Last updated: April 10, 2017
The fast pace of our modern world places an ever-increasing variety of demands on us which can begin to affect our sleep over time. As the stress in our lives builds up, we may find ourselves having trouble sleeping at night. Many of us have constant demands on our time from family, a career, or school. The stress and changing sleep patterns may put us in a position where we're tired but can't sleep.
Consistent changes in our sleep patterns can interrupt the circadian rhythm of our bodies, the internal biological clock which regulates sleep, causing us to have trouble dozing off when we want to. Many remedies to sleep problems have been tried over the years. What works for you may be different from what works for me when I can't sleep at night. The idea behind the variety of methods presented here is that they give you an opportunity to try different things until you find what works best for you.
The following are some of the methods you can use to get an idea of what to do if you can't sleep. Find which ones work best for you so that you can develop a routine that will help you consistently sleep through the night.
Table of Contents
Find the Right Mattress for Your Sleep Style
The type of mattress you use can affect your rest in different ways depending on the position you feel most comfortable sleeping in. Whether you're a side-sleeper, sleep on your back, sleep on your stomach or a combination of each; the type of mattress you use makes a big difference. The amount of firmness, the size, and height of the mattress are all things to take into consideration when deciding on the right mattress for you.
If you like to sleep on your side, chances are high that you also like to sleep in the "fetus" position, with your back curled and your arms and legs bunched up in front of you. Sleeping in this type of position creates pressure points at the shoulders and hips. The recommended mattress for side-sleepers is a mattress which is soft enough to help relieve these pressure points, while still being firm enough to provide support.
Back sleepers tend to be a minority of the population, comprising roughly ten to thirteen percent of all sleepers. The best mattress for these types of sleepers is a medium-firm level bed that gives the support needed for the lower back without being overly rigid.
Stomach sleepers comprise an even smaller portion of the overall population, making up about seven to ten percent of sleepers. A firm mattress is the best mattress type for these sleepers. The main concern with sleeping in this position is sinking in to the mattress too far, causing the spine to bend and creating back pain over time. A firm mattress can help provide support to the midsection and alleviate pain.
If you're one of those people that move around a lot during the night floating from one position to another, a medium-firm mattress is best for you. While this type of mattress isn't soft enough for someone who sleeps on their side all the time, it provides a good compromise for someone that switches among various different positions.
Find the Right Pillow
A good pillow provides just the right amount of comfort and support for your spine and neck. This is imperative for getting proper rest and helping you when you can't sleep through the night. A flat pillow, or one that is unsuited for your sleeping posture, might be one of the reasons you can't fall asleep. As with choosing the proper mattress to match your sleep style, so choosing the correct type of pillow is important in sleeping better.
If you sleep on your back, a firm or medium pillow that conforms to the shape of your neck is ideal. If you sleep on your stomach, a very thin pillow helps to keep the back straight and your head in the appropriate position to avoid injury. If you sleep on your side, you should purchase a pillow that gives enough support to keep your head aligned with your spine.
Your body type is another important consideration when choosing the right pillow. Pillows are made in many sizes, with the standard-sized pillow being about twenty inches by twenty-six inches. If you're a tall person, you may require a large pillow or one that is a certain firmness to support the length of your body. A shorter person may require a pillow with different dimensions and firmness to support their neck and spine properly.
Using the guidelines provided here, experiment with different pillow types to find which one works best for your individual needs. A good pillow is a key aspect of getting comfortable in bed and helping you when you can't sleep through the night.
Get a Sleep Study
If you have difficulty falling asleep and simpler methods don't seem to be working for you, you can try participating in a sleep study to diagnose the problem. Sleep studies are tests designed to diagnose sleeping problems by monitoring you while you sleep. They are typically done on patients with a variety of sleep problems. These may include sleepwalking, sleep apnea, insomnia, repeated muscle twitching at night, excessive snoring and narcolepsy.
You can get a sleep study at the recommendation of your doctor. These are often performed at sleep centers, but can also sometimes be done at home with portable equipment you can use to monitor yourself.
According to webmd.com, there are three types of sleep studies which are commonly performed. Polysomnograms record multiple body functions. Typical measurements include air flow, breathing rate, muscle movements, heart rate, brain activity, carbon dioxide levels and eye movement. Maintenance of Wakefulness tests record whether or not you're able to stay awake during the times of day you want to stay awake. A multiple sleep latency test measures the length of time it takes you to fall asleep and records whether or not you enter REM sleep.
Another procedure can also be performed called actigraphy. During this type of sleep study, you wear a device on your wrist that measures your movements while asleep and awake to better determine your natural sleeping and active times during the day. In recent years this type of monitoring has been extended to include devices that can be purchased yourself through retail stores and apps on smartphones which can monitor your movements while asleep.
If you find yourself unable to fix your sleep disorders on your own, try to get a sleep study done to help you diagnose the problem.
Use a Water Flosser Before Bed
It has been long understood that good oral hygiene before bed can make you more comfortable and help you fall asleep faster. Going to bed without cleaning your teeth and gums can be an unpleasant experience and you may find yourself tossing and turning because of the unpleasant feeling in your mouth. A water flosser is a good way to quickly remove excessive food particles and other material in addition to regularly brushing your teeth.
A water flosser is an electronic device that uses water to remove and wash away loose plaque and bits of food. It has the advantage of being able to reach the small crevasses between the teeth and the tops of the gums easily. The water pressure generated by the device creates enough force to give your mouth and teeth a detailed cleaning.
Using a water flosser is an effective way to clean around dental work. People with braces can benefit from the flossers ability to clean in the hard to reach areas between the braces. People with dental crowns or bridges often have difficulty flossing with traditional string floss. With a water flosser, all you have to do is point and rinse.
It's been said that a water flosser makes a person more likely to floss because of the convenience of being able to point the device and wash instead of manipulating string floss around the mouth. If you use a water flosser regularly in this manner, you'll end up with healthier gums and fresher breath. With a clean mouth, you'll be able to get comfortable more quickly when trying to fall asleep.
Brush Your Teeth Before Bed
As stated in the last tip, a clean mouth is an important factor in being comfortable enough to fall asleep quickly. In addition to regular flossing, brushing your teeth at night before you go to bed is a necessity. Not only will you have the comfort of a clean mouth as you fall asleep, you'll prevent diseases of the gums and teeth from forming over time.
During the day, a film of plaque is constantly building up which takes twenty-four hours to mature. The bacteria that cause this release an acid at a steady pace that increases when you eat. Not brushing for a full day allows the plaque to prosper and can lead to the gradual erosion of you tooth enamel.
Failure to brush before bed means that you have up to eight hours during the night that bacteria and plaque has a chance to pile up, causing cavities and gum disease. Allowing plaque to build up over time in the mouth leads to the plaque turning into a hard yellow substance known as tartar. This rough substance causes inflammation and bleeding gums, which eventually leads to tooth loss.
According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. The recommended times are after breakfast in the morning and just before bed at night. The brush should be moved at a 45-degree angle to the gums in back and forth strokes for about two minutes.
No one likes going to bed with food particles in their teeth or bad breath. Taking the time to brush your teeth before bed will help ensure that you have a comfortable night's sleep. After all, no one gets a good night's sleep with a toothache.
Wear a Sleep Mask
One reason people may have trouble falling to sleep is the admittance of too much ambient light coming into the room from the outside. This is especially true if you live in the city among numerous light sources that may fill your bedroom with unwanted artificial light. One way filter out this light is through the use of a sleep mask.
A sleep mask can help some people fall asleep faster, sleep longer and get the recommended full eight hours of sleep each night. Dr. Simon Kyle, writing for Sleepio.com, states that nineteen percent of people surveyed reported being bothered by a light source before going to sleep, or while already sleeping. Too much light can disturb our circadian rhythm and cause the body to keep us awake when trying to fall asleep. Using a sleep mask will block most of the light from reaching your eyes and help the brain wind down your body clock.
There are some added benefits to using a sleep mask. It causes a decreased likelihood of rubbing your eyes during sleep. It also supports the bodies' tendency to create more melatonin when the brain senses complete darkness. People who work the night shift and sleep during the day can especially benefit from the use of a sleep mask to provide much needed darkness to help them fall asleep
If you find you have difficulty sleeping due to artificial light seeping into your room or get the bulk of your sleep during the day, a sleep mask may be very beneficial in helping you sleep.
Wear Earplugs Designed For Sleep
Along with light pollution making it difficult to sleep, too much noise can make it difficult to get your much needed rest. Potential sources of noise can come from outside or from your partner snoring beside you. If you sleep during the day the noise can be especially bad, as people go to work in the morning, garbage trucks rumble and cars roar by on the roads. One way to reduce the noise when you can't fall asleep is through the use of ear plugs.
The typical ear plug blocks out about 30 decibels of sound. This pretty much eliminates noise from traffic outside. Loud noises, such as your neighbor's lawnmower, will be reduced to a soft murmur. Many ear plugs are made of soft silicon which blocks out sound as it forms to the shape of your ear.
If you're plagued constantly by noise when trying to fall asleep and want to try ear plugs, there are some things to keep in mind. It isn't recommended to wear ear plugs every night, as doing so can prevent the ear from draining ear wax naturally and excess build-up can occur. Also, make sure to keep your ear plugs clean and replace them when the softness of the material begins to harden.
Keeping up with the necessary maintenance required with your ear plugs and using them only on particularly loud days will help you benefit from a quiet sleep.
Use a White Noise Machine
An alternative to using ear plugs is the use of a white noise machine. These devices create random, uniform volume sound meant to mask more unpleasant noises. White noise itself can be harsh, so these machines often produce softer tones in a frequency known as pink noise.
The Popular Science website describes how increasing the noise around you in order to help you sleep might seem counterintuitive, but for some sleepers white noise is better than silence. It isn't necessarily the fact that a noise occurs that wakes you, it's the sudden change in volume that causes you to be jolted out of sleep.
Some white noise machines also produce pleasant natural sounds such as wind blowing, waterfalls, rain, ocean waves and forest sounds. You can even use an ordinary household fan to produce a kind of white noise with the added benefit that you're circulating air in the room.
There are some people that find white noise distracting and instead prefer silence. While others swear they can't fall asleep without some form of white noise, even when the room they sleep in is otherwise silent. Experiment for yourself to find your personal preference to see if a white noise machine could be beneficial in helping you sleepwell.
Aromatherapy is the use of plant and essential oils to produce physical and psychological well-being. If you find yourself stressed out from a hectic lifestyle, aromatherapy may be able to calm you down at the end of the day and help you fall asleep faster.
Some oils act as a natural sedative on the body, which helps you relax and sleep better. Other types of oils have the opposite effect and act as a stimulant. Oils that stimulate you should be avoided just before going to bed to avoid potentially causing your difficulty in falling asleep to get worse. Aromaweb.com has some good information about the different methods you can use to improve your sleep along with some of the oils to avoid before sleeping.
It's important to do your research on the various products available when buying oils for aromatherapy. This is especially true in the United States, which doesn't have regulations on the use of the word aromatherapy on packaging. Products that contain artificial ingredients may be listed as being for aromatherapy, but in practice don't provide the natural therapeutic properties that will help you sleep better. Similarly, mass-produced fragrance oils contain synthetic chemicals and should not be used in place of natural choices for aromatherapy.
If the idea of using fragrant natural oils with calming properties sounds like a routine that can help you when you're having trouble sleeping, give aromatherapy a chance. You might find that you'll be able to fall asleep easier than ever before.
Take Naps During the Day
We've all taken our fair share of naps. Often we get tired in the early afternoon during the time of day midway between waking in the morning and going to sleep at night. Often people try not to take too many naps during the day, as they feel it will keep them up at night. With our busy lives we often don't have time to take a nap in the middle of the day even when it's our day off. But when you're able to find the time, a brief nap during the day can aid in greater productivity and give much-needed relief from mental fatigue.
Webmd.com suggests that our culture is increasingly one that demands a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week schedule and presents research that shows that a majority of Americans find themselves nodding off at work and fighting to stay awake. Many people drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages to stave of their sleep deprivation, but this is only a temporary solution which masks the problem instead of solving it.
It's suggested that a good length of time to get a nap is about ninety minutes. If you can afford the time for a nap like this during the day your mental acuity will improve and your productivity is likely to increase. If you can't spare the time for a lengthy nap, even a half-hour nap can help you stay awake long enough to finish your daily obligations and still be tired enough when you get home to fall asleep during the night.
Try a Sleep Aid
There are a variety of prescription sleep aids that can help you cure trouble with sleeping. While these drugs are not a permanent cure, they can help give you temporary relief from your sleeping troubles and help give you the strength to seek out a permanent solution.
At mayoclinic.org some varieties of sleeping pills are discussed, along with some antidepressants that have sedative properties. Benzodiazepine pills suppress the nervous system, causing your body to relax and prepare itself to fall asleep. Non-benzodiazepine sleeping pills are known to have less side-effects, but still come with some risk to people with certain medical conditions.
The main worry that people have when considering the use of these prescriptions is the potential to become addicted. As with any prescription drug, discussing your concerns with your doctor and following the directions as closely as possible will help to lessen the possibility of dependence.
You should weigh the risks associated with these prescriptions against the severity of the sleep disorders you have. If you've tried other sleep remedies and haven't yet found a solution, the final decision on whether it's worth the risk or not may depend on how severely your health is being affected by your difficulty getting good sleep.
Try Sleep Supplements
An alternative to sleeping pills are natural sleep supplements. These can help provide your body with an increased dose of the chemicals it produces to help you go to sleep. If you're having trouble sleeping these supplements may help you experience the drowsiness and relaxation that is required to drift off to sleep.
Chief among these chemicals produced in the body is melatonin, which is a hormone created in the pineal gland near the center of your brain. Melatonin is the chemical that regulates your natural body clock, or the circadian rhythm. While melatonin is shown to help people sleep, its long-term use in humans is largely untested. Prolonged use has been reported to cause grogginess when alertness is desired during the day. It's recommended that melatonin supplements only be used for a period of about a month or less.
Another supplement that's popular for treating both anxiety and problems with sleeping is valerian. This herbal extract is said to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and helps to create a higher quality of sleep. As with melatonin, valerian should only be regularly used for several months or less to avoid side effects such as headaches and impaired alertness from occurring.
Two additional herbal extracts which are taken as sleep supplements are chamomile and kava, which help with stress relief and general difficulty in sleeping. If you're a person who's hesitant to take sleeping pills, you may want to try some of these natural sleep supplements. They have less chance of causing addiction than prescription sleeping pills and can be had over the counter. If you're having difficulty feeling tired at bedtime and find yourself tossing and turning at night, give some of these sleep supplements a try.
Get a Mattress Topper
Mattress toppers are pieces of removable bedding that are placed on top of your mattress. Often people buy these to give more softness to a mattress which is too firm. Toppers help provide a more plush surface without depriving you of the normal support of your mattress.
There is some confusion as to the difference between mattress toppers and mattress pads. Mattress toppers are primarily used to provide extra comfort on top of a mattress. Mattress pads are thinner, and while they can also be used for extra comfort, they are used as a type of mattress protector as well.
Mattress toppers have traditionally been made of foam in an egg-crate style or a thin feather bed style. The most popular types of mattress toppers used today are made of memory foam. Memory foam mattress toppers conform to your body when you lay on them, providing extra support and helping to prevent tossing and turning while you sleep. Memory foam has the advantage of being more durable, less allergenic and much more comfortable than the old foam and feather mattress toppers.
A mattress topper can be purchased as a less expensive alternative to buying a new mattress. It can help provide extra comfort for a firm or aging mattress. Buying a mattress topper can be a good initial decision in what to do if you can't sleep.
Wear a Snoring Mask
Snoring is one of the most common sleep disorders affecting the sleeper and the people around them. It's estimated that about thirty percent of people between the ages of thirty and forty snore on a regular basis. Among people older than forty this increases to over forty percent. Snoring not only causes discomfort among those around that are trying to sleep, it can cause the sleeper to wake up when they breathe in too quickly through air passages that become blocked.
Snoring masks, also known as CPAP machines, are used on people suffering from sleep apnea. This disorder causes a person's breathing to become interrupted in short intervals during sleep. The likelihood of this happening is increased when a person regularly snores.
The mask pumps a constant supply of oxygen which opens airways and reduces the effort involved in inhalation. This helps reduce snoring and allows the user to get better sleep. But it comes with some potential drawbacks. There is an increased likelihood of getting a dry nose and throat from the constant air circulation. Some people also experience discomfort with the device attached and have difficulty adjusting to the forced air flow.
A snoring mask is an option in cases where a person's snoring is extreme and other methods of fixing the problem have already been tried without success. If you have breathing problems related to consistent and intrusive snoring, consult with your doctor about trying a snoring mask to see if it can alleviate your condition.
Wear a Mouth Guard
These dental mouth guards are devices which are usually prescribed and fitted by dentists for people who have obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder happens when the muscles around the throat and tongue relax and cause the airflow to the lungs to become blocked.
Mouth guards are offered as alternatives to snoring masks, or CPAP machines. These dental devices are recommended for people diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea and for those that find the use of a CPAP machine to be ineffective or too obtrusive. Use of a mouth guard will help keep your air passages open and prevent you from waking up during the night from an interruption in your regular breathing pattern.
In addition to being able to help in the treatment of sleep apnea, using a mouth guard can help curb the tendency to grind your teeth during the night. Prolonged teeth grinding at night can cause erosion of tooth enamel and make for a restless night's sleep for you and those around you.
If you suffer from a mild to moderate case of sleep apnea or just want to get some relief from nighttime teeth grinding for you and your loved ones, consider trying out a mouth guard.
Try Sleep Tracking Devices
There are a number of different devices designed to track your movements as you sleep. The idea behind these devices is that movement is equivalent to wakefulness. A prolonged lack of movement is a positive sign that you are in a deep and restful sleep.
Sleep tracking devices monitor you by using tiny motion detectors known as accelerometers which are capable of detecting how much you move while sleeping. They are often worn on the wrist like a watch and can be plugged in at a later time to check the statistics about your sleep patterns.
These devices can't identify the moments when you enter different stages of sleep. What they can do is pinpoint the general time period when you are most asleep and help you adjust your sleep schedule accordingly. Once you understand your internal sleep schedule better, you can make sure you go to bed when your body is ready. This can help you avoid some of the tossing and turning that happens when waiting for yourself to relax and fall asleep.
Sleep tracking apps are also available for your smartphone. Typically the phone is placed face down next to you while you sleep. The app uses the phone's accelerometer to track how much you move around during the night. A measurement is taken and some statistics about your restlessness is generated in the morning. These apps can provide you with a general idea of your sleep patterns, but are not entirely accurate. To get more accurate measurements of your sleep patterns make sure to visit a specialist.
Sleep trackers are not a solution for sleep disorders, but they are a useful step in finding answers to the difficulties you're having in falling asleep. Using them in tandem with some of the other tips to sleep better can only benefit you in understanding your needs when it comes to achieving a good night's rest.
Get a Good Alarm Clock
Waking up to an alarm clock has been a dreaded morning routine for many years. People wake up and fumble around groggily trying to turn off the alarm or press the snooze button. This kind of wake up behavior is a sign that you're not getting enough sleep during the night or that you don't adhere to a regular sleep schedule.
The best use of an alarm clock is in training your body to wake up at the same time each day. If you wake up at a similar time in the morning day after day, you're more likely to be tired during the hours you want to go to bed. Developing a proper sleep routine will help you get to sleep more quickly at night and might eventually help you wake up in the morning without the need for an alarm clock.
A good alarm clock is essential to help you wake up in the morning without falling back to sleep. It's been said that a loud and generally obnoxious sounding alarm is the best way to encourage you to get up and turn it off. It's also been suggested that you should place the alarm out of reach of your bed so that it forces you to get up to turn the alarm off. This increases the chances that you'll stay awake instead of falling back into bed afterwards.
Traditional alarm clocks have always had a bell for an alarm or, in recent decades, the annoying digital beeping sound of LCD clocks. Modern alarms are available that can play the music of your choice or nature sounds that are calming but still loud enough to wake you. Many people like to use their smart phones as an alarm in place of a traditional alarm clock.
The main usefulness in a good alarm clock is that it helps you schedule sleeping patterns which promote waking up at the same time each day. Developing this habit, along with going to bed at the same time each night, is one of the most effective ways of combating sleep troubles.
Use a Night Light
Research has suggested that too much light interrupts the circadian rhythm of our body. But the use of the right night light can actually soothe you and help you drift off to sleep more easily. Harsh blue light, like the light that is emitted from digital devices like smartphones, causes the body to wake up.
Red spectrum light, on the other hand, has been shown to help the body release the chemical melatonin, causing you to become drowsy in preparation for sleep. A number of night lights are made which give off a soft glow in the red spectrum for this purpose. Red spectrum light bulbs are also available, which minimize blue light wavelengths and max red ones without giving off a red glow.
Parents have long known that night lights can be a good way to encourage children that are afraid of the dark to fall asleep. They can also provide an extra layer of safety for you or your family members to get out of bed in the dark to use the bathroom or turn on the light.
If you're the type of person that finds pure darkness to be a distraction when falling asleep, if you have children that like to have some light when they go to sleep, or if you feel that the red spectrum light may help ease your sleep troubles, then a night light may be right for you.
Try a pregnancy pillow
Pregnant women require special consideration when choosing a pillow to help them get better sleep. Women tend to experience back pain in the late stages of pregnancy. The recommendation is for the woman to avoid sleeping on her back to avoid obstruction of blood flow and sleep on the side instead. Pregnancy pillows are made in the shape of a "C" for women in the latter stages of pregnancy.
The use of a pregnancy pillow helps in a number of ways. It promotes good blood circulation, reduces body pains, provides support for the belly and helps the woman to sleep for longer periods of time. The multiple areas of the body supported by a pregnancy pillow help to alleviate some of the pain and stress that would have been experienced by using one or more normal pillows.
As with the normal everyday pillow, pregnancy pillows should be purchased in a high quality to get the best results. Look for a pillow which has padding that's stuffed entirely. Bend or fold the pillow to find out if the stuffing inside shifts or bunches up. Pregnancy pillows have to be stuffed properly in order to support your weight and elevate your knees and belly off the mattress. You should also make sure the pregnancy pillow has a washable cover to make cleaning easier.
Using a pregnancy pillow has myriad benefits for a pregnant woman that will help her get better sleep and be more likely to sleep through the night without waking in the morning experiencing pain.
Get a stuffed animal
The benefits a child gets from having stuffed animals in bed with them at night are well-known. They help them sleep when they're scared of the dark. They provide support and comfort when the child is scared or otherwise emotionally upset. But did you know that a large number of adults have stuffed animals that they sleep with and find comfort in?
According to a recent survey in the UK, around a third of adults still hug a stuffed animal from their childhood as they fall asleep. Sleeping with their old stuffed animal was said to be a calm and comforting way to end their day.
Stuffed animals have also helped to fight off depression. People with anxiety and existential angst caused by low self-esteem or a recent significant trauma in their lives can find comfort in having a stuffed animal available. It can help distract them from unpleasant thoughts and feelings while they're trying to fall asleep in the middle of the night.
While a stuffed animal isn't a solution to a person's personal problems, it can aid in helping reduce the pain by providing something to hold on to. If you're the type of person who can find comfort in having a stuffed animal around in bed to help you fall asleep or fight off depression, you may be able to benefit from having a stuffed animal by your side.
Get New Bedsheets
New bedsheets can provide health benefits and improve the quality of sleep you get during the night. The feeling of sleeping with new bedsheets made of high-quality material can help you fall asleep with less effort.
When buying new sheets, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering quality. One thing that is often advertised on the retail packaging for sheets is the thread count. Higher thread count is often mentioned as being an aspect of a higher quality sheet, but this isn't always the case. It's said that the highest practical thread count for a sheet is about 500. Sheets that claim to have a higher thread count may not provide a higher quality single sheet, but instead may be two different textiles woven together.
A major factor in achieving good sleep with your sheets is also found in the color and thickness of the sheet itself. Certain materials are more likely to trap heat than others. Depending on the type of environment you live in, a sheet that traps too much heat can cause extreme discomfort, making it difficult to fall asleep easily while the sheet is draped over you. Synthetic sheets have a tendency to trap heat and are not recommended for hot environments. Egyptian cotton is known to provide more breathability for those in warm climates.
If you find yourself tossing around while you try to sleep, changing the material your sheets are made of can help. If you have trouble getting comfortable while falling asleep, a softer sheet or comforter can help you sleepwell.
Drink some tea
Drinking calming teas before bed can help relax you and make it easier to fall asleep. There are a wide range of herbal teas that are ideal for relaxation. Some of these herbal teas include chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, passionflower and others. It's recommended to avoid teas that contain caffeine such as black and white teas. Dreamherbs.com has a detailed article that talks about the various qualities that herbal teas have that make them good for falling asleep and having a prolonged, quality sleep.
Green tea is known to help with relaxation before bed. But the wide variety of types can be misleading. Some brands contain caffeine which will keep you awake at night. Try to avoid many of the mass-marketed retail brands and find the natural varieties without caffeine. Drinking the right kinds of green tea can help you improve your metabolism while sleeping and aid in the elimination of bodily waste during the night.
Creating a routine around having a warm, comforting beverage like tea just before bed can be a pleasant ritual. If you're careful to avoid caffeinated teas and try herbal varieties, you can help your body relax and reduce stomach problems that may be preventing you from getting the best sleep you can.
Listen to some nature sounds
Just as the potentially soothing effects of listening to white noise can help you go to sleep, so can hearing natural sounds help you fall asleep more easily. The sound of the wind blowing through the trees, the gentle trickle of water flowing down a stream, ocean waves, birdsong, rain falling in a forest, all these sounds can help calm your nerves after a stressful day.
The dailymail.co.uk writes that slow building natural sounds like thunder and ocean waves, are soothing even though they can be loud noises. The same goes for nature sounds which are more calming like flowing water and the wind. This is because these noises are filtered out by the brain as being non-threatening. Sounds that jolt us awake and trigger the brain's "threat vigilance system" are the sudden noises that change in pitch quickly.
The preferred methods for listening to nature sounds while trying to fall asleep are through the use of the internet or smartphone apps. There are a multitude of websites online that have a variety of nature sounds designed to soothe and relax. The app store of your particular smartphone brand has a number of apps with preloaded natural sounds. Many of these options can be found at low cost or for free.
Listening to natural sounds while you fall asleep can also help drown out any unwanted noises. If you live in the city and sleep during the day this is especially important to help you cover up undesirable sounds so you can fall asleep more easily.
Use nasal strips
If you have trouble sleeping because of clogged nasal passages or wake up during the night due to snoring, the use of nasal strips can open your airways and help you breathe easier and fall asleep with less trouble.
If you have a cold or seasonal allergy nasal strips are especially effective, as these are the times when the nasal passages are in the most need of some kind of help. It's very difficult to fall asleep when your nose is clogged, preventing you from breathing easily.
Nasal strips can also be used as temporary relief from moderate problems with snoring. This is because they open the nasal passages so you can breathe more freely. This also prevents you from making the loud breathing sounds when snoring.
While nasal strips aren't a cure to congestion and snoring, they can be a useful tool in alleviating some of the uncomfortable symptoms that prevent you from falling asleep quickly. If your problem is new or mild to moderate, nasal strips have the potential to help you get better sleep.
Do some yoga
Many people consider yoga to be a form of exercise and shouldn't be done just before bed. But yoga can be a form of relaxation and give a calming effect to the body that's perfect to help you slip into bed afterward and fall right to sleep.
Psychologytoday.com says that performing certain yoga exercises can help people suffering from problems falling asleep. A study was performed in which participants were asked to perform a yoga routine every day for eight weeks and keep a sleep dairy each day. Improvements in sleep efficiency, sleep time, wake time and sleep onset latency were found in the results.
The yoga exercises that are recommended before bed are designed to encourage relaxation around the eyes and provide a soothing sensation to the nervous system. These include exercises that can be done while lying in bed just before going to sleep.
Using a yoga breathing technique just before bed is another useful way to relax the body and prepare it for sleep. "Belly breathing" is done by keeping the spine straight in a standing or lying down position. You put one hand on your stomach and inhale, expanding your abdomen. Then exhale and pull your stomach in towards your spine. This is done in ten or more repetitions. Afterwards you should feel a higher state of relaxation and clarity of mind.
While more research is still necessary into the effects of yoga on sleep problems, the results are a positive indication that a regular yoga routine can help some people. If you like the idea of trying an easy and free method to help with your sleep, why not give yoga a try?
Take some melatonin
Melatonin, as discussed briefly in a previous tip, is the chemical released by the body that induces the grogginess necessary to help us fall asleep. It signals to the brain that it's getting dark and begins preparing the body for sleep.
This chemical is also a factor in the proper functioning of various parts of your body. Melatonin is important for the functioning of the immune system. It reduces inflammation and helps your body get rid of cancer cells.
Production of this chemical is diminished in daylight and any other white light. As a result, it's especially useful for people who need to sleep during the day to take melatonin supplements. But if you do take melatonin during the day, it's a good idea to make the room you're sleeping in as dark as possible to prevent the body from receiving conflicting signals due to the light.
Taking melatonin can help if you work the night shift and have to sleep during the day, it's a chemical that improves your immune system and can help slow your body functions down. Since it's recommended to only regularly take melatonin for a month or less, remember to use with moderation.
Only use your bed for sleep and intimacy
There are a number of activities people have a tendency to do before falling asleep that can actually cause the body to wake up and create general restlessness that leads to tossing and turning in bed. Avoiding such activities can help prevent long nights spent tossing and turning in bed before being able to fall asleep.
Texting and general smartphone use gives off harsh white light that causes your body to remain awake. Watching TV in bed is also a major source of insomnia inducing white light. The content of the entertainment you consume can also affect your sleep. If the program you're watching is a thriller or is action-packed, it can cause your heart rate to increase and your muscles to tense up. These are all things that are the antithesis of what you want your body to be doing just before sleep.
Related to the problems evident in using smartphones and watching TV before bed is the use of a laptop computer to get work done before sleep. According to Harvard's Division of Sleep Medicine, doing work in the bedroom can weaken the associations your brain makes that say the bedroom is only for sleeping. Over time this can make it more and more difficult to become tired quickly when it's bedtime.
It's recommended that you abstain from the use of smartphones, laptops and watching TV for at least a few hours before bedtime. Avoid doing any of these activities on a consistent basis right before bed and you increase you odds of being able to fall asleep without trouble.
Getting enough exercise during the day is important to release excess stores of energy in the body. If you sit around all day with little physical exertion, your body isn't burning the calories it needs to expend in order to trigger sleepiness when you want to go to bed.
While some people claim that exercise just before bed doesn't affect their ability to fall asleep, it's not recommended to engage in vigorous exercise just before bedtime. Exercise raises the metabolism, releases increased amounts of adrenaline and heightens brain activity, all conditions which counteract the more restful body state that's desired before bed.
If you workout in the late afternoon, it's a good idea to rest for a few hours before bedtime. Take a cold shower after your workout to cool down your body temperature. Do cool down exercises after the workout instead of abruptly stopping. You can also try deep breathing exercises or meditation to help relax the body post-workout.
While exercising during the day is important to expend your energy and cause you to become tired later in the day, the time period in which the exercises are performed is important. Avoid exercising for a few hours before bedtime and do activities that calm the body and senses.
Getting good exercise during the day is one of the best ways to combat restlessness and help you get to sleep quickly and achieve a better quality of shuteye.
Read a book before bed
The habit of reading a book before bedtime has been a daily ritual for people for centuries. Sitting down with a good book before bed can help to reduce stress levels and promote better dreaming by engaging your imagination just before sleep.
The type of book you read can affect your body in similar ways to how watching a TV show or movie can. Thrillers and action stories can elevate the heart rate and tense the muscles. As such, these types of stories might be less desirable to read than other types of books.
Reading a book instead of watching TV, using a laptop or smartphone also exposes you to much less of the harsh white light that can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Developing a consistent routine to help you wind-down at the end of the day by reading a good book can be a productive way to help you fall asleep. It can also leave you with a greater feeling of accomplishment than you might otherwise have simply watching a show.
Avoid heavy meals
While common knowledge would seem to say that a heavy meal causes drowsiness and makes it easy to fall asleep, the opposite is often the case. Food triggers the bodies' metabolism to fire up. This dictates to your body that it's time to wake up rather than go to sleep.
Sleeping with a large amount of food in the stomach can make it more difficult to get comfortable when lying down and can cause you to wake up at night randomly. It's said that food should be avoided for about two to three hours before bedtime in order to allow the metabolism to wind-down at the end of the day.
When you eat just before bed, the body has nowhere to place that excess energy and stores it as fat. Eating a late night meal will keep you up with a boosted metabolism in the same way that a sugary drink or caffeinated beverage would. Avoid eating just before bed and you have less risk of becoming restless when trying to get a good night's rest.
Those are the thirty tips to sleep better. They help to diagnose, solve or treat varying sleeping problems and apply to a wide range of lifestyles, genders and situations. Many of them have helped me when I can't sleep at night. Choose which ones might be the best fit for you and give them a try. If you find that one particular tip doesn't help you achieve your sleep goals, give another a try. Some of them solve problems with having too much energy and not being able to relax. Others help you when you're tired but can't sleep.
Remember, following some of these tips may require doctor's approval. Never attempt something that is too difficult or may bring you injury. Consider your particular situation before attempting any of these. Your age, weight, general health and living conditions may affect which of these are available to you and which are not. Always use personal discretion when diagnosing the severity of your sleep troubles. Doing so will help you improve the quality of your sleep now and in the future.