For years I have suffered with insomnia. Lying in bed at 4:00am wide awake, staring at the ceiling, I am often triggered by worry and anxiety of impending deadlines and endless things-to-do. Yes like many women, I find things to worry about and cannot stop the inner chatter in order to get a better sleep.
I want to share four simple sleep-inducing tips that have had a positive impact on my quality and duration of sleep.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT FOOD.
There are a couple suggestions here depending on if you are having trouble falling asleep, or if you are having trouble staying asleep, and quite frankly, for me it’s both.
IF YOU ARE FINDING IT HARD TO FALL ASLEEP:
Snack on foods high in tryptophan at night, as tryptophan helps produce, a hormone which promotes sleep. Foods that contain tryptophan include pumpkin seeds, turkey, tofu, eggs, walnuts, and seaweed.
IF YOUR PROBLEM LIES IN STAYING ASLEEP:
Your blood sugar may be dropping during the night. When blood sugar drops, your body kicks up production of stress hormones, anxiously waking you up at night. Try a small snack containing complex carbohydrates to prevent these blood sugar dips. Some of my faves include sweet potatoes, beans, nuts, quinoa, and steel cut oats.
2. AVOID SCREEN TIME AFTER SUNSET
At least 1-2 hours before bed because technology screens emit blue light to our eyes, which triggers our brain to stop producing melatonin (our sleep hormone). Sometimes the very things you read trigger more things to worry about. So steer clear of those emails and texts, and clear your mind.
GETTING NATURAL LIGHT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
Try to aim for 30 minutes in the morning, and get the sun into your eyes to make sure the proper hormones are signalled.
Photo by Jared Rice
3. TAKE A BATH
Taking a bath in hot water before bed is the easiest thing that helps me fall asleep. This is how it works: your core body temperature drops as your body works up a sweat from a hot bath. Our body temperature naturally decreases as evening rolls around, signalling to our body it’s time for sleep. The drop in body temp post bath helps mimic this signal.
Taking a hot bath with a BLEND of essential oils has been proven to be better than with just one scent such as lavender. It is believed that using a combination of several oils may have mood-enhancing effects that indirectly improve sleep by improving your mood.
4. DRINKING TEA BEFORE BED- IS THIS GOOD OR BAD?
Tea is nature’s calming brew. It is one of the most commonly consumed drinks in the world, and is getting the attention of research for it’s healing and restoring properties. Research does show that sipping on caffeine-free hot herbal tea has a calming and soothing affect and can reduce stress and anxiety.
Taking these active steps to calm the body and mind before bed reduces anxiety and increases my chances of falling asleep and then (fingers crossed, staying asleep).
We hope these tips work for you! Share some of your secrets for falling asleep below.
Feature image by Lina Kivaka