When’s the last time you slept like a baby? If you’re like most people, getting a good night’s sleep can be a struggle. In fact, according to statistics, between 10% and 30% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. And, almost half of all Americans reported feeling sleepy during the day three to seven days a week. (1)
And while we all know that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, making that happen is easier said than done. Not getting enough sleep is a dangerous problem – both for your physical and mental health.
Drowsiness can lead to everyday blunders like forgetfulness and falling asleep at work, and also accidents as fatal as car crashes and work-related accidents. Disrupted sleep is even linked to a higher risk of death!
According to one recent study, there’s a clear link between unconscious wakefulness during sleep that almost doubles your risk of dying from heart disease. (2) Unconscious wakefulness is a normal part of sleep – it can be triggered by temperature, movement, light, or sounds. Basically, it’s when your body gets woken up in the night – and the fight or flight response is activated – and your body is ready to respond to a dangerous situation, but mentally you are still asleep.
Although this is a normal part of sleep, when it happens to often or for too long, it makes you feel tired and exhausted in the morning. So, it’s not just how many hours you sleep – your quality of sleep is another big factor in your health.
So, what can you do to get a better night’s sleep? We’re going to give you 3 easy, natural, drug-free solutions to help you sleep peacefully through the night. Let’s dive right in!
Exercise keeps your body and your mind healthy. Not only is it a great way to build muscle and get that summer body, it can also relieve stress and even boost your mood and reduce your risk of depression. And, it can help you get your beauty sleep.
Statistics show that regular exercise (75 minutes of high-intensity exercise or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week) reduced the amount of daytime sleepiness and even improves your concentration when you are tired. (1)
Daily exercise helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. In one study, researchers found that “exercise was just as effective as hypnotic drugs in relieving insomnia.” (3) That’s because exercise can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression and release endorphins, which improve your quality of sleep. Just make sure to exercise an hour or two before you go to sleep, so your body can have the right cool-down time.
This one might sound like an odd suggestion, but research shows that “natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy.” (5) Having a strong and healthy circadian rhythm lets you have more energy during the day, and helps you sleep better at night.
One study even found that “2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80%.” (5) Try it yourself – spend 2 hours outside in the sun for a few days (don’t forget to wear sunscreen) and see how much your sleep improves.
Two hours might seem like a lot, but you can break it up by doing some of it in the morning (like during a 30-minute morning run) and some throughout the day. Take your lunch-break outside, take your dog on a walk, or just sit outside for a few minutes. It’s a simple solution but it can have amazing effects on your quality of sleep.
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule is super important to help your body know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake. If you can train your body to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, you’ll get a much more refreshing and relaxing sleep.
Having a bedtime routine that you do every day before hitting the sack can also improve your quality of sleep. (4) Here’s some suggestions of things you can add to your bedtime routine:
You can experiment with these suggestions and add your own relaxing activities and find what works best for you. The important thing is finding a nice 20-30 minutes routine and sticking to it every day.
These three natural solutions can help you get your sleep schedule back on track. Sleeping well is essential to have a healthy and happy life. When you sleep well, you’re happier, you have more energy, and you are more productive. So, stop waking up on the wrong side of the bed and start the day right with these simple suggestions.
Keep in mind that insomnia is a serious problem, and if you struggle to sleep for long periods of time or find yourself repeatedly unable to fall asleep, talk with your doctor to see if there’s something else going on. It’s important to know your body and know what’s right for you, and in severe cases of insomnia, these simple suggestions might not be enough. Talk to your doctor today if you are dealing with severe sleep issues.
3 Does Exercise Help Treat Insomnia?