When you’re struggling with insomnia, sleeping pills seem like a magic cure. Simply pop a pill, and within an hour you’ll be deeply asleep, getting the rest you so desperately need. While that can be a reasonable solution for the occasional sleepless night, they’re not meant for long-term use. Sleeping pills carry a wide range of side effects, including dizziness, headaches, and digestive problems. Over time, users can develop a dependence on sleeping pills and struggle to sleep without them.
If you want to get to sleep naturally, what are your options? While there aren’t any natural sleep aids with the quick-fix appeal of sleeping pills, there’s a lot you can do to sleep better without over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Read on as we explore 5 effective, natural methods.
Use natural light to your advantage
Your body relies on sunlight to regulate its circadian rhythm, but when you spend most of your days indoors, that biological clock gets thrown off schedule. Reset your sleep-wake cycle by spending 15 minutes outside in the morning and exposing yourself to natural light throughout the day, tapering off as you approach bedtime.
Stay away from blue light before bed
Your idle habit of watching TV or scrolling on your phone before bed may be what’s keeping you up at night. The blue light that’s emitted from screens does such a good job of mimicking daylight that it disrupts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Most sleep experts recommend turning off screens an hour before bed, but what about blue-light-blocking glasses? It’s possible they’ll help you get to sleep, but you’re better off putting the screen down and doing something relaxing instead.
Get a bed that’s good for your back
Too many people sleep on uncomfortable mattresses longer than they should. While it’s tempting to stick it out with an old mattress to save money, you’ll spend more dealing with the back problems you eventually develop than you would on a new bed. If frugality is important to you, spend your money wisely by researching the right mattress for your sleep style and body type. The Purple mattress, for example, is a good choice for most back, side and stomach sleepers since it has a little give while still keeping the spine in alignment, but if you’re heavy, you may benefit from the added support of a coil mattress.
Live an active lifestyle
There’s another thing that’s good for your back and your sleep: exercise! While it’s tough to work out while you’re in pain, exercise is the best way to strengthen the lower back and reduce pain. An active lifestyle is also great for your sleep quality. To improve your sleep, get at least 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a few days per week, but more is better.
Don’t go to bed hungry or full
A rumbling stomach isn’t good for restful sleep, but nor is filling up with a heavy meal right before bed. Going to bed with a full stomach is a recipe for heartburn and indigestion since your digestive system can’t use gravity to keep things moving along. If you’re hungry before bed, opt for a light snack instead of a full meal.
You don’t have to choose between sleeping pills and sleepless nights. If you’re not getting the quality rest you need, take things into your own hands. With a few all-natural changes, you can improve your sleep and become a healthier, happier you.
Dylan Foster co-founded Health Well Wise to provide informative resources that help others find ways to make their homes feel healthy.
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