Frankly Health’s best tips for a good night’s sleep
Have you been tossing and turning at night because you’re unable to get enough winks? Not getting enough sleep can get frustrating and take a toll on your health. Sleep deprivation can cause high blood pressure, diabetes or heart conditions. You can also start feeling woozy and incompetent when you’re extremely tired.
But what can you do to remedy your situation? We’ve put together a list of our best tips that will have you snoring faster than the old man who went to bed and bumped his head.
Why is sleep so important?
It’s estimated that between 30% and 40% of adults suffer from insomnia. The causes may vary but the impact is still the same for everyone: detrimental. Sleep is important for our minds and bodies to restore and regenerate. Having a good night’s rest is essential in helping us carry out our physical and mental functions for the next day and recover from the ones of the present day. Our immunity and metabolism also rely on sleep to function optimally.
And it can get frustrating when you haven’t been getting enough sleep but there are a few things you can do to change that.
Can you trick your brain into sleeping?
- Set a sleep schedule
Our bodies thrive on routine. They follow what is known as the circadian rhythm, a natural cycle of physical, mental and behavioural changes over 24 hours. The rhythm is mostly affected by exposure to light and darkness so sleep can have an impact on it. When you set specific times for going to sleep and waking up, you give your body a steady circadian rhythm.
Although it might be difficult because we generally associate weekends with staying up late and sleeping in, try being consistent with your sleeping patterns during the week and at weekends. Research has shown that irregular sleeping patterns can lead to poor quality sleep.
- Military sleep hack
Though the title might suggest a strict regimen, this technique is far from that. A fitness expert recently posted this technique to TikTok and it has since gone viral. The main focus is to completely relax your body and it was developed by the military to help them fall asleep despite the environment they might be in.
To use the military sleeping hack, start with taking deep breaths and consciously relaxing each part of your body. Work your way down from relaxing your forehead, then your eyes, cheeks, jaw, neck and shoulders. Don’t forget to take deep breaths while you work on each part of your body.
You also need to clear your mind completely, removing any stress and then think about either of these two scenarios: you’re lying in a canoe on a calm lake with a clear blue sky above you or you’re lying in a black, velvet hammock in a pitch black room. Keep practising this technique every night for 6 weeks and you should be fast asleep within 2 minutes.
- Put your phone away
Not only can phones be distracting, but they emit blue light which can affect your sleep patterns. Being exposed to blue light at night can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime so you won’t fall off to sleep as easily because it thinks it’s not time to. Disturbing your circadian rhythm can also reduce your melatonin levels, the hormone that helps you relax and enter a deep sleep cycle.
Reduce your exposure to blue light in the evenings or at least 1 to 2 hours before going to bed. You can also invest in special glasses that restrict blue light or download an app that does the same if you find it necessary to use your devices at night.
- Practice yoga or meditation
Relaxation can promote better sleep and exercises like yoga and meditation can help you relax. A survey conducted by the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that 55% of people that did yoga reported improved sleep. Yoga and meditation can also help relieve stress, another factor that can contribute to poor sleep. The same survey also found that 85% of yoga users reported reduced stress since they started practising.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Caffeine can increase your energy and stimulate your nervous system so consuming it at night might prevent you from relaxing and winding down for bed. Caffeine can stay in your blood for up to 8 hours so it’s best to stick to drinking your coffee or tea before 4 pm. Instead, opt for a decaffeinated drink if you’re craving something to warm you up.
When we sleep, we go through different cycles, one of which is known as the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage. But alcohol has sedative properties and consuming too much of it at night can make you spend more time in deep sleep and not enough in REM sleep. Disrupting your natural sleep cycle can lower the quality of your sleep.
- Try a few drops of CBD oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) has many known therapeutic benefits, and one is improving sleep. Everyone has an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which regulates different functions in the body. It works alongside the hypothalamus in regulating stress, anxiety and the circadian rhythm. CBD oil can make you feel less stressed so that your body and mind can rest optimally which will help you fall asleep.
Don’t just dream of a good rest
You don’t have to suffer with restless nights and watch your physical and mental health deteriorate. These tips are a sure way of destressing, relaxing and falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. Tag us on social media @franklyhealth and let us know which of these techniques you tried and how well they worked.