Sleep is a good thing, especially when you know how to get to sleep. And when you have trouble falling asleep, it can cause a host of problems. Insomnia can be related to weight problems, chronic pain, diabetes, acid re-flux, heart disease and a lot more.
As easy as getting to sleep should be, it can refuse to happen. No matter how much we need it, and how natural the process should be, getting to sleep can be a chronic problem. And the fact is, sometimes the harder we try to fall asleep, the harder it is to get there. That’s why I’ve listed 22 techniques to help you get to sleep.
22 Ways To Help You Get To Sleep
1. Reduce Caffeine, Sugar, and Alcohol
Caffeine and sugar are obvious culprits to sleep issues. At least one study has shown that, in some people, caffeine isn’t metabolized efficiently; you can feel its effects long after consumption.
Alcohol is something some people don’t think always think of as a sleep-disrupter. Alcohol can be relaxing and can make you sleepy, so some people have a drink to relax before bed. But your body has to work hard to metabolize what is essentially a poison to the body’s system, so ultimately, it disrupts your sleep cycle.
2. Get Regular Exercise
This one really doesn’t need much explanation. A body that moves is one more prepared to rest at the end of the day. Regular exercise habits can be walking for 20 minutes several times a week.
3. Get Outside Everyday
Fresh air and the Vitamin D from sunshine create a relaxation response that at the same time provides you energy and keeps you more balanced and able to access the peaceful state of sleep.
4. Protein Is Important
Protein provides the L-tryptophan needed for melatonin and serotonin production. A healthy diet including foods like, eggs, chicken, beans, fish, or beef should be enough protein, but some people like to supplement their diet.
5. Eat Fruit
Fruit helps L-tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier, so your brain can more easily use it to create melatonin and serotonin.
6. Prescription Drugs
Many drugs adversely affect sleep. If you suspect you’re taking prescription drugs that are keeping you from getting to sleep, make it a priority to discuss it with your doctor.
7. Food Allergies
Many of us are sensitive to foods like gluten, sugar, and dairy. There are food sensitivity test that could prove useful. Some common foods that people are sensitive to are corn, soy, shellfish, nuts, gluten, and sugar.
Sensitivity reactions can cause congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas, and a bunch of other problems that mess up sleep.
Menopause can definitely alter your sleep patterns as you go back and forth between hot and cold flashes. There are supplements such as Estrovan that promise relief of menopause symptoms that you may want to try.
Create Sleep-Optimal Conditions In Your Bedroom
9. Darken Your Bedroom
Light disrupts your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Even that teeny, tiny glow from your clock radio could be messing with your sleep. So cover that clock, and cover your windows with black-out shades or drapes. And forget night lights.
10. Remove Electromagnetic Fields
These fields (EMFs) can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin. If you want to get serious about this, you can buy a gauss meter (you can find them online for about $50 to $200).
Or you can just have as few electronics in your bedroom as possible. Try replacing your electric clock with a battery operated clock, and keep it as far from your body as possible. Removing the clock from view can also help with sleep because watching a clock move forward when you’re not sleeping isn’t conducive to relaxation.
11. Beds Are For Sleeping
Some people find this almost impossible, but it works. Train yourself to know that the bed is for sex and or sleeping. It’s not for reading or watching TV. When your bed is only used to sleep in, it’s easier to develop a habit that your brain understands what to do in bed.
12. Keep Bedrooms Lower Than 70 Degrees F.
Studies have shown that the optimal sleep temperature is between 60 to 68 degrees. Of course that varies. We like to keep our bedroom between 55 and 60 for sleep, and it works well for us. Experiment and see what temperature gets you the most restful sleep.
Create A Sleep-Inducing Bedtime Routine
13. Regular Bedtimes
Your body is a creature of habit, and it will fall asleep easier during a zone you establish as “normal” for it. It’s sort of like training a dog. You’re telling your body that when this happens, do this … ie., when it’s midnight, go to sleep. Of course, being totally regimented is no fun, but a little regularity in sleep time can help with falling asleep easily if that’s a problem for you.
14. Relax Before Going To Bed
Try meditation or deep breathing. Put on a relaxing CD of soft music or nature sounds. Do a self foot massage or put a dab of some relaxing essential oil like lavender, chamomile, or ylang ylang (which incidentally is also an aphrodisiac, and a little roll in the hay can also be conducive to good sleep too.
15. Avoid Before-Bed Snacks
Some foods raise your blood sugar, so they can delay sleep. And after a bit, when blood sugar drops too low, you often wake up and are unable to fall back asleep.
16. Wear Soft, Warm Socks
Believe it or not, studies have shown that wearing socks reduces the number of times people wake up at night. Try it, you might find going to sleep easier than ever?
17. Stop Work 1 Hour Before Bed
This is mostly for people who work at home. Your mind needs a chance to unwind. When I ignore this tip, I have a devil of a time going to sleep. My brain plans blog posts and organizes materials for books and chews on marketing strategies—none of which are relaxing. Don’t go straight from work to bed. Instead, give yourself time to unwind before going to sleep.
18. Turn Off TV and Electronics
TV, computers, and electronic games all stimulate the brain far too much to allow relaxation, and it disrupts pineal gland function. If you can’t manage to get the TV off, at least don’t watch the news. The vibration you take to sleep with you is the one you wake up with. Do you really want to go to sleep with the vibration that all that bad news creates?
19. Write In A Journal
Making an entry in a journal that’s about how you want your life to be puts you in a good vibrational space that’s both relaxing for sleep and also good for taking into sleep with you because you’ll have it in the morning when you wake up. And don’t journal how it is, but journal how you want it be.
When The Traditional Stuff Doesn’t Work
20. Energy Healing Techniques
Methods that align energy, like The Healing Codes, EFT, and others can help balance your body’s bio energy system and remove emotional stresses that could be contributing to insomnia at a deep level. Not me, but you might want to try it? Google either or both, or search for them on Amazon.
21. Increase Melatonin
The best way to do this is by getting more exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (or full spectrum fluorescent bulbs) and absolute darkness at night. If you can’t do this, you could take a melatonin supplement. Research has shown that melatonin increases sleepiness and decreases restlessness.
22. Use a CPAP machine.
To find out if you need a CPAP machine, you generally need your doctor to prescribe a sleep study. CPAP machines are used to treat sleep apnea. They provide air directly to the nose. They also stop snoring.
I’ve found that having a regular evening routine that I stick to sets me up for a good nights sleep. It’s easy to think sleep is just something to fit into our busy schedules.
But getting the proper amount of restful sleep should be the mainstay of your health and lifestyle. So, habits and routines you set up can alleviate bouts of insomnia.
Routines will teach your brain that at a certain time, you are supposed to go to sleep. Watching what you eat after lunch and at night, along with turning off all electronic devices an hour before bed time, might be all you need to know about how to get to sleep.