In this day and age, getting a good night's sleep comes with a heavy price tag. Our world is wurring around us, beeping, plopping and screaming for our attention 24/7.
I used to find it brutally hard to relax and sleep a full night - without it being disturbed. But, after years of poor sleep and grinding my teeth, I thought enough was enough, and I went on a deep dive to find how to improve sleep quality and get a better night's sleep.
Lucky for you - today - I am going to share with you the tried and tested methods I found worked. All of them are natural!
No Caffeine After Noon
Without knowing it I used to consume way too much caffeine. I love Coffee but I didn't realise that by the end of the day I would b drinking at 6 or 7 cups of something caffeinated. If you're drinking coffee, tea, soda (like coke) every day, then you're consuming a lot of caffeine; potentially too much.
We know that Caffeine helps us feel alert in the morning but in reality, it is a psychoactive drug. When you drink a coffee the drug is active for a very long time. After 4 or so hours the levels of caffeine are roughly half of what they were, after a further 6 hours there is still a quarter of the caffeine left.
It means that 10 hours after your drink, you are still feeling the effects. If you have a drink after 12 then you may as well be shooting a quarter of a cup of coffee before bed.
The best way to improve your sleep quality is to be careful with what you are consuming. No caffeine after 12, and limit your consumption. Your sleep with thank you!
Exercise at least 3 times a week
This goes without saying: the more energy you expend, the more your body wants to rest.
I have become fairly fundamental on this recently: it isn't hard to just go out for a walk, run or go to the gym. Regardless of your condition, a little bit every day is hugely beneficial to your general wellbeing, and your sleep.
Exercise helps to relax your mind, improves circulation and helps get rid of all that excess energy. For millions of years, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers and lived a 'work and reward' lifestyle. Our physiology has been tweaked over thousands of years to operate under these conditions and being active enables your body to work properly.
Now, I don't imagine that sitting on a couch all day is going to do you much good. We've only been this sedentary for maybe 15 or so years - and our lack of sleep came at the same time.
If you're reading this and dreading the thought of going to the gym then don't worry - you just need to do a little bit. That may be a 10 or 15 minute walk, dance or jiggle.
Personally - think consistency is key. For the past 2 years, I have run/walked for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week and do a little bodyweight/gym exercise. I walk or swim in between when I feel up for it too.
I have found that my sleep is so much better and my general wellbeing has improved no end.
Exercise and you will see how much better your sleep will become.
Try Mindfulness for a Better Sleep
The epidemic of sleeplessness is partly caused by widespread instances of toxic tension and stress. The world around us is very busy and it can sometimes feel like your mind is going crazy 24/7. Work, kids, social media, emails, texts, friends, family, troubles all at 24 hours a day.
There just simply isn't time to give your mind a rest, and this causes a buildup of toxic stress.
The tension and constant stress create issues such as anxiety, depression and, you guessed it, an inability to get a good night's sleep. Not to mention physical health issues such as poor digestion, IBS or inflammatory diseases.
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your surroundings without judgement or thought. You can just be in the moment of here and now, without your mind running away with itself.
This practice is difficult to start with but, like exercise, it gets easier over time. Plus, mindfulness has a compounding effect so a little everyday can have huge benefits for your sleep quality for years to come.
Mindfulness can be many things. While some advise meditation, others just say that being still for a while is enough. Just make sure you're comfy (I deck out in my Oodie Alternative)...
Me? I do two things- I like to sit in the morning with a cup of something warm and just be still. Usually looking out of the window and being present. I also like to go for long walks and use my time at the gym to be still.
You can maybe tell, but I also find writing therapeutic.
CBD for a Better Sleep Naturally
The online world has gone mad with online remedies for this, and for that. CBD has recently become that very thing. Wherever you look, CBD has become the cure for just about anything.
CBD is a compound derived from Cannabis, and unlike THC, CBD, is not psychoactive and will not make you high. It does however have a naturally soothing array of benefits that can help with your ability to sleep.
I am always wary of new ways to improve your sleep naturally, but I have tried CBD and have been taking it for many years now. I'd say it is worth it.
I usually take an extract containing CBD every morning and evening with my regular list of supplements. I find that it helps me feel more relaxed, feel less anxious and more positive.
While sometimes I still struggle to get to sleep when I take CBD I do sleep deeper, for longer and I am more rested on the other side.
Of all the ways I have tried to get better sleep naturally, I'd say CBD is the best.
Improve Your Diet
It is a fact that your gut is directly linked to your mental health and your quality of sleep.
Research has shown that your gut biome plays a significant role in ensuring that your brain is functioning properly - plus the things you eat will fuel your brain, build your body and influence the way it works.
If you eat bland, fatty, salty, processed foods then your body is not getting enough nutrition and may start to function incorrectly. The longer your body is fueled incorrectly, the worse your health, wellbeing and sleep will become.
The best way to help your gut (and body) is to eat fresh, healthy and natural food - zero processed foods.
It is essential that you think about what you are putting into your body and limit the levels of processed fats, sugar and chemicals you're consuming.
Foods like Bananas, kiwi fruit, fresh cows milk and nuts are also all known to contain compounds that aid sleep too.
Eat right, and your body will look after you.
Say No To Alcohol
We've all been there - a couple of drinks before heading off to bed can be a great way to spend a Friday night. While it sometimes feels like you nod off like a log, your body is doing something different.
Alcohol disrupts your natural sleeping pattern and can cause a restless, active and unfulfilling night's sleep.
You may not know it, but your sleep quality will plummet if you have a few drinks before sleeping.