How To Sleep Better: Natural Sleep Remedies
Anyone who hasn’t had a good night sleep and is damn well grumpy the next day can tell you just how frustrating a luck of shut eye can be. However, beyond just your scatter brain the morning after those less than 40 winks, the accumulation of nights tossing and turning can have serious repercussions to your long-term health. When your “sleep debt” (because we all needed another form of debt to be worried about…) accumulates, you’re at higher risk of lowered immunity, adrenal fatigue, diabetes and loss of sex drive, increased weight gain and accelerated ageing. And that’s not even to mention the decreased concentration and alertness you’ll succumb to.
With reports that 44% of Singaporeans are not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night, we've gathered some of the best natural sleep remedies to show you how to sleep better!
1. Reduce the glare of blue screens
In this technological age our eyeballs are receiving more light energy than our bodies know how to process. The main culprit? The high-energy blue light our screens omit. The advancement of blue light may make our tech more energy efficient, but it can also have some pretty devastating effects to our health. Studies show that overexposure is linked not only to eye strain, but sleep cycle disruption – cue the insomnia…Blue light, especially at night, can suppress natural melatonin (the sleepy hormone) production twice as long as green light, while shifting circadian rhythms by twice as much, says one Harvard Study.
The solution? Get yourself a pair of glasses specifically designed to filter out blue light at the highest energy wavelengths. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that those who wore glasses to block the wavelengths produced more melatonin than those who didn’t. Our pick is the range from Felix Gray– which unlike many of the blue blocker glasses out there, have on-trend frames with clear lenses that functionally filter out blue light at the highest energy wavelengths.
2. Limit screen time
Though you’re now equipped with your blue blocker lenses, it’s time to get serious about reducing the number of hours you’re physically staring at a screen. In years gone by, our ancestors lived by the light of the sun. Now, our evenings are illuminated and the body simply has no signals as to when it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. Our very clever body clock is instinctively tuned to the amount of light we are exposed to, and this circadian rhythm controls not only our sleeping and feeding patterns, but additionally our brain activity, hormone production and cell regeneration.
To prevent sleeping and long-term health issues, aim to limit the usage of screens completely before bed, so the body naturally starts producing some melatonin. The professional recommendation is to switch off all screens at least 2-3 hours before hitting the sack. If you can go for at least 60 minutes before you’re ready to catch some ZZZ’s, that’s a pretty good start!
3. Scentual Healing
Aromatherapy and essential oils have long been used as an effective natural remedy to treat insomnia and improve the quality of your shut eye. Sleep time favourite, lavender, is commonly used to alleviate disturbed sleep and this aromatherapy oil helps to slow down the nervous system, so you find a deeper state of calm. By stimulating the hypothalamus, breathing in some of these relaxing scents instantly brings on a sense of calm, while soothing the nervous system and acting as a natural sedative. The stats back this up, with research showing regular use of aromatherapy oils can enhance total sleep time and that pesky early morning awakening.
To try it out for yourself, find a pure essential oil blend to either spritz onto your pillows, sheets and around your bed, or dab onto the temples and pulse points. I love the Courtney & The Babes Deep Sleep Roll On from The Slow Mode, which blends notes of lavender, cedar wood and chamomile, in the pure essential oil roller. Expect a deep, lush sleep ahead.
4. Take Time To Unwind
If you’re rushing through the evening to fit in a late night gym sesh after another long day at work, before mindlessly shovelling down dinner and jumping straight into bed, we can predict that you won’t be getting a decent night’s sleep. To allow the body time to decompress and the mind to process the day that was, it’s important to reel back the tempo and allow ample downtime in the evenings. Helping to prep for a restful slumber ahead, night-time rituals look different for every body, but in any form, they will ready you for bed. Whether it’s a luscious skincare regime, taking a long bath, reading a good book or implementing some stretches and breath work – an evening routine helps the body to release the tensions of the day and alleviate some of the mental and/or physical stress you may have experienced.
Try this juicy night-time flow to connect you back to the breath, slow the heart rate down and bring on a restful slumber.
5. Establish Routine Bedtimes
Just like a toddler needs an established bedtime, so too do adults to reduce significant problematic sleep behaviours. As the body’s patterns are cyclical in nature, our biological clocks enjoy staying on an even keel by following a predictable, stable routine. General guidelines recommend 7-9 hours of sleep, per night, with the “power hours” for cell regeneration to be between 10pm-2am. So, to work with the body, not against it, implementing, and more difficulty – maintaining – a routine bedtime, can see marked improvements to your sleep quality and overall health.
6. Sleep Clean
So, you’re pretty good at keeping your body hygiene in check – we hope – but have you ever heard about sleep hygiene? Trust us, it’s a thing. Referring to all the controllable variables in your environment that assist in maximising the quality and depth of your sleep, becoming a clean sleeper could make all the difference between you nailing that sleep time, or morphing into the Grinch tomorrow. Some simple first steps include ensuring you create an ambient, sanctuary-like atmosphere to sleep in – trying where possible to separate your sleeping area from work, play and cooking – with darkened shades and soft lighting. Clearing the space of allergens and adding in an air purifier may assist those who struggle with allergy related sleep issues, while a white noise machine can help those affected by excess noise, or lack thereof.
7. Exercise In The AM
If you needed any more reason to join the morning sweat squad, then let your improved sleep be it. Excess energy can keep you up at night. Incorporating daily exercise into your routine shows marked improvement in the levels of sleep quality at night. While some studies show that early morning exercise is most beneficial to assist in circadian rhythms, ensuring you hit at least 30 minutes of rigorous movement a day should sufficiently set you up to wipe out that sleep debt.