Does restful sleep feel like a distant memory from your past? You remember a time when it was easy to get, but lately, it keeps eluding you.
In the busy world we live in, with all of its chaos and changes, achieving a good night’s rest can seem impossible. When getting your work done, or spending time with loved ones is already a challenge, going to bed ends up low on the priority list. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t care how busy we are.
Poor sleep quality leads to significant health issues. If you want to invest in your wellness, it’s time to work on getting a better night’s rest.
Why Is Good Sleep Important?
If you can function on a few hours of sleep a night, you may be wondering why you should bother getting more. It’s true that going to bed early isn’t necessary for everyone. Not getting enough restful sleep, however, can have impacts on your body that you may not realize.
Health problems associated with poor sleep quality and duration:
● Weight gain
● Heart Attack
Not getting enough sleep is also related to increased symptoms of:
● Memory problems
● Poor coordination
Notice how feeling excessively tired isn’t one of the major health concerns? In some cases, poor sleep doesn’t impact daytime functionality, but still wreaks havoc on your health. So, even if you don’t feel tired, your health could still be suffering. Why not take control of your wellness and improve your sleep?
1. Create a Night Routine
Creating a night routine before bedtime can help signal that it’s time for sleep. There are several ways you can manifest this internal alarm. One is picking a bedtime and sticking to it every night. Understandably special circumstances happen, but maintaining as regular a schedule as possible ensures your mind and body know when it’s time to start sleeping.
Other signals that it’s time for bed might be reading a book, meditation, or taking a relaxing bath. The activities shouldn’t require much brain exertion and should allow your muscles to unwind from the day’s stress. You’re looking for transitional behaviors that will make going to bed effortless. Once you’ve achieved a relaxed state, restful sleep should come easier to you.
2. Turn Off Electronics
You don’t have to turn off all the lights before it’s time to sleep, but lowering them, or turning off as many as is reasonable, can be helpful. Your circadian rhythm is a natural sleep-wake cycle over 24-hours. For most people, the circadian rhythm associates light with wakefulness and dark with bedtime. So, maintaining limited low lighting can help signal it’s time for rest.
Cell phones and television screens shine bright lights at attentive eyes. They don’t make going to bed any simpler. If watching TV is a part of your night routine, but you’re struggling to sleep, try turning it off. Give reading a book a shot instead. They are just as entertaining, and don’t shine light in your eyes!
3. Create a “Sleep Zone”
A common suggestion for improving sleep quality is to only use your bedroom for sleep. Not everyone has the space to limit their room to one activity, though. Whether it’s your entire room or just the space around your bed, reserve an area in your home for sleep. That way, whenever you go into that area, you’re signaling to yourself that it’s time for bed.
Your sleep zone should be at the optimal temperature for sleep. Turn on your fan or space heater, the AC or furnace. Whatever makes it comfortable. Creating a cozy space is essential for restful sleep. So, make sure you have enough pillows to support your body, but not so many that they take up all the space in your bed. Have a few blankets or sheets on hand, so you have something lightweight when it’s hot and snugly when it’s cold. If you need water, a nightlight, or any other comfort items, keep your sleep zone fully stocked.
4. Practice Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a movement practice that started as a form of martial arts and is now commonly used for various health reasons. Some people call it meditation in motion, because of the slow, flowing movements meant to harness serenity. Whatever you want to call it, research shows it can help improve sleep quality.
The two best tai chi practices for sleep are Yang Style 24-form and Yang Style 8-form. They are both considered short-form, with the 8-form practice being the easiest to pick up and quickest to accomplish. The focus is on slow circular motions in a smooth flow. Like yoga, tai chi is a movement exercise grounded in breath, so it’s crucial to coordinate the rhythmic patterns of movement with your breathing. There are several online tutorials available, or you can look for an in-person class. Depending on where you live, there may be an informal group practicing in a park near you.
5. Daily Yoga Routine
Getting regular physical activity during the day is essential to achieving restful sleep. If you have energy left to burn before going to bed, you’re likely to feel restless and struggle to get tired. There’s some evidence that the best time to workout is when your muscles are at their warmest around 5 pm. Overall though, research consistently shows that as long as you don’t work out too late, the activity can help you achieve better slumber.
When it comes to what kind of workout is best for shut-eye, yoga and meditating regularly might be the ticket. Research shows that a daily 25-minute yoga session combined with nightly mediation, can make it easier to get a good night’s rest. As long as you’re doing yoga early in the day, you can do whichever type works best for you. If you’re looking for a style that you can do before bed, try a Yin Yoga routine. The goal is to make sure you’re using enough energy during the day not to feel restless at night. A yoga practice made for relaxation, though, may be the perfect transition to your nightly meditation!
6. Avoid Late Afternoon Caffeine
It’s hard to get through the mid-afternoon slump without another cup of coffee! How do you stay focused and get your work done when your eyes are heavy, and your brain is slow?
If you’re getting a good night’s sleep every night, you’re less likely to experience a mid-day slump. So, while drinking caffeine after 3 pm may help you in the short-term, it could make the problem worse. If your body doesn’t have enough time to burn through the added energy, you’re not going to feel tired at night. Even if you do feel tired, you’ll likely be unable to fall asleep. There’s that miserable experience of utter exhaustion combated by a busy mind that refuses to rest.
Avoid that experience and help yourself to feel better by saying no to that late-afternoon cup of coffee. You’ll be thanking yourself when you go to bed tonight.
7. Nap the Right Way
Another option for managing low energy later in the day is to try taking a nap. If you struggle to sleep at night, napping may seem counter-intuitive. There was indeed a long-held belief that naps impaired shut-eye. A recent study, however, has turned that notion on its head.
It seems that as long as you nap the right way, your mid-day slumber can improve your nightly rest. A 30-minute nap in the mid-afternoon doesn’t result in any negative effects on the sleep cycle. Furthermore, it can improve your functionality during the day, making it easier to put that last cup of coffee down before it’s too late. While taking a nap isn’t necessary for getting good sleep, it’s okay to take one when you need one. Just make sure you’re doing it the right way.
8. Manage Pain and Restless Muscles
If you’re in pain, it can be tough to fall asleep. Once you do, you may repeatedly wake throughout the night. The same goes for those with muscle spasms or other movement disorders. The first step is always to seek out medical care. You want to make sure your pain isn’t a sign of a more serious condition and that any movement disorders are getting proper treatment.
All too often, though, your only option is an addictive medication that comes with a series of adverse side effects. What if you could manage these conditions in a safer way that also improves your sleep? The CBN cannabinoid, similar to CBD, may be the answer. It can help manage hard to treat pain, and when combined with CBD, may help reduce muscle spasms. The FDA approved the first CBD medication for seizures due to its capacity for reducing convulsions. Several studies and clinical trials have shown that the cannabinoid can help mitigate muscle spasms as well. Best of all, CBN is amazing for sleep! So, it can help you fall asleep, and stay asleep while helping to reduce your pain and manage movement disorders.
9. Ignore the Clock
While your night routine may center around your bedtime, watching the clock during your wind-down hours can create anxiety. As the minutes tick by, you may assess and reassess your level of tiredness. If you aren’t feeling yourself get sleepy, you may begin to panic.
It’s all too easy to start counting the number of hours until you have to wake. Doing so will just make you more stressed and less sleepy, though. If you have to turn your clock the other direction, or put your phone out of reach, do so. Instead of focusing on the time you have left before your alarm clock rings, try some meditative practices. An easy one may be imagining your body is completely relaxed. Start with your toes, picture them warm cozy and at ease. Imagine that feeling traveling up your body, spreading through your tired feet into your overworked caves. Allow yourself to feel your limbs relaxing as your imagination works its way from legs to trunk to arms to a sleepy head read for bed.
10. Replace Your Nightcap with CBD
You may think that a nightcap is the perfect way to fall asleep. There’s even a good chance that a drink a night helps you get sleepy. The problem is, in the midst of your slumber, the alcohol wears off. This can result in you waking up and being unable to fall back to sleep.
Instead, try replacing your nightcap with CBD for sleep. The compound is well studied for its relaxing properties, especially when paired with CBN. These cannabinoids can help relax muscles, reduce spasticity, and improve overall sleep quality.
Make it a part of your night routine by taking a dropper full a half-hour before shut-eye. As you go about your bedtime activities and enter your sleep zone, you should start to feel the cannabinoids relaxing you into a state ready for slumber. If you wake up in the middle of the night, have a full spectrum CBN formula on hand, so you can take another dropper full. It should be easy then to fall right back into a deep state of sleep.
Restful Sleep for Better Health
You should now have the tools you need to start getting better quality sleep. Try out a few of these steps or all of them together. Find which ones work best for you and throw out the rest. The point is to get better sleep for the sake of your health.