Body & Fitness

5 natural ways to fall asleep faster

The best, scientifically proven ways to get a better night's sleep - without counting sheep.
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Do you constantly find yourself feeling tired and sluggish? Are you basically falling asleep by the time the late afternoon rolls around?

Do your evenings consist of you doing your best to try and fall asleep at a reasonable hour but instead remaining awake despite feeling absolutely exhausted all day? If this is you, you’re not alone.

What’s more, there is hope and it doesn’t have to involve a prescription pad. There are many natural ways to fall asleep faster that don’t involve counting any sheep and which are scientifically proven to help you get those eight precious hours we all crave, doctors tell us we need, and we so often find ourselves struggling to get.

1. Exercise

If you’ve been skipping gym sessions lately, it could be time to get back at it, at least for the sake of your sleep if not your waistline.

When presented with cases of insomnia, most doctors recommend taking up an exercise regimen, even though the jury is still officially out on just why exercise helps us get to sleep and not all forms of exercise will help you fall sleep easier.

Studies have shown sessions of moderate exercise can have a significant impact on the time it takes to fall asleep.

The study involved people experiencing chronic insomnia, who were asked to engage in moderate and rigorous exercise. It was found that the moderate group got to sleep faster than they previously could and faster than the rigorous group. So go for a brisk walk on the treadmill but maybe avoid the weight room.

2. Get Quality Bedding

Unfortunately, when experiencing issues with falling asleep, many of us immediately turn to outside help, usually in the form of sleeping pills or other supplements and aids.

It’s remarkable how few of us even consider the fact that the very thing we sleep on might actually be contributing to our restless nights and may be in need of an upgrade.

If you have the means, it’s highly advisable to seek a high-quality mattress suited to your sleeping style, with orthopaedic pillows that are also tailored to your sleeping style and provide ample comfort and support so you’re comfortable when trying to fall asleep.

Your bedsheets are another important factor, with bamboo sheets often recommended for the breathable, climate-controlling qualities of the material.

3. House Plants

Plants should be an addition to anybody’s home. They’re absolutely teeming with benefits for your health and the health of your family, from filtering your air and absorbing toxins, to producing oxygen and improving the conditions of those living with allergies.

Believe it or not, the right plants can help you get to sleep faster.

You don’t have to go out and buy super-rare (and super expensive) plants that are impossible to find outside of a botanist’s garden bed, either. Several studies have shown lavender increases calm and reduces anxiety and has even been found to improve the sleep quality of infants.

Other naturally sleep-boosting plants include snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue), jasmine, gardenias, and valerian, which is popular in oral capsule form, but it’s been found just sniffing the plant has the same calming effects.

4. Meditate

You’ve probably heard all about meditation and how much it can help you manage stress and anxiety.

You’ve probably considered trying it out for yourself so you can be as calm and sanguine as your friends who regularly meditate and just don’t seem to have any issue with the ever-mounting pressures of everyday life. So, this begs the question, what’s stopping you?

You don’t have to invest in expensive retreats or classes to start meditating.

There’s instructional videos online and apps like Headspace provide a handy guide to introduce you to the world of meditation. As for its benefits, studies by Harvard have found meditation effectively triggers the body’s natural relaxation response, priming you for a deep and restful sleep.

5. Control Your Temperature

our internal body temperature and the temperature of your room have a big impact on how well you sleep.

You don’t want to be too hot, but you don’t want to be chilly either.

Good quality bed sheets will help you prevent overheating. Avoid synthetics and anything that doesn’t breathe easy and will just trap heat and cook you while you’re trying to fall asleep.

It’s best to sleep in a room that’s relatively cool, about 15-19 degrees Celsius, to facilitate your body’s natural temperature-drop, which occurs when we fall asleep and hits its lowest point between 2 and 4am.

It’s best if you pair the cool room with a hot shower. This will cause your body temperature to drop more rapidly, slowing your metabolism and priming you for sleep.

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