Ever stumble into bed completely exhausted at night only to lay there for the next hour or more, wide awake? Or maybe you fall asleep easily, it's just the waking up that's getting you?
Either way, you're not alone. More than 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men in the US struggle with sleep.
As a light sleeper myself, I've been on a lifelong quest to find natural ways to get more zzzz's. This week, I'll share my favorite hacks in order of effectiveness. (I am not a doctor, so please consult your physician before trying any.)
Blackout eye mask -- Even the slightest amount of light peeping through a crack in the blinds can effect sleep. I wear these babies EVERY single night. My 12 year old daughter even uses an eye mask. Blackout shades are an awesome addition to your bedroom if you can swing it. But small amounts of bedroom light can all be solved by using a simple and cheap blackout eye mask. This is the MOST important tool I use for sleep and I never travel without it!
Blue light blocking glasses before bed -- The average American spends 17 hours and 9 minutes a day in front of a screen. This amount of artificial light can cause eye strain and effect sleep. Those in my family who are active on screens put on our glasses at 8pm at night. These glasses make me tired and block any junk light, even bright lights throughout the house. This allows for natural melatonin production to occur as it gets dark outside, as opposed to being delayed because of any junk light I absorb.
Mouth taping -- Without knowing it, many of us breathe through our mouths when we sleep. I started mouth taping about a year ago after reading about the benefits of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is an important molecule for blood vessel health that increases blood and nutrient flow by relaxing and widening the vessels, and it also reduces blood pressure. Natural nitric oxide production decreases as we age. Breathing through our noses increases the production of nitric oxide. What I notice when I tape my mouth with athletic tape, is that I sleep more deeply. I know it sounds crazy, and it may take a few nights to adjust to this new breathing pattern. But try it for a solid 7 days before making a judgement call. I bet you'll sleep more deeply by the end of the week.
Me using my Truedark glasses, mouth taping, and even using a nostril widener before bed. I am a fine lady when I go to sleep:). But it's so worth it!
Magnesium -- Very few of us get enough magnesium daily from diet alone. Magnesium is an important nutrient that the body needs to maintain the health of muscles, including the heart. Magnesium glycinate is particularly helpful because it is easily absorbed and has calming properties. I take in the morning and extra before bed.
No fluids after 7pm -- I'm a huge fan of tea after dinner. But I've noticed that anytime I have it after 7pm, there's a high likelihood I'll have to wake in the middle of the night to urinate. It's a simple fix, and obviously staying hydrated is important. But try cutting off fluids after 7pm and see if this helps you make it all the way until sunrise.
CBD Oil -- I'm not a fan of taking anything I don't have to take. But when I've had back to back nights of crappy sleep, I go for some CBD oil. CBD is made from extracting CBD from the cannabis plant (there is no TCH in this oil) and adding it to a carrier oil, like hemp seed oil or coconut oil. This can usually help me fall asleep, as well as fall back asleep if I wake during the night. Be mindful of dosing, and know that different amounts influence people differently.
If we're not sleeping, we're struggling in some aspect of our lives. It's worth it to do what you need to do to find ways to naturally support your sleep. I'd love to know what works for you!
To your restful nights,