Besides keeping your bedroom quiet, cool, dark, and free of distracting electronics, you probably know some remedies for how to get to sleep on those restless nights. Everyone is familiar with counting sheep, but what methods really work when you can’t get to sleep?
Here are some techniques – both effective and old wives tales – that you might have tried or can practice in the future.
Listening to soothing music during your bedtime routine can be relaxing. Research has shown that older people who listened to calming music 45 minutes before going to sleep reported a 35 percent improvement in sleep problems. As long as the music is about 60-80 beats per minute, it can cause physical changes which promote sleep, such as a slower heart rate and breathing.
Research has shown that this method might be more of an old wives tale. Although milk contains sleep-promoting tryptophan, milk and other protein-rich foods can actually block the sleep-inducing effects of tryptophan.
This might work if your goal is to bore yourself to sleep. However, a more effective technique might be through meditation. Imagining a relaxing scene, such as being on an abandoned beach or walking in the woods, may further promote quality sleep.
Along with meditation, focusing on your breathing is a helpful technique that can lower your heart rate and promote a faster onset of sleep. Try practicing breathing techniques with yoga before bedtime to calm and clear your mind.
Soaking in a hot tub before bed boosts your body temperature temporarily, but the significant cooling off period afterwards can relax you and ease you into sleep. Research has shown that taking a warm bath before going to bed not only helps you fall asleep faster, but improves the quality of your sleep.
While you may swear by it, having a “night cap” can actually disrupt your sleep rather than improve it. The likelihood of waking up more frequently at nighttime goes up, as well as the odds of having disturbing dreams. This can all occur when the alcohol is busy being metabolized by the liver.
Get Out of Bed
When you are restless and stay in bed, you can make yourself anxious, creating an atmosphere that may not promote sleep. After about 20 minutes of tossing and turning, consider getting out of bed and do something else that is relaxing until you start to feel sleepy again.
For more information about home remedies for sleep, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563.