Everyone has experienced restless nights in bed. You feel exhausted, yet you're unable to fall or stay asleep, and you can’t seem to figure out why. Stimuli that can disrupt your sleep sometimes come from places you'd never suspect. On the other hand, seemingly small changes in your nighttime routine can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Here are five unusual ways to improve your sleep.
1. Avoid brushing your teeth in the bathroom.
Most people brush their teeth in the bathroom before bed, but bathroom lights are some of the brightest in the house. Exposing your eyes to very bright lights can trick your brain into thinking that you're staring into the sun. Since your circadian rhythm is set by the sun, this brief exposure to bright lights could slightly offset your it and can convince your brain that it’s still the afternoon. This can trigger a release of stimulating chemicals, as well as a suppression of sleep chemicals such as melatonin. Bright artificial lights could leave you feeling wide awake right before bed, which will make it far more difficult to fall asleep.
2. Sleep naked.
Body temperature has a very strong effect on your sleep cycle. During sleep, your body temperature drops; the cooler you remain during the night, the easier it is to achieve deeper, more restful states of sleep. This is why sleeping naked is a great strategy to improve your sleep, because it helps keep your body temperature lower throughout the night.
3. Incorporate lavender into your evening ritual.
I've personally felt the powerful effect lavender has on my sleep; it helps me fall asleep much faster, and, surprisingly, I'm able to sleep through the night. And studies support my personal experience! If you're interested in running your own experiment I recommend getting some lavender essential oil and putting a few drops on some paper before bed.
4. Eat sweets and avoid protein before bed.
Although sugar gets a bad rap, it can have some beneficial effects when it comes to sleep due to its effect on orexin. Orexin is a neurotransmitter that regulates wakefulness, among other things. It’s been shown that glucose can lower the activity of orexin, so consuming sugar before bed could help you sleep better. It’s also been shown that amino acids, such as those found in meat, have the ability to simulate orexin cells which would make you feel more alert and awake.
So, avoiding a protein heavy bed time snack and opting for some tea with sugar or honey would be a great way to help you relax and to get the sleep enhancing effects of sugar.
5. Find a practice to silence your mind chatter.
One reason people have a hard time falling asleep is because they can’t seem to slow down the rapid stream of thoughts they have in their mind. A restless mind can keep you awake for a long time and one of the best ways to counteract this is through practicing meditation.
Meditation can be done in the morning or at night, and can be as short as five minutes a day. The key to meditation is staying consistent, so try setting your goal for five to 10 minutes a day for at least two months.
If you're someone who finds it difficult to fall asleep, or you often find yourself waking up feeling tired and you can’t seem to figure out why, then try out some of these tips. Seemingly small changes can often lead to great results.