Insomnia is a common problem that takes a toll on your energy, mood, health, and ability to function during the day. If the problem becomes chronic, the best thing to do first is to seek the advice of your GP, but as well as that, simple changes to your lifestyle and daily habits can help put a stop to sleepless nights.
Often, simple tweaks to your all-day routine can prep you for a much better night’s sleep. Here are six natural ways you can try tonight.
Unwind once you get home
It’s smart to start unwinding early in the evening, so you’re marking a transition from your stressful daily life to your evening. Pencil in a five-minute window of you-time where you brew a cup of soothing bone broth, take a bath if you have time, or just sit quietly alone and pay attention to your body as it begins to unwind. This is essential as it will be impossible to sleep if you’re feeling tense.
Smell your way to sleep
Lavender has a reputation as a mild tranquiliser. Simply dab a bit of the oil onto your temples and forehead before you hit the pillow. The aroma should help send you off to sleep.. Rose oil is also helpful; try sprinkling four or five drops on a tissue and hold it to your nose, taking 10 to 15 deep breaths before settling down to sleep.
Regular meditation may be a powerful tool for some insomniacs. The science as to why is still equivocal, but we do know meditation sends signals to your sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response telling it that it’s all right to relax.
Use an app
In order to get a decent night of slumber, the advice is to stay well away from your phone, but the idea here is that the app plays in the background – with no light coming from your device. The blue wavelengths produced by your smartphone and other gadgets (and energy-efficient LED light bulbs) significantly suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, according to research, but certain apps have been designed to help you drift into the land of nod.
Relax Melodies is one of the best; this free app enables you to listen to custom mixes of sounds from a selection of over 50 ambient melodies.
Watch your diet
Obviously avoiding caffiene is key, but so is introducing foods or liquids that will aid sleep. The herb chamomile is a traditional remedy for insomnia, for example. Researchers think that a flavonoid compound called apigenin is responsible for chamomile’s sleep-inducing properties. Apigenin seems to activate GABA A receptors, a process that helps stimulate sleep.
When trying to establish a regular sleep-wake cycle, don’t nap. No matter how tempting it may be, an afternoon nap can make falling asleep at night even harder. “Extra” sleep on weekends can also throw off your regular sleep schedule and worsen midweek insomnia.