Over the last twenty years, sleep became undervalued. More people are sleeping less than 6 hours a night, and with the ubiquity of personal electronic devices we’ve allowed the quality of our sleep to slip in favor of having the bright LEDs close by, and the constant updates of friend’s text messages, status updates, and tweets.
Unfortunately, poor sleep and lack of sleep have many side-effects: weight gain, increase risk of heart attack and stroke, poor mental cognition, and a decrease in quality of life.
Many value their sleep, but are still suffer insomnia as an unwanted side-effect of other problems. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), according to a new study, can significantly contribute to insomnia. The Society of Women’s Health Research is also raising awareness about the fact that women are more likely than men to suffer from insomnia—hormones, from pregnancy and later menopause, play a significant role in disturbing natural sleep.
So, how to sleep better?
First, eliminate noise and light. Black-out curtains can cut down on street lights and passing cars, while inside your room you can opt to charge your cell phone elsewhere and make sure that the TV is off before bed (use a sleep timer or move it to the living room).
Make sure that your bed is a comfortable place (with weather-appropriate bedding) that you associate with sleep—that means reducing other activities like reading, lounging, or playing on your phone in bed.
Find natural sleep aids that work for you. White noise helps some people clear out other distractions, in their room or their brain. Others benefit from soothing smells like lavender or vanilla, which have been shown to calm the brain. Everyone can benefit from the sort of natural sleep aid that also encourages healthy brain function/rejuvenation at night, like Nite MGR, which contains melatonin and other neurotransmitters as well as nutrients the brain and body need.
Finally, a pre-bed meditative ritual, such as visually shelving your problems for the night or counting sheep, can help the mind trail off to sleep.
Share your tricks for getting to sleep and staying asleep in the comments: