Any doctor or person who done a teensy amount of research will tell you that a good night’s sleep is important to your overall health. I am fortunate enough to be a generally good sleeper. However, when I am going through stressful periods my anxiety tends to prevent me from being able to fall asleep. I know that August is going to be a bit stressful (going back to school and starting grad school) so I figured I would compile the things that have helped me sleep well in the past.
- Herbal Tea I feel like it’s not secret that I love coffee. I’m also a huge fan of hot tea. I love black, white, rooibos, green, herbal…you name it. I love tea. I have found that settling in a cup of tea about thirty minutes for bed can really set the tone for sleeping. My personal favorite for when I’m having trouble sleeping is Sleepytime Tea (or Sleepytime + Echinaea when I’m feeling a little under the weather).
- Background Noise I don’t mean the television. I have literally slept through tornadoes and small earthquakes but the television will wake me up. It doesn’t make sense but I know myself. My husband sleeps much better with background noise so we have had to come to a compromise. We both sleep much better when it rains so I play rain sounds in the background. I really like the two apps Rain Sounds and Relax Rain. They both allow you to pick the size of the rain drops and the surface they are dropping on. I personally love fat rain drops on tin roofs (reminds me of staying at my grandparent’s farm as a child) and on a tent (all the camping feels). There are lots of other options if the rain isn’t your favorite. My mom likes ocean sounds because she lives in a landlocked stated and doesn’t get to go the beach much anymore.
- Ditch the T.V. Studies have proven that watching t.v. before bed can hinder your sleep. I understand needing to unwind before bed so I recommend either watching relaxing videos (these are great) or reading a book. I usually read for about 15-20 minutes every night to get settled in. There is one risk this with this option — a really good book might keep you up longer than intended. I’ve been there a time or two.
- Aromatherapy Both chamomile and lavender can help improve sleep. Oil infusers/diffusers and lotions can be used to help diffuse scents safely at night.
- Melatonin Melatonin can be used to help sleep. It is found in our pineal gland and in some foods. When I first started having anxiety related sleep issues as a teenager my general practitioner recommended it because it is natural and non-habit forming. Pills can purchased OTC but talk to your doctor before adding it to your regime because it could interact with other medications.
I would try to phase these in one-by-one to see how it affects your sleep cycle. Many of these are free and easy to add to your daily routine. What do you recommend for people who are having trouble sleeping?