For some it may be easy to have a perfect sleep, or they may think that sleep comes naturally, especially if they have never experienced insomnia. However, falling and staying asleep may pose a challenge for others. Whenever this happens, it usually brings up feelings of frustration and you may find yourself searching for help. A person might lie awake for hours in bed at night and, consequently, wakes up feeling weak and deprived of energy.
Usually, children are considered as the perfect models of sleep as they manage to sleep immediately. However, as we get older, we need to take other factors into consideration, such as new time pressures, partners or our own children who might disrupt our sleep, and other health problems.
The following are 8 ways that can help improve sleep patterns and that you can easily try out in the comfort of your home:
1. Increase your exposure to bright light or natural sunlight during the day
Natural sunlight improves your energy level during the daytime and your resting quality and duration at night. It also reduces the time it takes you to fall asleep.
2.Reduce your exposure to blight light in the evening
Exposure to light at nighttime has the opposite effect as it tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime. In this case, melatonin, the hormone which helps you relax and get deep sleep, is reduced.
3. Avoid caffeine close to bedtime
Caffeine enhances focus, energy, and sports performance. Therefore, its consumption late in the day stimulates the nervous system and makes it difficult for your body to relax at night.
4. Cut down on irregular or long daytime naps
Short power naps during the day turn out to be more beneficial than long or irregular naps as they do not confuse our internal clock and still allow us to rest at night. Keep your naps around 20 minutes long to keep your internal clock on track.
5. Be consistent with your sleep and waking times
Being consistent with your sleep and wake up times can help long-term sleep quality as, usually, your body’s circadian rhythm aligns itself with sunrise and sunset. In the long run, you may not even need an alarm as it becomes automatic.
6. Consider natural supplements
Natural supplements such as lavender and chamomile have many sleep hygiene benefits as they can induce a calming and sedentary effect to improve sleep.
7. Optimize your bedroom environment
Temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement are some of the factors that comprise our bedroom environment. A quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable space all contribute to better sleep patterns.
8. Relax and clear your mind before bed
Try out different relaxation techniques, such as listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualization, before going to bed as these have been shown to improve sleep quality. Try to avoid electronics as they can be too stimulating for a mind trying to prepare itself to rest.
On a final note, keep in mind that a good night’s rest is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Therefore, consider seeking professional help if your sleeping problem persists after trying these various home remedies.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Johanna Cutajar is a Master in Counselling graduate from the University of Malta. She works with children and adolescents as a counsellor within the education sector on a variety of issues including relationship issues, trauma, bereavement, transitions, and general mental health.
Mawers, R. (2020). 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better
Peters, B. (2021). How to Improve Your Sleep Habits. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/sleep-improvement-techniques-and-ideas-3014933