Sleep is one of the most vital components to being or getting healthy. Sleep is your body’s chance to heal and reset itself for the next day. Unfortunately, a lot of people suffer from insomnia, and can’t get a consistent night of good sleep.
It’s easy to turn to Tylenol PM or some sort of sleeping pill, but if you have chronic insomnia, these pills can be addictive and lead to other side effects that won’t help your situation. You should not be trying to put yourself to sleep chemically. If you have certain basics in, you should be able to sleep naturally.
I have gone through these basics and managed to discover many more nights of complete rest.
They may seem obvious, but I had to discover them through trial and error. I hope by providing all the information here, I can save someone time and help them get the sleep they need.
4 NATURAL WAYS TO SLEEP BETTER
1. Check Your Mattress and Pillow
Ensuring you have a good mattress may be obvious for some, but it wasn’t obvious to me.
I had a Sleep Number bed that I could adjust to my own level of firmness. I never would have thought my mattress was actually keeping me awake.
One morning I woke up and noticed my bum was sinking through the mattress and touching the base of my bed. My mattress had been slowly leaking, thanks to a few punctures made by my cat, and I hadn’t noticed this as a part of my sleep troubles.
Spring mattresses can be worse, especially if you haven’t had a new one in a long time. Springs break and lose tension and eventually stop giving you support. Flipping your mattress might help for a while, common advice is to flip your mattress yearly. Overall, memory foam has the best reviews and results for those with sleep issues as it offers enveloping support for every part of your body.
If you’re having sleep troubles, you need to look into what type of mattress you have and determine if it’s part of the cause.
I initially went to the mattress store and was looking at memory foam mattresses in the range of $1000-$2000 and thinking, “There’s no way I can do this.” Then I did some research on Amazon and found the same type of mattress I wanted for just a few hundred dollars. I purchased it with some hesitation, as anyone might have at the idea of buying a mattress online from some generic company. But Amazon reviews are pretty helpful so I was fairly confident in my choice.
With my new 10-inch, memory foam mattress from Best Price I immediately noticed a huge difference in my ability to stay comfortably asleep, and I woke up with much less pain.
If you can’t afford a new mattress, at least take a look at getting a memory foam mattress topper. And while you’re at it, make sure you also get a firm pillow designed for the best sleep for you. I have a memory foam pillow with cooling that really helps with my nightly hot flashes.
2. Clear Your Mind at Night
Stress and thinking can be killer and is counter intuitive to relaxing and falling asleep.
It can be hard not to focus on the things that need to be done or the bills that need to be paid. I totally get that.
I am an over-active thinker and find it very hard to wind down and erase my mind. This is the biggest issue for me when trying to fall asleep.
Here is what I do to clear mind:
- WIND DOWN – An hour before bed I choose a wind down activity, something that doesn’t stir up new thoughts and allows me to relax. My favorite is reading a book, and sometimes I’ll watch a silly movie with my family.
- AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA AND EMAIL – I shut down my computer and put down my phone or turn off my notifications. You never know when you’re going to get some sort of notice or see an article that stresses you out. Better to avoid it at least an hour before bed.
- MEDITATION – Meditation is essentially focusing your thoughts or clearing your mind. When I lie down to sleep, I put my focus towards positive thoughts. Sometimes I can’t do this on my own so I put on relaxing music or background noise videos.
Here are some of my favorites from Amazon Prime, the one I use most being the “Healthy Weight Loss Meditation.” I’m not sure of it’s benefits in helping me lose weight, but the voice is soothing and the countdown really helps me relax and fall asleep. Note: Most of these are FREE with Amazon Prime.
You may have to try out different videos to find what works best for you. Some nights I just love sounds of the ocean or rainfall, and some nights I need a calming voice to direct my thoughts.
In either case, when I use these videos a stay asleep for several hours longer than when I don’t.
Since using these videos I’ve managed on occasion to sleep the entire night through – a total miracle with my condition.
3. Block Out the Light
An important factor to getting deep sleep and staying asleep is light. When the sun starts to peak through our bodies naturally start to wake up, and once my body is awake it’s very hard to get back to sleep, even at 5am.
If you are on any sort of schedule that requires you to sleep past dawn, you should try blacking out your windows or hanging black sheets.
My husband likes to have the tv on at night sometimes, so I have also found sleep masks to be extremely helpful in blocking out light when I’m trying to fall or stay asleep. I recommend something simple, soft or silky, with no tags and with an adjustable band. Stay away from Velcro straps as they get tangled in long hair and can be scratchy and bothersome.
If you share a room with someone, wear a sleep mask.
4. Take Natural Sleep-Supporting Supplements
There are vitamins and minerals that your body naturally needs to ensure a good night’s sleep. These days, most people are not able to maintain a diet that offers them the levels of nutrition needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to take mineral and vitamin supplements to replace what you might be missing, unless you’re going to completely change your diet to ensure you get the nutrients you need.
If you take any supplements, take the ones that will help you get a good night of sleep.
I have found it simplest to integrate the supplements below into my nightly routine, and they really are helping me to relax, so I can sleep through the night.
Fall Asleep Fast with Melatonin
A body naturally produces the sleep hormone, belatonin, to induce drowsiness when it is relaxed and ready to sleep. It won’t necessarily keep you asleep, but melatonin can help you fall into that deep, productive sleep, and your comfortable mattress and calming background noise will keep you there.
If you take Melatonin, or something that contains it, you want to ensure you are ready for bed directly after taking it or it won’t work. Don’t involve yourself in other activities, just set up your video or background noise and close your eyes while you wait for it to work.
I find powder capsules work best for me for absorption, but my husband can’t do swallow pills. So I also keep the gummies around for when he needs help sleeping. They’re good for kids, too.
I’ve been using Melatonin to help me sleep naturally since I was a child.
Relax Your Body
Calcium and magnesium go hand-in-hand to help your body and muscles relax. If you get charlie horses or restless leg syndrome, adding a calcium/magnesium supplement will help. Having a deficiency in these minerals can make your body and mind tense, which leads to pain and cramping. Getting a massage might be useless if you don’t balance these out with a supplement.
Taking calcium and magnesium daily before bed will ensure you body relaxes enough for sleep to kick in.
I have taken these supplements in many different forms, and I find the powdered vitamins to be the most effective. They are taken in liquid form, I like to mix it with my Sleepytime Tea. I absorb them quickly this way, so my body starts to loosen up and relax fast. I drink it with my Melatoninm, 20-25 minutes before bed, and I find falling asleep much, much easier.
Some people take these with their other supplements in the morning, combining it with Vitamin D is very helpful for absorption as well. As long as you are taking it daily this is great, although I do recommend keeping the powder form around for extra-tense situations where you need a hot cup of relaxation.
Get Rid of Vivid Dreams and Nightmares
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is a vital part of your body’s glucose metabolizing function, helping to turn carbs into fuel. If you take it in the morning, you will feel increased energy throughout the day. More importantly, by making your metabilization more productive you will notice better sleep. If you have trouble with dreams and nightmares, it could be an indication of a vitamin B1 deficiency.
Have you ever woken up from a dream-filled night, where you felt like your dreams were so vivid that you never actually slept?
If I’m specifically having issues with over-active dreaming, I will increase my B1 and see immediate improvement. Sometimes, if the dreams are bad enough, I will take it in the middle of the night and it helps almost immediately. However, I generally recommend just taking it in the morning because it can improve your energy level during the day.
This one is good to take with a balance of other B vitamins as they work together to improve your body’s health overall. But if you take it on its own, at least ensure you include the calcium and magnesium, it’s a killer combination toward getting rid of insomnia.
What do you do to sleep better?
I hope my suggestions here are helpful for you in finding relief. As I find more solutions to restless nights, I will continue to update this information. I know how awful it can be when you can’t get good sleep.
I welcome you to share in the comments any of your own natural ways to sleep better.