4 Ways To Get Better Sleep At Night
Ever get jealous of those people who seem to fall asleep the moment their head hits the pillow. Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, you’re not one of them, especially if you’re reading this. So what do you do? Are you doomed forever to not falling asleep easily, not staying asleep, and recovering worse and worse as the years pass? Believe it or not, you’re not. Whether it is physical or mental, there are plenty of ways to get better sleep, and until you come across the one(s) that work for you, here at 4 more ways to get better sleep that you may not have heard of before.
1. Don’t Add The Pressure On
You know what we’re talking about, that saying in your head that plays while you’re laying there not falling sleep. It goes a little something like, “I HAVE to fall asleep, tomorrow is a huge day” or “if I don’t fall asleep RIGHT NOW I’m not going to give my presentation well and I’m going to get fired”. Sound familiar? We thought so. Often times in this situation though it has nothing to do with your physical ability to fall asleep, and instead, your mental ability. You’re not only psyching yourself out, but you’re adding stress and anxiety to a situation in which you should be relaxing yourself, coaxing yourself into a restful slumber.
Instead of laying there, telling yourself all the surmounting reasons why you need to fall asleep at one instant, try to change the narrative your mind is telling you. When we worry about the future we do our present selves no good, right? Right. Pay attention to your body in this situation, what are you feeling? Are your shoulders tensed up to your shoulders? Are you holding your hands together in a death grip? Are your knees to tight that they’re starting to hurt once you notice? Is your jaw locked tight?
Tell yourself to relax, take a deep breath, and rewrite the narrative (cognitively reframe). Tell yourself that it is okay if your sleep is less than normal. Tell yourself it is okay if you don’t fall asleep right away because you’re going to wake up energized and refreshed. When we are kind to ourselves and empathetic with our own emotions we can calm down our central nervous system and instead of contributing to our cortisol/stress levels, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure, we can actually decrease these things, encouraging our bodies to relax and sleep. Start to think about the positives and before you know it you’ll be fast asleep.
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2. Turn Down The Lights
A lot of articles talk about how we should put away the blue light and the technology before we go to bed but a lot of articles don’t get into why. Yes, blue light that is emitted from technology triggers our brains to stay up, but what it also does, is inhibits the release of our natural melatonin production. Melatonin is what soothes the body into a sleep state. Without it, we’re not tired.
So instead of going straight to bed after watching a movie for the last two hours, give yourself a little time with the lights down low and the technology/screens off, and let your body do its job of naturally getting you ready for bed. Because otherwise? You’re going to go into a dark room, stimulated, with no natural melatonin production. You’re going to lie there, tossing and turning, with thoughts all around you, until you finally get up after an hour, go to the couch, and fall asleep immediately.
3. Commit To A Sleep Routine
Our bodies love habits and when it comes to sleep, this is no different. Going to bed at different times on different days and not waking up at the same time can provide too much variability for our bodies to naturally wind down and wake up on their own. When there’s no sleep routine, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time, there is no reliability with your habits that your body can depend on.
So what does a sleep routine look like, let alone how do you commit to one? Start with establishing a consistent schedule that you can maintain not only on the weeknights, but the weekends, too. This will help avoid under or oversleeping which can lead to fatigue and a lack of mental clarity. Turn off the television or the screen (whatever type of screen it is) about 30 minutes before bed and turn down the lights so you can stimulate that natural melatonin release. Then? The best thing to do is do the same thing each time before you go to bed. Shower, change, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, and go to bed. Whatever your routine, make it easy, enjoyable, and something that you’re willing to commit to.
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4. Belly Breathing Yourself To Sleep
Belly breathing is a great way to sooth yourself to sleep, especially if you’re having trouble after you used the above techniques. When you do belly breathing, you can relax your central nervous system, increase oxygen flow, reduce heart rate, and actually relax.
How do you do it? Start by laying flat on your back with one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Take a depth breath in through your nose and breathe deep into the lower lobe of the lunges so that the stomach expands into the second hand. Hold the breath for a three count, then slowly exhale, feeling the air leave the lower lobe of the lungs first, then the chest, then hold for a three count. Do this ~10 times and notice how differently you feel at the end of the exercise. If you’re not quire relaxed, try it again. You’ll be asleep in no time.
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4 Ways To Get Better Sleep: In Conclusion
Look, we get it, not sleeping sucks. However, if you’re able to take the pressure off yourself, establish a sleep routine that is sustainable and easy to maintain, try a breathing exercise or two, and give your body a fair chance to step away from our digital world to do it’s normal thing, you should be in good standing. Before you know it you’re going to be falling sleep faster, staying asleep longer, and waking up more refreshed than ever.
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