According to Scientific American, over 8.5 million Americans take prescription sleep aids. Many more are taking things like ZzzQuil, which I recently noticed sold in jumbo 2-packs at CVS. Hey, I get it. Sleep can be hard to come by, particularly for women.
Today I want to give you some tools and tricks to use when going to bed that DON’T involve medication. Pick one or two to try tonight and you’ll likely see an improvement right away.
However, please note that the quality of your sleep isn’t just about your bed or what you do at bedtime. How you live you entire day sets you up for sweet dreams – or not.
First, block out light.
The lightbulb was invented in 1879 and no one has slept properly since. Ha! I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that having light at night means that we work night shifts and watch Netflix instead of following nature’s rhythm of when to wind down and go to bed.
And in fact, our brains interpret light as a signal to be awake. That includes your phone screen, glowing digital alarm clock and the streetlamp’s glow from outside.
That’s why one of the best ways to improve your sleep is to make your room as dark as possible:
– Hang blackout curtains or shades
– Wear a sleep mask (I’ve tried them all and this mask is the best by far.)
Then, block out noise.
Whether it’s the heater banging or your partner snoring, we all know that noises are likely to interrupt our sleep. If you find yourself waking often or waking too early, try one or more of these:
– White noise machine or app
– Sleep phones
– Ear plugs
Finally, try natural remedies before bed.
Don’t expect an Ambien blackout but certain supplements can make a huge, positive impact on your sleep. Here are some of my favorites. Experiment and see what works for you:
– Magnesium is nature’s “chill pill,” helping to gently relax your muscles and mind.
– Lavender is particular good for relieving anxiety.
– Banana peel tea is easy, inexpensive and for some people the most effective of all!
Now of course, this isn’t the whole story. How you eat and live makes a huge impact on your sleep and overall health.