Chronic insomnia and sleep issues have become an epidemic in our culture. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 30-35% of adults experience symptoms of insomnia at some point and at least 10% experience chronic symptoms.
Adult humans need an average 8-8.5 hours of sleep per night, and we don’t need a statistic to tell us that between our busy career, families, and lives, very few of us are getting the sleep we need. Not to mention that when we finally lay down to sleep, it can be a huge struggle to fall asleep and we waste the precious time we set aside to rest.
Lack of sleep can have major consequences for our health. Chronic loss of sleep has been linked to health issues including but not limited to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even shortened life expectancy. People who don’t get enough sleep also report issues with focus, mood, and many other short term symptoms that over time can have serious impact on our overall health.
We can’t tell you how to get rid of your busy schedule but we can help you take better advantage of the time you set aside to rest. Try a few of these solutions to experience better sleep.
1. Put Away The Screens!
It’s a bad habit we are almost all guilty of. You turn to your phone to set your alarm and get sucked into emails or facebook. Or you had a long day at work so you unwind by watching a few episodes of your favorite show. But more and more research is showing that exposure to the blue light from screens stops our brains from producing melatonin (the hormone that makes us fall asleep) and messes with our natural circadian rhythms.
Try starting a new nighttime ritual like reading for 15 minutes or taking a relaxing bath or shower. If you have to check your devices, consider using a blue light filter (hint: many devices have them built in these days and just have to be turned on).
2. Use Essential Oils
Smells can have an incredible impact on the brain and body. Lavender above all other oils is known to have relaxing qualities and can actually impact your nervous system. One study showed that it significantly improved sleep quality in a range of participants of different ages. Both those with chronic insomnia and without experienced improved sleep quality with the use of lavender.
3. Use White Noise
Another great way to improve sleep quality and fall asleep faster is to get rid of distractions for your brain. White noise machines (or apps) can help you fall asleep and stay asleep by drowning out other sounds that might activate your brain.
4. Supplement With Magnesium
Magnesium is another supplement that can have a great impact on symptoms of insomnia and your ability to fall asleep. Magnesium also helps relax tense or sore muscles which can help you relax. One study showed that supplementing with magnesium helped with symptoms of insomnia and production of melatonin. Another great way to get magnesium before bed is with a warm epsom salt bath.
Getting better sleep might mean changing some of the habits that you are used to and shifting to a healthier evening routine. But the impact on your health and energy will be more than worth it. Sleep is fundamental for our brains and bodies and for living a healthy life. If you are having trouble falling asleep, just relax and take deep breaths and know that sleep will always come!
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