I’m going to share ways to get better sleep naturally. It works best if you consider the topic as an all day practice, and something you can dedicate yourself to.
The Sun, the moon and the Earth
Follow the natural cycles of the Earth and moon. During the day and especially when the sun hits us, we produce a hormone called Serotonin. Serotonin modulates cognition, reward, learning, memory and numerous physiological processes. The sun balances and optimizes the circadian rhythm, reduces depression, increases happiness and boosts cognitive function.
I’m a huge believer in grounding, which is the practice of making contact with the Earth (touching with skin or light clothes) for health benefits. Some people say the invention of shoes with rubber soles further disconnected us from the Earth. These are the ways grounding can help:
- creates awareness
- reduces stress
- massages your feet naturally
- discharges free radicals
- allows for an electron transfer
- improves sleep
- reduces chronic pain
I love walking outside barefoot, but I don’t do it often enough. You might immediately be turned off with thoughts of getting dirty or harmed, but all the benefits outweigh these by far. After I get home from an earthing stroll, my feet and body feel amazing! If you prefer not to do this, you can simply rest outside at a park or any place in nature.
When it’s night time or dark, your body will turn serotonin into melatonin which triggers sleep.
You either love exercise, or you hate it. Exercising is beneficial to our health in numerous ways and I’ll share the ways it can promote a good night’s sleep. When you’re active, the release of endorphins reduces feelings of pain and makes you feel more positive. Serotonin and dopamine are released, causing you to be happier, motivated and less stressed. Some restless nights are caused by anxiety and depression, in which exercise is a natural cure for. The long term practice of exercise helps the brain get stronger, increasing memory power, attention span and learning. The minimum amount of activity required to receive these health benefits is three to four times a week of thirty minute sessions, and one of those should be a cardio workout.
My bedroom is comfortable
Take notice of your bedroom. Feng Shui practitioners say that bedrooms should only be for romance and sleep. Are you happy with your bedroom? Is it clean and designed well? Everything in your room can affect you when you’re sleeping or trying to sleep.
- Bills can give you worries about finances
- books and hobby related items can keep your mind active
- electronics can interfere energetically
- pictures and decorations should give a loving, happy, inspiring or calm feeling
- the bed, bedding and pillow should be comfortable and inviting to you
- adding plants enhances the energy (research which ones are best for you and where you live)
Take a little time to get your room the way you want it, if it needs any changes. You deserve a room that promotes clarity, comfort and good sleep.
The wind down
Turning the electronics off an hour or so before bed is helpful for the wind down phase. Turn some lights down or off as well as slow your overall productivity level, if your life allows it.
It’s good to be mostly finished eating a few hours before bed, so your body won’t be busy digesting. These foods and drinks promote sleep if you want a snack:
- whole grains
- cherries or tart cherry juice
- chamomile tea
What to avoid:
- alcohol – it’s a sedative, but litters sleep with awakenings through the night. It also blocks or decreases REM sleep
- marijuana – blocks or decreases REM sleep (CBD doesn’t seem to impact sleep, but there haven’t been enough studies)
Journal what happened in your day, so thoughts and emotions won’t keep you awake. Venting helps so much!
A hot bath or shower is nice before bed. Your brain needs to drop 2-3 degrees to initiate sleep. This will allow your body to dump heat and your muscles will get relaxed.
While snuggled in bed
Relax your body and clear your mind. If you find that you’re tense or stressed, try tensing and relaxing all muscles from your toes to your head. After that, it’s time to find a good position to relax into. Side sleeping has been found to be the best, because it has the lowest impact on the spine. To clear your mind, you can pay attention to your breathing, listen to the sounds that happen around you or focus on what you see. Allow yourself to fall asleep.
Find a gentle way of waking up. I have an alarm set to play music that I like, quietly. It wakes me up peacefully. Try not to use the snooze button, because it’s a stressful event for the cardiovascular system. If you wake up slowly, you might be able to recall more dreams before starting your day.
Get better sleep
By adjusting your daily routine and making some of these ideas a long term practice, you can improve your sleep. Please let me know if anything helped or share some of your favorite ways to get a good night’s sleep.
Photo by Kasper Rasmussen on Unsplash