I’m normally one of those people who falls to sleep quickly and stays asleep all night long. But every now and then I toss and turn and wake up randomly throughout the night. When that happens, I definitely don’t wake well-rested and ready to tackle the day. Instead, I spend the day feeling sluggish and unmotivated. When that happens, I find I’m short of patience and don’t get as much done.
If there are nights when sleep eludes you, don’t give up. There are a few healthy ways that you can get a good night’s sleep without turning to medication.
1. Eliminate Distractions
Your bedroom should be a peaceful sanctuary that makes it easy for you to drift off into sleep. I know that mine isn’t always that way, unfortunately. Some days, I’m faced with laundry that needs to be put away, a cell phone that dings reminders, and other interruptions that get in the way of my relaxation. If this is true for you, too, make a point of eliminating distractions. Declutter your bedroom and charge your technology in another room. If you have a television in your bedroom, consider moving it.
2. Check your Comfort
It’s not easy to fall asleep when you’re uncomfortable. If your mattress is old, your pillow is lumpy, your sheets are worn, or your room is too cold or too hot, or your curtains let it too much light, chances are you’ll have a difficult time falling, or staying, asleep. Do a comfort check and consider replacing items that are preventing you from sleeping well. This is especially important for those who suffer from chronic pain.
3. Eliminate Caffeine
If you’re like me, the thought of completely eliminating caffeine may fill you with dread. No worries, you may not need to eliminate it completely. Just stop drinking it later in the day. I allow myself one cup of coffee around 2 PM and rarely after that. Other people I know can’t drink caffeine in the afternoon at all. If you’re drinking caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or even the evening, you should probably try cutting back.
4. Go Natural
There are ways you can encourage your body to relax naturally without turning to medication. I add lavender essential oil to my diffuser each day as it gets closer to bedtime. The scent helps me unwind. I also enjoy a cup of chamomile tea, which has soothing properties. You can also try lavender or rose water linen spray on your bed sheets to help you relax at the end of the day. Some sleep experts recommend listening to a book on tape. Choose a familiar story (ideally one without too much action or suspense) and let it lull you off to dreamland.
5. Reduce Stress
When I have a hard time falling asleep, it’s often because I have a difficult time dealing with stressful events that happened during the day, or worries about what could happen tomorrow. Instead of heading right to bed, spend a few minutes reducing stress by journaling, practicing yoga, meditating, taking a hot shower with scented candles, or whatever else helps you relax and unwind.