Kimberly Hayes of Public Health Alert is a guest contributor covering the topic of budget friendly self-care.
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at the clock, struggling to fall asleep while tossing and turning all night, you’re in good company. The Sleep Health Foundation estimates that as many as one in three people struggle with insomnia.
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation has been linked to physical and mental conditions from depression to high blood pressure and seizures. Lack of sleep can also lead to injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and dangerous addictions to prescription sleeping pills.
Our well-being is connected to proper sleep, so it’s crucial to address insomnia, no matter how mild the symptoms might be. Luckily, better sleeping habits can go a long way in helping you naturally improve your quality of sleep. Here are some ways to get more shuteye without resorting to prescription medications:
Upgrade Your Bedding
Experts recommend changing your mattress every seven years. However, listen to your body. If your mattress is several years old and you’re feeling aches and pains throughout the night, it may be time to invest in a new mattress sooner than later.
Before purchasing a new mattress, research the best mattresses for your preferred sleeping position. For instance, if you sleep on your back or stomach, spinal alignment can become an issue. To avoid misalignment or pain, My Slumber Yard recommends a supportive bed like the Purple mattress. Ideally, your hips should slightly sink down into your mattress, while keeping your spine in proper alignment.
While you’re at it, you might also consider investing in a weighted blanket for your bed. Heavier than traditional blankets, weighted blankets provide the comforting sensation of being wrapped in a warm hug. Weighted blankets may help treat insomnia, anxiety, and even autism, although more research is needed. According to Harvard, for best results, you should invest in a weighted blanket that weighs approximately 10 percent of your body weight.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you find yourself getting too hot to sleep at night, you might try cooling blankets and comforters instead. Keep the blinds drawn during the day, especially during hotter seasons, to maintain a cooler temperature in your bedroom. Consider running a fan or lowering the thermostat while you sleep. Lastly, invest in pajamas made from cotton, rayon, or linen to keep you cool.
Natural Sleeping Aids
There are many prescription-free ways to naturally aid your body’s sleep process. High-CBD oils, for instance, contain sedating ingredients like THC and myrcene. Because more studies are needed, many people prefer a more traditional approach instead. Alternatives like chamomile tea or a relaxation massage can soothe the body and mind into slumber.
You might also add aromatherapy to your bedtime routine. Essential oils like lavender can help you unwind, but before using essential oils, do your research. Make sure you’re buying a quality oil. You can diffuse essential oils into the air or mix them with coconut or jojoba oil before applying to your skin. Because allergic reactions can occur (though rarely), test a few drops of oil first before increasing the amount of oil you use.
Assist Your Circadian Rhythm
One final tip: Help your body get into a natural sleep cycle. Your circadian rhythm is the internal clock telling your body when it’s time to rest. You can assist your circadian rhythm by waking and going to bed at the same time each day. Try to keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. Additionally, unplug and avoid screen time before bed.
Next time you’re having trouble sleeping, resist the urge to surf the web or watch television. Instead, get up and read a book or do some gentle stretching until you feel tired again. Activities like meditation or yoga may help ease your body back to sleep. Insomnia and sleep deprivation are frustrating conditions that wreak havoc on our mental and physical health. Luckily, with some self-care and healthy habits, it’s often possible to get better sleep without resorting to prescription medications.
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