According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million adults are suffering from a sleep disorder in the United States alone.
A sleep disorder or somnipathy is a medical disorder that affects the pattern, amount and quality of sleep of humans.
Some of the common types of sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorders, and narcolepsy.
This is alarming considering that your health must be a top priority, which begs the question: What can you do to avoid being sleep-deprived?
Read on and learn some helpful tips on falling asleep much faster at night. Discover how a simple breathing technique, gadget curfew, a calming drink, a warm bath, and a few lifestyle changes can help you doze off easily!
Take your dinner two hours before bed
It’s natural to feel sleepy after chowing down a hearty meal, but experts say lying down after eating is harmful to your health.
Your body is able to digest and absorb food properly in an upright position. Lying down may slow down the digestive process, and even lead to health complications.
Experts recommend allotting a two to four-hour window between your last meal and bedtime. This will help prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which may cause a burning sensation known as heartburn.
Aside from waiting a few hours to sleep after eating, it also helps to avoid alcohol and spicy foods, which can also cause sleep problems. Experts also suggest taking a light dinner for easier digestion.
Impose a gadget curfew
Sleep and technological devices don’t make a great combination. Research shows that the use of mobile phone for playing, browsing the web or texting is linked with insomnia and chronotype.
Several other studies also found an association between gadget use and sleep deprivation. And these studies suggest that screen time must be limited before bed.
Most electronic devices emit blue light, which can boost attention and alertness. This may be beneficial during the daytime when you need to stay attentive, but this can get problematic when it’s time to hit the sack.
Why? Because blue light exposure also reduces sleepiness as it slows down the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
To doze off easily, consider imposing a digital curfew on yourself. Shut off all electronics including the TV, your mobile phone, tablet, and laptop, one to two hours before your bedtime.
This will allow your body to produce more melatonin. If it’s impossible, though, because you need to answer an urgent email, for example, it helps to dim your screen’s brightness.
You can also install apps that automatically reduce blue light during evening hours or use blue-light-blocking glasses and filters.
Try the 4-7-8 breathing method
Doing a simple breathing exercise may also help you to sleep faster. The “4-7-8 Breathing Method”, otherwise known as “The Relaxing Breath”, was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil.
This breathing technique was based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice of controlling the breath.
Described by Weil as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system”, the 4-7-8 Breathing Method helps to put your body into a state of calm and relaxation.
If you’re trying to put yourself to sleep, you can start with this practice by lying down comfortably.
According to Weil, you need to rest the tip of your tongue against the ridge of your mouth, just behind your upper teeth through the entire exercise, then proceed with these steps:
Let all the air out through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
Close your lips, and breathe in through your nose quietly to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for seven
Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound to a mental count of eight.
Remember to perform this breathing exercise in a setting where you can fully relax. Its calming effects will help put you to sleep in no time.
Drink tea with honey
Drinking a calming beverage like tea before bedtime will also help you to sleep faster. Tea has been used for centuries as a natural sleep aid, and science backs its use as a sleep remedy.
Research shows that the reduced caffeine content of tea enhances its anti-stress effects and ability to improve sleep quality.
One of the best bedtime teas that can help you sleep easily is chamomile tea. Chamomile tea has been used for years as a natural aid for reducing anxiety and treating insomnia.
Commonly tagged as a mild tranquilizer, chamomile tea possesses calming effects, which are attributed to its apigenin content, an antioxidant that binds to certain brain receptors that may decrease anxiety and induce sleep.
Several other studies support the favorable effects of chamomile tea as a sleep-inducer.
People with chronic insomnia also fell asleep faster after receiving 270 mg of chamomile extract daily for 28 days. They also experienced fewer sleep interruptions in the middle of the night.
These research findings suggest that drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed may help you doze off easily. But how do you make this bedtime drink?
You can fix yourself a chamomile tea by steeping chamomile flowers.
These German chamomile flowers are organic and free from harmful pesticides and herbicides. When taken by mouth, it can help treat:
Intestinal gas and spasms
Several studies also show that chamomile tea may let you savor other health benefits including reduced risk of cancer, improved blood sugar levels, better heart health, and stronger immune system.
It could get better:
You can further boost the taste quality and health effects of your bedtime tea by adding Manuka honey.
Manuka honey was also found to be beneficial in promoting a restful night as it slowly releases glycogen, a polysaccharide that is necessary for bodily functions during sleep.
So, what makes it more special than traditional honey?
Native to New Zealand, this Manuka honey is produced by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium). It is considered enriched because of the pollution-free environment of New Zealand.
Aside from its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-viral benefits, and sleep-inducing powers, science shows that Manuka honey may also help to:
Keep teeth and gums healthy
Soothe a sore throat
Improve symptoms of digestive disorders
Treat upper respiratory infections
Prevent gastric ulcers
So, if you’re looking to sleep easily at night, and enjoy other health perks, sip a warm bedtime drink using these two powerful ingredients.
TRY THIS: Add a teaspoon of manuka honey to a cup of chamomile tea. Drink this fix 30 minutes before your bedtime.
Take a warm bath
If you want to sleep faster, taking a warm bath also helps. It was found that some warmth before bedtime can be helpful in promoting sleepiness.
According to a 1997 study, the body’s temperature naturally drops at night. This rapid decline in body temperature is what helps you sleep faster and savor a deeper rest.
Taking a warm bath causes your body temperature to naturally rise. The cool-down period that follows this is what relaxes you.
In one study, it was discovered that both young and elderly subjects who took a warm bath before bedtime reported sleeping faster and better.
It is important to note, though, that the timing of your bath also plays a crucial role. Experts recommend taking a bath one or two hours before your bedtime.
Staying in the tub for a minimum of 20 minutes will also help you reap its maximum sleep-inducing powers.
Read a book
Reading a book also makes a great addition to a bedtime routine. It not only boosts your mental health but helps you to sleep better, too!
According to research, reading is one of the best ways to relax and reduce stress levels. Psychologists say engrossing yourself in a book puts your mind away from your worries and stresses.
Reading was found to ease the tensions in the heart and muscles, reducing stress levels by as much as 68 percent.
So, whether it’s a romantic, self-help or entrepreneurship book, go grab a read one hour before bed. This calming activity will also help you get the shut-eye that you deserve much easier.
What with all our busy schedules and often poor lifestyle habits, sleeping becomes a challenging feat. But doing things like limiting your gadget use a few hours before bed, and drinking a bedtime tea may help do the trick!
Minding your meal portions at dinner, practicing a calming breathing technique, taking a warm bath, and reading a good book may also help you catch the zzz’s you’ve been longing to get.
An adequate amount of rest is crucial for your health, so keep these tips in mind when you’re finding it hard to doze off. These easy-to-follow tips may be just what you need to enjoy a restful night.