Poor sleep habits are a problem that plagues far too many Americans. In today’s time of tight work schedules, hectic family life, and stressful global events, finding a good night’s sleep can be more difficult than ever. It’s too bad, considering that whether we like it or not, we do spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping.
Since sleep is unavoidably such a big part of our lives, we should honor it, and give it the time and attention it deserves. Poor sleep or the lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of ailments including obesity, heart disease, depression, and decreased immune function. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep your immune system functioning optimally.
Despite the medical and scientific community’s acknowledgment of the importance of quality sleep, four out of five people say they suffer from sleep problems at least once a week and wake up feeling exhausted. Moreover, many people are unaware that they aren’t getting enough sleep or that their sleep quality is impaired and instead endure the symptoms of poor sleep without knowing their true cause.
Luckily, there are steps we can take to improve the quality and length of our sleep which will serve to improve our overall health and immune function, which is more important than ever. Here are five easy sleep hacks that will have you dozing off when you need to.
Given the multitude of stressors that come with modern life, from long work hours to chaotic family life, it comes as no surprise that forms of meditation have gained popularity with Western audiences. Modern scientific research into meditation has provided solid empirical evidence for its many benefits, which has gone a long way towards convincing skeptics to make it part of their daily routine.
Many practitioners of meditation have found it helpful in improving their sleep patterns, as well as equipping them with the psychological skill set to relax under pressure. In fact, research out of Harvard University suggests that meditation is an effective tool for treating insomnia and improving sleep. Researchers believe that mindfulness meditation is one of the many techniques that can trigger a relaxation response in the body, which is the opposite of a stress response.
For many people, sleep disorders are deeply tied to stress and the relaxation response can help alleviate a variety of stress-related symptoms, ranging from depression, pain, and high blood pressure. Adopting a daily meditation practice can be a great way to train your mind and body to relax when you’re ready to hit the hay.
It may be surprising for some to learn that regular exercise can help improve sleep. According to The Washington Post, good sleepers are more likely to incorporate a daytime workout routine, as well as find time to relax before bed. Regular exercise as well as other protocols like dimming lights and neutralizing noise before going to bed are reported to all enhance sleep, especially when incorporated together.
The connection between regular exercise and good sleep has been further validated by recent research done out of Northwestern University’s Fein School of Medicine. The study looked at data from a previous study that examined the effect of moderate exercise on sleep, mood, and quality of life.
Individual exercise sessions did not have an immediate impact on sleep quality, with many study subjects not noticing differences in sleep as late as two months into the study. However, by the end of the 16-week study, the test group saw their sleep quality and quality increase substantially.
- CBD Oil
Another possible remedy for sleeplessness is CBD Oil. Cannabidiol oil is one of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and it interacts with the user’s endocannabinoid system to induce a wide range of beneficial health effects. Unlike marijuana, which is also derived from the cannabis plant, CBD oil does not contain THC and is therefore not psychoactive.
Despite not getting the user high, CBD oil does produce a subtle but powerful effect on the user’s mental state which includes promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. CBD oil can improve sleep by alleviating many of the symptoms that often lead to sleeplessness including pain, anxiety, excessive daytime sleepiness, and grogginess.
Kyro has more information on CBD oil and its various benefits.
- Keep A Sleep Diary
Recording your sleep patterns in a sleep diary can be a helpful way to track your progress while working to improve your sleep. Make recording your sleep pattern a habit each morning for the night before. Doing so will make you more mindful of how your sleep quality and quantity is improving.
If you’re more of a techie, there are a variety of fitness trackers and other products that will record data on your sleep automatically. Most fitness trackers including the Apple Watch, the Fitbit, and the Mi Band offer an app that allows you to view the data related to your sleep in an intuitive dashboard. Many offer charts and graphs for you to get a visual representation of how your sleep is changing each night, each week, and each month.
According to the New York Times, simple sleep hacks like a sleep journal and a number of other practices can help night owls fit more seamlessly into a typical nine-to-five schedule and overcome sleeplessness.
- Improve Your Diet
There is very good reason to believe that improving your diet, or strategically modifying it, can greatly enhance your sleep. This is because nutrition plays a big part in influencing which chemicals your brain produces.
A number of specific foods and drinks, in particular, have been shown to contain the nutritional makeup that can get your brain to produce all the sleep-friendly chemicals you want it to. Milk, for example, a drink traditionally drank warm to provoke sleepiness, contains melatonin which is a hormone that helps create the urge to fall asleep. The jury is still out as to whether drinking milk actually increases melatonin production, but it could well do so.
Improving your diet and lifestyle, as well as making use of some of these natural sleep aids can be a great way to get your way to a good night’s rest. Make sure to keep up with relevant lifestyle publications to stay on top of the latest tips and tricks.
Some research suggests that chamomile increases levels of glycine, a nerve relaxant, in the body which explains why it has traditionally been used as a sleep aid for generations.
Explore all the tools at your disposal mentioned here and you’re sure to be sleeping like a baby in no time. Now, stop reading and go get some rest.