Over 50 to 70% Americans have a sleep disorder. Most of us do not get the required amount of rest, making our bodies feel fatigued and overworked most of the time.
Taking charge of your sleep may seem dependent on a lot of factors, but ultimately the control lies with you. Once you rely on some natural stress relief techniques, you can start experiencing better sleep.
1. Gentle breathing
Your breathing can hold the key to a better sleep cycle. Control your breathing when you decide to hit the hay. The best part is, that you can lie down and do so.
• Turn off the lights or just have a small mellow light on.
• Lie straight on your back in a comfortable position.
• Breathe in slow and steady. Hold your breath and feel it in your core.
• Exhale slowly while focusing on your breathing.
• Repeat for 5 to 10 minutes.
• Try and repeat to yourself, ‘breathing in I am calm, breathing out I am coping.’
Gentle breathing before you sleep is known to reduce stress, enhance concentration and boost your immunity.
2. Warm bath
A warm bath for most of us feels like a natural stress relief thing by itself. It is relaxing and you feel refreshed as if you have almost washed the day’s stress off. There is a scientific explanation for this. A hot water shower around 90 minutes before you sleep is known to help you fall asleep faster. A hot shower leads your body’s core temperature to change. A drop in body temperature triggers a signal to your body that it is time for bed.
It may seem counterintuitive, but a warm bath or shower helps the thermoregulatory system of your body to kick in and causes the blood circulation from the internal core to the peripheral sites. This further helps the body temperature to fall.
3. Herbal stress relief supplements
Herbal stress relief supplements are safer alternatives to OTC drugs and prescribed medications. Most of which have harmful effects on your body. Instead of opting for these meds, try an herbal stress relief supplement that is made from natural ingredients.
Supplements like Chill Pill by Kaer Naturals are made with Jujube, Poria and GABA – all of which help your body transit into recharge and recover mode, thus prompting deeper sleep.
Herbal supplements like Chill Pill are safe to consume and are effective when taken regularly.
4. Inhale the aroma of lavender
Lavender has been relied upon as an herbal stress relief plant for centuries. Hailing from the Mediterranean region, lavender spread across the world in the 13th or 14th Century. It was cultivated extensively and has been sought after for its soothing and unmistakable fragrance. It is grown the world-over now, and the oil extracted is used for everything – from hair oils to antiseptics for its antibacterial properties.
Lavender is known to provide more energy as well as help people feel more relaxed. It is these relaxing properties of lavender that people find helpful to combat muscle tension and promote muscle relaxation.
From scented candles to dried sprigs of lavender, inhaling the aroma of lavender is known to promote deeper sleep.
5. Brew some chamomile tea
Chamomile has been relied upon as a natural herbal stress relief remedy since time immemorial. Researchers are drawing new findings every day that supports the many health benefits of chamomile, some of which include:
• Reducing menstrual pain
• Lowering blood sugar
• Slowing osteoporosis
• Reducing inflammation
• Treating common cold and flu
Chamomile tea is made from dried chamomile blossoms. The potency of chamomile tea varies depending on the quantity and quality of blossoms used. Chamomile tea may replicate the functions of benzodiazepine – chemical drugs that help reduce stress and promote sleep. Drinkers of this tea have been known to sleep faster and feel less anxious.
6. Snooze hygiene
Having a hard time falling asleep, daytime fatigue, night-time disturbances are some indicators that your sleep hygiene may need to improve. Some of the ways to inculcate good sleep hygiene can include:
• Developing a habit – things like wearing comfortable sleepwear, brushing your teeth, drinking a glass of water are some of things that you can start doing before bed to form a consistent routine.
• Take 30 minutes to chill – whether it is listening to some soft music, or doing some stretching exercises, or even some light reading. Do whatever puts you in a state of calm.
• Unplug from devices – make your bed a no device zone. Exposure to blue light emitted from devices increases levels of cortisol and obstructs the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy.
Clean sheets, comfortable pillows, balanced room temperatures are some of the other things that you should be mindful of.
7. Sleeping posture(s)
There are millions of scholarly articles that draw considerable attention to the impacts of your sleeping positions on the quality of sleep. The most common sleeping positions include fetal, soldier, log, starfish, freefall, among others. All these positions have their benefits, but also have their drawbacks.
The ideal way to sleep is on your back, with your hands by your side or on your tummy and your toes pointing up to the ceiling. This helps your spine relax and helps curb acid reflux as well as sleep apnea.
Ultimately it is your level of comfort that is responsible for the quality of your sleep. So, choose a mixture of positions over the night and slowly train your body to pick one that works best for you.
Repeating a mantra or chanting a phrase – especially if it is a positive affirmation is one of the other natural stress relief techniques that may help you sleep better. Various studies have found that participants who repeatedly recite a mantra given to them experience reduced insomnia.
You can choose a mantra in a language of your choice and repeat it to yourself in bed. Gently bringing your mind to focus on the words and enunciating each syllable might help you fall asleep faster and deeper. It is like counting sheep, but only more meaningful.
Massages are known to stimulate feelings of relaxation – as they help ease muscle tension. Self-massage can help improve your sleep quality, may improve daytime dysfunction, and even reduce feelings of pain.
A self-massage session in bed may even lead you to banish anxiety and stress. Try using an aromatic oil such as lavender for added benefits.
Making positive changes to your lifestyle and adopting useful techniques can help you experience longer, deeper, and more restful sleep cycles. You may find it beneficial to observe what works for you as far as your sleep is concerned and stick to it.