Everyone needs a great night’s sleep, but so many of us miss out night after night. Thankfully Cass Telford has tips to sleep well, the natural way.
(Photo by Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash)
If you’ve been feeling a little tired and cranky in the morning, you definitely aren’t alone. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30% (or 40.6 million Americans) sleep six or fewer hours a day. Night shift workers are being particularly hard hit. College students are also feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. Thankfully there are natural ways to help you enjoy a great night’s sleep, starting with something simple.
A 2014 study by S Hershner et al reported that around 50% of college students report daytime sleepiness and 80% attain insufficient sleep. The consequences of skimping on sleep are numerous. They include impaired learning, a higher risk of motor vehicle accidents, mood issues such as anxiety, and more. Sleeping less than the required number of hours additionally ups the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and stroke. If you are committed to making sleep a bigger priority in your life, try doing so naturally, by following our tips below.
Stay active during the day
The National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll found that there is an important link between exercising regularly and enjoying a great night’s sleep. Those who exercised reported better sleep than those who were inactive. Plus, those who were active were also more likely to describe their sleep as ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good’. The American Heart Foundation recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, for the average person. They also suggest 40 minutes of aerobics three to four times a week for those wishing to lower their risk of heart attack and stroke.
Nature’s little helpers: Essential oils
Therapeutic grade essential oils can help battle stress and anxiety, which is important before bedtime if you are a stressed worker or student. Studies have shown that lavender, in particular, has a soothing effect. Other commonly used oils include orange, vetiver, and cedarwood. These oils can add a beautiful fragrance to your bedroom with the help of an essential oil diffuser, which will help create a peaceful ambiance that inspires a bit of R ‘n R.
Eastern holistic practices such as yoga and mindfulness meditation have been shown in numerous studies to lower stress levels. They do so by lowering the stress hormone, cortisol, which is why they are often recommended for those with insomnia. One study by researchers at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that “Sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, sleep quality and depression [all] improved in patients who used meditation.” Insomnia is believed to be a 24-hour problem of hyper-arousal, which is why engaging in relaxation techniques even during the daytime can be very helpful at bedtime.
Sticking to a routine
Working irregular hours or night shifts, as well as sleeping at odd hours, interferes with the body’s circadian rhythms. This causes a plethora of health issues, including fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, and other problems. If you work at night, try to ensure your shift is as regular as possible. Rely on aids such as blackout curtains and soundproofing to ensure you sleep well. Those who do not work shifts should aim to stick to the same bedtime every night. I also recommend adopting a relaxation routine that can include enjoying a warm shower, drinking a cup of chamomile tea, and engaging in progressive muscle relaxation or meditation before sleeping.
Skipping out on vital sleep has serious effects on your physical and mental health. Take this issue seriously and aim to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Exercise daily, adopt a bedtime routine, and make an effort to proactively battle stress.
Being in a calm state will help you enjoy a restful sleep that will ensure you wake up with a bounce in your step. There’s nothing more important than a great night’s sleep!
Additional Great Night’s Sleep Photo Credit: Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash
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