5 Ways to Sleep Better at Night Naturally
Struggling to get to sleep naturally? We've put together our top tips on how to get to sleep naturally at night, without the use of prescriptions, medicines and more.
1. Find the underlying cause of your sleep issues
Most people who sleep badly can probably pinpoint the cause, and it’s often to do with coffee, stress from work, worrying about kids or loved ones, lack of exercise, being too hot or cold, or not being tired enough at the end of the day. For some people, it’s not that simple, they play by the rules, they read blogs like these, and still, they are restless. So, what to do?
Look, there are medical conditions that prevent sleep, such as Chronic Insomnia, Melatonin Deficiency, Gastroesophageal Reflux disease, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or Restless Legs Syndrome. If you think it’s possible that something medical is affecting your sleep, you should see a doctor and get to the route of the problem.
2. Minimise caffeine, or don’t drink after the morning
Caffeine does not replace sleep. Say it with me. Caffeine does not replace sleep. One more time. Caffeine does not replace sleep.
There you have it, the hard truth that almost every coffee drinker in the world should accept. The science behind this is that we have a neurotransmitter called Adenosine in our bodies that tells the brain when it’s time to rest. Caffeine blocks these receptors, and pretty effectively too. As long as you keep sipping your source of caffeine, sweet dreams will not be coming.
Coffee does not replace sleep, it blocks the receptors in your brain that tell you that you need to sleep, so that your brain can ignore your request for rest.
From the writer of this article: ‘During my four-year degree, I was well-known for being the guy that slept 4 hours a night, worked 3 jobs (including two night shifts per week), and still came out as one of the best students. I was a serious coffee addict. I needed coffee to wake up, coffee before class, and coffee at work. On a night shift, I’d drink coffee through the night and have my last one at 5am. I’d be in bed for hours before sleeping, night shift or not. Someone suggested I switch to tea, and suddenly I started sleeping 6 hours per night. Now, I have one coffee as soon as I wake up, and I don’t touch it any other time. Weekends are now caffeine free.’
3. Be physically active during the day
You’ve got to be careful with this tip, because it can work with you, or it can work against you. It’s proven that aerobic exercise several times per week has been proven to improve sleep quality, as well as reducing depressive symptoms, anxiety and tiredness during the day, which are all causes of poor sleep. However, if you exercise within four hours of bedtime, it’s actually the case that the exercise will stimulate your mind and body and will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Ignore the tech and don’t get frustrated
This tip has two parts.
Being ultra-connected to gadgets, televisions, phones and video games is just the way of the world now, but that’s having an effect on our sleep. These devices stimulate the brain, so by using them before going to bed, it makes it harder to fall asleep quickly and enjoy a deep rest. The reason for your poor sleep might be unruly children who also struggle sleeping, so try cutting off their tech at least an hour before bedtime and notice the difference.
If you’re regularly laying awake after playing on your phone or other tech, one thing to do is to get up, turn the lights on, get out of bed, and start writing, on paper. Write down your worries, the things you’re grateful for, your next shopping list, your to-do list of chores, calls you could make to keep in touch with old friends and things that you’d like to achieve in the next year. This brain dump will relieve so much mental pressure, and can allow you to rest easy with few things on your mind.
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
Sleep is precious, and those Saturday mornings tucked up under the sheets until lunchtime are something that many of us savour. Frustratingly, staying in bed or sleeping this long can cause disruptions to your biological sleep clock, and is likely to only compound your issues.
The best thing you can do is to go to bed at the same time each night, and get up the same time each morning. It’s easier said than done if you have dependents, and it may not sound as enticing as a long lie in snuggled up with your duvet, but it will help you in the long run. And yes, this goes for weekends and holidays too. Don’t shoot the messenger!