all great sleepy time herbs that will help calm your mind, soothe your digestive system, and relax your muscles. If you’re craving a restful drink in the evening, try reaching for a robust herbal tea rather than for something like milk, a smoothie, or even juice, and you’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently you’re able to fall asleep!
Develop a Nighttime Routine
Having a routine is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep naturally, and when you make an effort to develop good habits, sleep will come much more easily. Different people prefer different routines, but your routine must involve only activities that will help you relax both your mind and your body. For example, taking a bath or a long shower, reading a good book, journaling, or doing some gentle yoga are all excellent activities to add to a nighttime routine. As a rule, however, make sure that your nighttime routine activities are all directed toward relaxation and that they’re calming.
Avoid Eating Late at Night
When you eat late at night, you wake up your digestive system just at the time you want it to take the chance to rest and recover. At night, your entire body has the opportunity to do a reset; intermittent fasting has become such a popular trend because it gives the body the chance to process food properly, and it also promotes good healthy sleeping habits. While sometimes eating late simply can’t be avoided due to an especially busy day or a late-night event, if you tend to avoid eating later than 8pm, you’re more likely to have a better sleep regularly.
Create a Bedroom Environment Conducive to Sleep
The environment you sleep in has just as much of an effect on your ability to sleep well as make the habits you create around bedtime. Clear out any busy distractions from your bedroom and keep the space tidy and organized whenever possible; use soothing colors like blue and purple as the dominant decoration shades to help facilitate sleep. Try to block out all light by using dark curtains and ensuring that you turn off all the lights, and don’t forget to make the environment as quiet as possible! If necessary, use a white noise machine, good earplugs, or a combination of the two so that you can truly rest and tune out the world.
Get Some Exercise
Whatever you during the day affects your sleep just as much as what you do at night right before you go to bed. Make a point of creating a regular exercise routine and of getting an adequate amount of movement each day. If you only exercise every other day, consider getting a standing desk or doing some cleaning around the house the other days. You can incorporate exercise into your daily schedule not only by allocating 30 minutes each day to a bona fide workout, but also by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or by walking to the grocery store instead of driving. If your body has plenty of movement during the day, it will ease into sleep much more easily in the evening time.
Practice Relaxation Techniques Before Bed
Taking the opportunity right before bed to meditate, do a targeted hypnosis tape, or practice deep breathing can be a great way to improve your sleep naturally and quickly. So much of the time, poor sleep is caused by an inability to relax the body or mind (or sometimes both), and when you actively work on relaxing wholly and completely, you’ll certainly be able to sleep much better. If you practice these types of relaxation techniques right before bed, you not only prime your body for sleep, but you’ll also see a difference in other areas of your life, too. A solid relaxation technique practice can also translate to lowered stress levels, greater feelings of peace and happiness, and a clearer mind during the daytime.
Sleep is one of the most important parts of self-care, and getting enough good sleep can make a massive difference in your mood, emotional well-being, and physical health! There are various ways to improve sleep naturally using all different kinds of techniques and supplements. These are just a few suggestions. If you’re struggling to sleep well for any reason, talking to a licensed therapist who specializes in sleep and insomnia may be just the thing to help you figure out your sleep troubles once and for all.
Contact us today at BetterHelp to start working with a professional therapist to improve your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.