8 Sleep Remedies
8 min read
Looking for tips and sleep remedies to help support healthy night’s rest? We list our top eight here, but remember, it’s not just about taking a magic pill or potion, it is about changing your entire approach.
While it may seem obvious, limiting your caffeine intake is a tried-and-true sleep remedy. We love our coffee in Australia and we are a nation of caffeine fiends. It’s surprising how much caffeine we encounter in our daily lives. It is often the necessary crutch we cling to, brought about by our lack of sleep. However, it is also often found to be the culprit in sleeplessness.
Why not tally your daily consumption up? You may be surprised.
Coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate, those mega-sized lattes. It can all add up to a high level of caffeine floating around our systems. Don’t go cold turkey on it, because you may experience withdrawal symptoms in the form of headaches. Do make a gradual goal to cut back and be surprised at the difference.
By this, we mean establishing a strict set of sleep behaviours. It may seem impossible. But you can train your body into better patterns by repetition. It may take some time, but it may eventually help you to settle into a sound sleeping habit.
The trick is not to give up. It may take days, or even weeks, for the habit to stick. So, if you are lying awake grinding your teeth by night three, don’t give in. It’s just a matter of time!
Because the harsh truth is, attempting to “catch up” sleep on the weekend does not work. Establish the same routine so your internal alarm clock kicks in. And no, it’s not a mythical creature!
Exercise may seem like the furthest option from your tired, sleep ravaged mind. Yet it’s time to adjust your thinking. Regular exercise helps maintain overall health and better sleep function. Also, being knackered from a workout is going to help you sleep.
It’s a no-brainer. There are some arguments swirling around the most optimal time to exercise. There are equal enthusiasts for an early morning as there are for the evening. Experiment to find what fits best for you. This is about causing less stress, not more!
Perhaps not the one for snails curing warts or the other crazy tales. But sometimes, these old wives tales really do work. A glass of warm milk before bed is one of the more common sleep remedies. As it turns out, there is a basis behind why it may actually help to induce sleep.
This is because milk contains the chemical tryptophan. L-tryptophan (tryptophan’s official name) is an amino acid that’s found in some foods, including milk. Consuming tryptophan doesn’t immediately impact serotonin levels.
It’s just one of many different amino acids that compete to get transported to the brain. Tryptophan is one of the least represented amino acids, which means that it may get shoved out of the way by the others.
That’s where carbohydrates come in. Eating carb helps tryptophan easily enter the brain, boosting serotonin levels. Use this to your advantage and eat a light carbohydrate snack with a glass of milk before bedtime. (National Sleep Foundation).
It is a good idea to do this anyway, regardless of your quality of sleep. A technology-free bedroom can contribute to an oasis of calm that induces true sleep. Any kind of blue light emitted from appliances can cause interrupted sleep (2). Devices like televisions, computer or phone screens all emit this type of light (2).
Why does this cause light issues? It prevents the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone (2). Added to this is the mental distraction afforded by email, social media and engaging in shows. The bedroom is for sleeping.
Get yourself an alarm clock instead of your phone. Ban all televisions and computer equipment. Think of your bedroom as a haven for you and your partner to sleep and connect.
Have a lower temperature in the bedroom if at all possible. You know how disruptive it can be to sleep in an Australian summer. The hot temperature and humidity can make it hard to get to and stay asleep.
You may find it difficult to sleep when the temperature climbs above 24 degrees celsius. Combat this by opening a window, having a breeze, a fan or even an air conditioner running. Cooling your core down may help regulate your body temperature and prevent tossing and turning.
This is one of those sleep remedies that may seem like an old wives tales but that actually resonates true. Think about it, you bathe your children before bedtime. Not just for cleanliness, but as part of a routine (bath then bed), and in the hope the warm water may help them unwind and become relaxed and sleepy. The same process works for an adult. The soothing warmth and feeling of relaxing in a warm bath or hot shower can be just the thing to help you drift off.
Use the time spent soaking to unwind your stresses from the day. A soak with essential oils like lavender and even Epsom (magnesium) salts may help you to relax and can help aid more restful sleep. Use this bath time to ruminate and relax – you may like to have quiet music or try a guided meditation while you’re at it.
There is one important thing to keep in mind when attempting to relieve temporary periods of restless sleep. You can try these tips individually but may not have a lot of success – these sleep remedies are intended to form part of a holistic solution.
If you’re worried about your sleeping habits, make an appointment with your friendly local GP. They can assess your individual needs and provide tailored advice.
Have you found this information useful? If so, you may be interested in the following:
1. National Sleep Foundation, “How Alcohol Affects the Quality – and Quantity – of Sleep”, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/how-alcohol-affects-sleep
2. Harvard Health Publishing, May 2012, “Blue Light Has a Dark Side”, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
3. The Sleep Council, “Perfect Sleep Environment”, https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/perfect-sleep-environment/
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