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Start 2022 Feeling Well Rested!
Here’s how you can get better sleep for the New Year!
If you’ve settled on a New Year’s resolution to be healthier in 2022, your first step may need to be to consider how well you’re sleeping at night. When you think about it, sleep is the foundation for our overall wellbeing. While you sleep, your body uses the time at rest to maintain, repair, and improve your metabolism, memory, and immune system, which is your body’s first line of defense against diseases. Sleeping is also the time when your body can heal and repair your heart or blood vessels. In short, getting enough sleep contributes to maintaining a healthy weight, preserving your mental well-being and mood, lowering your risk of falling ill, and preventing the development of serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
On average, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to stay healthy and happy. If you are not getting enough restful sleep each, you could suffer from feelings of anxiety and depression, face cognitive impairments, weight gain, and have a heightened risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. This is why the key to being healthier in the new year starts with improving your sleep. Luckily, we’ve gathered 8 natural remedies to have you sleeping better in no time!
Keep a consistent bedtime routine.
You might have thought your days of having a bedtime ended when you left childhood, but consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time every day has been shown to improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep. Going to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends, holidays, or other special occasions, helps your body establish your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal sleep-wake cycle.
When you wake up at the same time each day, you’ll also find that it gets easier to motivate yourself to get up and get moving, even if you’re not a morning person. However, having a set time to wake up also creates a strong desire for sleep through wakefulness. This urge to sleep will gradually build throughout the day, which then makes it easier to sleep at night. But when you sleep in and then try to go to bed at your normal hour, you may find it more difficult to drift off to sleep because your body feels like it’s going to bed hours earlier than normal. Therefore, the key to better sleep is to keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up time as much as possible.
Use your nose.
Did you know that your nose could be causing your insomnia? Even if you don’t realize it, your nose might not like the way your bedroom smells. What you smell results in the special cells in your nose, called neurons, rapidly sending signals to your brain and throughout the body that could be keeping you awake if the body is interpreting the scent as an irritating compound.
Many people have found that aromatherapy is a viable solution to help them fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Aromatherapy relies on essential oils that are made using herbs from plants and flowers that are known to promote relaxation and have a calming scent. When you expose your body to these pleasant smells, it could help you sleep better because you’ve cultivated an environment that’s comforting to all the senses. If you think aromatherapy may be right for you, click here to learn more!
People with insomnia often complain that they can’t sleep because they have trouble relaxing or their mind is racing. If this is something you struggle with, you may find meditation to be a valuable tool for you. Even spending just a few minutes a day meditating can make a difference! If you’re not sure where to start, consider downloading a meditation app to guide you. Many apps feature guided meditations designed specifically for getting better sleep, too!
Consider the temperature.
During the Summer, insomnia is common because it’s too hot for people to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Of course, the cure to that is to turn down the temperature. But in the Winter, people have the opposite problem where they are too cold to fall asleep! Alternatively, people will turn their thermostats up too high to combat freezing temperatures and ultimately make their bedrooms too warm to sleep.
That said, lowering your skin temperature prior to sleeping can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. But this cool down should be done within reason. You want to be cool, but not cold. Experts advise that keeping your bedroom temperature somewhere between 62-degrees and 68-degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick!
Soak up the sun in the morning.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body releases in the hours leading up to bedtime that make you feel tired. Your body should naturally start producing melatonin when it gets dark outside. This means your body will produce more melatonin in the Winter when it gets dark sooner, and less melatonin in Summer when the days are longer.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night or tend to feel down during Winter, it may mean your body’s production of melatonin is out of whack. Your body is either producing too much or too little melatonin at the wrong times. One of the best ways to fix this naturally is to soak in the sunlight early in the day. Go for a walk outside in the morning or eat breakfast by a bright window. Exposure to light early in the day should help your body naturally correct its production of melatonin. If you still can’t sleep at night, you can take natural melatonin supplements that are available over the counter an hour or two before going to bed. However, always consult your doctor before starting new medications or supplements.
Cut out the nighttime snacking.
It’s no secret that uncomfortable indigestion or heartburn can keep you awake at night. But the activity of digesting alone can make it hard for your body to transition into sleep mode. Therefore, it’s best to make dinner your lightest meal of the day and cut out nighttime snacking so your body spends less time digesting and more time resting. In addition, avoid consuming foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as chocolate or coffee, by mid-afternoon.
Don’t underestimate the importance of an exercise routine.
There’s really no time of year when exercising is a bad decision, but having a consistent exercise routine seems to be particularly helpful during Winter. In addition to warding off depression from Seasonal Mood Disorder (SAD) that can occur during the Winter, exercising also helps strengthen your body’s natural circadian rhythm. And that doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every single day for a hard workout. Making time for a walk around the block or planning a cardio workout 3-4 days a week could be enough to improve your sleep schedule!
Get your pet their own bed.
For many of us, snuggling with our pets at night is comforting and we feel safer with them around. But if your pet is a bed hog or moves around during the night, they may be disturbing your slumber. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that 53% of adults who sleep with their pets experience sleep disruptions every night. Therefore, it might be best to cuddle your pet before bedtime and then sleep in separate beds. You can even put the pet bed in your bedroom so you are still close together and can take comfort in being able to see each other.