The 9 Best Natural Ways to Improve Sleep Now

by Gregory
natural ways to improve sleep

Natural ways to improve sleep abound.  We need them now more than ever!  Simple stated: we are sleep-deprived.  Close to 75% of Americans report having some sort of sleep disorder and 40% report getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night.  Insomnia pervades our society almost as much as social media.  (Not surprising there is a correlation between the two.)  Now it is certainly possible to function on less than 5 hours of sleep, but do you really want to do that?  Study after study has been released showing that sub-optimal sleep is connected to:

  1. Higher rate of obesity
  2. Lower cognition and mental functioning
  3. Higher rate of infections
  4. Higher rate of cardiovascular diseases
  5. Higher rate of Type II Diabetes
  6. Overall Shorter life expectancy

Natural ways to improve sleep

{It is crucial you read our compendium article on Sleep Restriction: How to Resolve Crippling Insomnia.}

Now some people would prefer to get more sleep than they do, but either they have problems falling asleep or they wake up in the middle of the night and cannot return to sleep.   Sleep Hygiene is the term used for practices and techniques used to increase your chances of getting a good night sleep.  The better you adhere to these practices the better chance you will be counting those sheep.  Let’s cover some of the natural ways to improve sleep.


social media filters/body dysmorphia

Blue Light Suppresses Melatonin.

Avoid Blue Light

Evolutionarily speaking, we are wired to our circadian rhythm.  We rise with the sun and get drowsy at dusk.  We were in tune with this rhythm for millions of years.  With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the incandescent light bulb (which allowed for a perpetual lighting of the night) our natural rhythm was disrupted.   This slowly began to affect our sleep.  In more recent times, blue light, which in particular emanates from our electronic devices, increases the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone in the body, when it should be decreasing.
Conversely, as the sun goes down the brain releases melatonin, the sleepy hormone.  Blue light tricks the body into thinking that it is still daylight and thus prevents the release of melatonin.

Solution:  Turn off all fluorescent lighting and turn to low wattage incandescent bulbs or even candles.  Turn off all electronic devices at least two hours prior to sleeping.   If you know yourself well enough to know you cannot possibly do this, invest in some blue-light blocking glasses.  There are many available, a quality one are Swannick Sleep glasses.   Also, most smartphones now have the dimmer setting which will naturally reduce blue light.

Buy these blue-light glasses now:


Make your room sleep inducing

In the pursuit of natural ways to improve sleep you must make your room sleep-inducing This makes complete sense in a primal way.  Our prehistoric cavemen typically slept in the proverbial dark cave or under the stars.  They were not exposed to any lights aside from the relaxing, somnolescent effects of the fire and and starry skies.   Also, cold temperatures have a somnolescent effect on the body.

Solution:  Purchase black-out curtains.  There are many available.  Furthermore, get rid of that alarm clock.  Not only do many of them emanate blue light, but having the ubiquitous clock on the table increases your anxiety when you wake up at night.   Set your alarm and put it (or the cell phone) under your bed and don’t look at it no matter how tempting it is.

Moreover, vis-a-vis temperature, the ideal room should be anywhere from 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit to help the body in its attempt to lower its core temperature.  Trust me…Who doesn’t like to snuggle up in a warm bed on a cold night?  Conversely, you are much less apt to fall asleep if it is as balmy as Equatorial Guinea in your room.  Utilize white noise devices (ceiling fan, relaxing music on your phone, etc) to block out incidental sounds.

Buy this well-recommended white noise machine now.


Avoid caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant which might hamper your sleep if you are sensitive to it.  Now, we likely all have acquaintances who gulp down coffee at night and still sleep like a Vampire who can’t be awoken during the day, but don’t risk it if you are already suffering from insomnia.  It takes the body about 10 hours to metabolize caffeine so ideally don’t ingest any coffee, soda, or perhaps even dark chocolate after 2pm.  The “colored” teas (white, green, black) have about 1/10 the caffeine as coffee so you should be fine drinking those in the afternoon, but lay off of them in the evening.

{Read our article on best morning biohacks.}


Drink chamomile tea

Drinking either a SleepyTime or chamomile tea will help you get into the mood to sleep.  These warm drinks have a natural sedative effect on the body.


Take a Magnesium tablet

Magnesium is one of the most-underrated minerals and close to 90% of are deficient in it.  It is responsible for over 300 chemical reactions in body and is essential for proper electrical conduction of the nervous system.  Take a 300 mg table at night.

Listen to our Holistic Health News podcast episode on the Magnesium.


Take a Warm Bath

Though this might seem counterintuitive, taking a bath (or even a shower) will help you get in the sleepy mood. Though the water will warm the body, upon getting out the body, the body will overcompensate by radiating off the excess heat thus making your core body temperature cooler than what it was before the bath.


Take a Nice Walk in the Dark

Taking a stroll at night not only helps with your dinner digestion, and keeps your body in a nice circadian rhythm (by seeing the moon and stars), but it also helps clear your mind from the stressors of the day.  It will also assist in
burning calories and cool down your body.

Check out our article on Non-exercise ways to biohack your metabolism.


Reading

Another natural ways to improve sleep is no screens even with filters.  Watching stressful things like horror shows release cortisol which counteracts melatonin.  Start turning off the “Boob Tube,” reading an hour before bed relaxes the mind and helps divert the mind from the stressors of the day.  It is preferable to read fiction over non-fiction and choose something humorous or inspiring.


Blue Light Lamp

Blue light lamps are a great way to resynchronize your circadian rhythm by mimicking the rays of the sun.  They are very popular for those who live in the northern reaches of the U.S. who don’t receive sufficient sunlight during the winter and those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Expose yourself to about 20 minutes of the lamp in the middle of the day to resync your clock.  (If you are awakening in the middle of the night, use the light near dusk.)  Phillips makes great, affordable ones, in particular the goLite varieties.


If insomnia is an issue, please implement these natural ways to improve sleep, all of which are rather easy to do.  Though we are all tempted to stay tethered to social media or binge watch TV all night review the risk factors above and ask yourself if keeping abreast of the pop-culture news or getting last-second office work done worth risking your long-term health.

I discuss “sleep restriction” and steps you can take if you have horrible insomnia [less than 4 hours of sleep a day]).

A. Gregory Luna

“Shock the body…move the body!”

 

 

 

 

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2 comments

Gary Z. February 6, 2017 - 3:14 PM

Gregory, great article!! I like how you mentioned magnesium and light therapy. I have had a history of insomnia and many of things you mentioned work. Don’t take advantage of sleep.

Reply
minecraft download mojang May 7, 2019 - 1:22 AM

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