Sleep is one of the most important aspects of physical health. Research shows that getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is one of the key factors of a healthier and longer life.
With sufficient sleep, you’ll maintain a healthy immune system, enhance brain performance, make better decisions, reduce stress, improve your mood, and get along better with people.
We all know that having good quality sleep enhances our physical, mental, and emotional health. On the flip side, are you aware that having poor sleep results in a higher risk of serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease, and may impair judgment and coordination, thus causing unwanted injuries and accidents?
According to a research paper published in 2012, 33.8% of the general population in Malaysia reported having insomnia symptoms and 12.2% had chronic insomnia.
How Can I Fall Asleep Easily?
Are you one of those who are having difficulty falling asleep each night? Do you toss and turn in your bed feeling anxious that you’re not getting sufficient rest for the next day? Is poor sleep affecting your quality of life, health, and relationships?
If you answered yes to the above questions, read this article for proven methods and techniques on how to fall asleep easily.
Sleep is a daily thing that you need to do, and you will need to have an awareness about the bad habits which affect your sleep patterns. Have determination and set the intention to change your habits so that you can enjoy good and quality sleep each night.
Let’s take a look at five easy ways to fall asleep.
I. Develop Sleep-friendly Routines
There are a few night-time routines that can help you fall asleep faster.
Firstly, stick to a regular sleep schedule. This means sleeping and waking up at the same time every day. It is ideal to go to sleep while it’s dark and wake up when it gets bright.
Your body has its own regulatory system called a circadian rhythm, which is an internal clock that prompts your body to feel alert during the day but sleepy during the night. You can strengthen your internal body clock by getting exposed to sunlight during the day and experiencing darkness at night.
Research shows that darkness helps the body to release melatonin, which is an essential hormone for sleep. It helps to use blackout curtains to create a totally dark room which helps you to fall asleep easier.
Use sleep tools such as a sleep mask or ear plugs if your environment is not conducive for sleep. Once you’ve identified all the factors that help you sleep, you will be able to achieve longer and better sleep quality.
II. Prepare a Conducive Sleep Environment
To ensure good quality sleep, invest in a good mattress, pillow, bedding and sleepwear that are engineered for good rest.
Choose a mattress of medium firmness that provides sufficient support to your body and spine. The quality of your pillow is equally important. Make sure that it supports your head and neck well and allows airflow to prevent trapped heat.
Ensure that your sheets and sleepwear are made of fabric that keeps you comfortable through the night.
Furthermore, lots of studies also show that your room’s temperature influences your sleep.
Your body temperature naturally cools down when you lie down and warms up when you get up. Therefore, it is easier to fall asleep in a cool room than a warm one.
Research has also shown that taking a hot bath or shower about an hour before sleep can improve your sleep. After having a warm bath, your body will begin to cool down and this helps your body to relax and calm down.
III. Avoid Electronics Before Bed
As best as possible, put away any electronic devices to cut off screen time when you’re ready for bed. The US National Sleep Foundation advocates for limiting screen use at least 30 minutes before sleep.
Studies have proven that the blue light emitted from electronic devices can interfere with the quality of our sleep by suppressing melatonin and reducing feelings of sleepiness.
With exposure to blue light, the amount of time you spend in slow-wave and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep will be affected, which will have a certain impact on your cognitive functioning.
Switch off your television, smartphone or laptop and read a book or listen to soothing music to calm your mind. You will get more restful and deeper sleep without distractions that disrupt your brain activity before drifting off.
If you have to work on an urgent task on your device, consider putting on blue light blocking glasses or a blue light screen filter.
IV. Avoid High Carb Meals and Caffeinated Beverages
While a high-carb diet can help you fall asleep faster, some studies have concluded that high-carb meals are linked to a shorter amount of time in deep sleep and an increase in REM sleep. This is because our body takes a long time to break down complex carbohydrates, resulting in frequent wakeups.
If your body needs carbohydrates, you can try opting for good carbohydrates mixed with fibre, such as oatmeal, lentils, brown rice, etc.
Caffeinated beverages like coffee, green tea and energy drinks can have significant effects on your sleep quality and duration. The caffeine in these drinks stimulates your brain and nervous system, increasing your wakefulness and mental energy.
Substitute caffeine for drinks that induce relaxation and sleepiness. We recommend the Rhymba Hills® Lemongrass Blend, Rhymba Hills® Reelax and Rhymba Hills® Reevitalise. The key ingredient of these blends is lemongrass, which is effective in regulating sleep cycles, leading to improved sleep quality over time.
V. Practise Relaxation Techniques
Before heading to bed, practice mindful rituals such as 4-7-8 breathing, light yoga exercises or meditation – either as a standalone activity or as activities done in tandem.
Regular breathing patterns help relax the nervous system and release accumulated tension in your body, while meditation clears your mind of noisy, intrusive thoughts.
If aromatherapy is up your alley, you can opt for calming scents such as lavender, peppermint, chamomile and damask rose. You could breathe your favourite aromatherapy scent through an essential oil diffuser or spray it on your bed linen before going to bed.
When you breathe in certain soothing fragrances, your nose sends calming signals to the limbic system in your brain, which will then prompt your body to settle down and get ready for a restful sleep.
Sleep: An Essential Part of Your Health
Having a good night’s rest doesn’t just improve your overall health and mood, it helps you build better relationships with people, become better at your work or studies, and increase your quality of life. It’s never too late to start adjusting your sleeping habits.
So, take small steps each day, and you’ll eventually find yourself mastering the art of good sleep in no time.