Getting a good night sleep is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and plays a key role in getting a successful start to your day. Not only does a full night of uninterrupted sleep (7-8 hours minimum for an adult) support your physical health, it’s also key to good mental health and a good quality of life.
Wonderful as sleep is for us, sometimes it doesn’t come easy. Most people experience times when they are mentally and physically tired, but are unable to fall asleep. Whether sleeplessness is caused by too much caffeine before bed or caused by too much stress keeping your brain overstimulated, insomnia (the clinical medical term for an inability to sleep for an adequate length of time) can cause mental, emotional and physical strain on the body.
Here are five tips to help you fall asleep:
- Read a book. Instead of turning on the TV before bed, open a book. Participating in a calming activity at night helps the body ease into a more restful sleep. This tactic works best with less engaging books, so perhaps choose a book you’ve already read.
- Meditate. Meditating before you go to sleep has a calming effect on the body and is an effective way to help settle down an overactive mind. Concentrate on your breathing, clear your head of all thoughts and slowly relax your body. Count your breath in for five and out for five. If thoughts keep creeping in, just let them pass through.
- Eat a healthy snack. Eating a small healthy snack with warm decaffeinated tea has been shown to help people to fall asleep. While eating large meals late at night is not recommended, small late night snacks are one way to provide comfort and relaxation.
- Listen to music. Playing some relaxing music before bed can take the focus off of things that may be troubling you or keeping you wake. Allowing your mind to wander along with familiar rhythms and melodies can have a hypnotic, calming effect.
- Stay active. Tiring your body out during the day can help you fall asleep faster at night. Certain types of exercise can also help to calm your mind. Try a mindful activity such as yoga or pilates to achieve a good balance.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement.