One of the most common life struggles is a lack of sleep. Lack of restorative sleep is often the result of stress, health struggles, or deficiencies in the body. When a person sleeps, health throughout the body is restored, brain functions are strengthened, and information is retained.
When deprived of sleep on a regular basis, these functions are impaired and can result in various health issues, including diabetes and heart disease. Here are a few ways to improve your sleep and ensure a night of peace and restoration.
Limit your caffeine
While many believe that a cup of tea or coffee with dinner won’t affect their slumber, caffeine can stay in your system for over eight hours. While it typically takes only 30 minutes for caffeine to reach its peak stimulus level, it takes the body anywhere from three to six hours to deplete only half of what is consumed. That being said, a cup of joe with dessert can stay in a person’s bloodstream well into the night, affecting both their ability to sleep and the quality of sleep they achieve.
There are some who can consume caffeine later in the day and have no difficulty falling asleep, but even these instances come at a cost. Due to the extensive process required to eliminate caffeine from the body, the proper REM cycles required for quality sleep are often unachieved, resulting in a variety of health concerns.
Many who don’t reach the deepest state of sleep will experience fatigue, impaired memory retention and thought processing, and even stunted long-term growth in the case of young adults.
Take a holistic approach
There are plenty of holistic remedies in practice for those experiencing insomnia. From melatonin to lavender and chamomile tea, you have a wide variety of options to help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
The human body contains hormones responsible for our sleep patterns such as melatonin. Taking supplements and beverages made with these hormones replenishes deficiencies and signals the brain to power down for the night. Taking melatonin tablets can effectively shorten the amount of time it takes for a person to fall asleep, as well as lengthen the duration of their sleep as a whole.
CBD supplements are an increasingly popular choice in the insomniac community for their power to alleviate daily stressors and relax both mind and body. By triggering the endocannabinoid system in the body, CBD signals the receptors involved in the body’s circadian rhythm and alerts the mind that it’s time for sleep.
Keep it dark
One of the easiest ways to improve sleep quality is to limit all forms of light intake. A person’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is set to keep track of the time of day based on light. When exposed to daily sunlight and evening darkness, the pattern of night and day stays consistent in order for this system to function properly.
In the world of constant technology, blue light from televisions and cell phones often alters sleep patterns. Disconnecting from electronics for an hour or two before attempting to sleep can signal the brain (and circadian rhythm) and alert them that it’s no longer daylight.
Limiting daily light intake from lamps and overhead lights should be limited for at least half an hour before bed in order to gradually prepare the mind to rest. Setting a consistent schedule of sleep from weekdays to weekends trains your circadian rhythm to detect daytime versus nighttime, thus ensuring quality sleep patterns.
Everyone’s body works in its own unique way, so there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy for improving and extending your quality of sleep. The best way to improve your sleep is through a process of trial and error. It takes time to retrain the mind and body to maintain healthy habits, but putting the work in by following the aforementioned tips can pay off greatly in the long run.