Sleep disruption is more than an annoyance that leaves you groggy the next day: it can harm your emotional and physical well-being. It impairs your memory, focus, and mood, as well as increasing your chances of depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Fortunately, there are some simple and natural sleep aids to improve your sleep.
Take a sip. No, not booze, which can make it difficult to sleep. For patients who are having problems sleeping, Gamaldo suggests warm milk, chamomile tea, and sour cherry juice.
Though there isn’t any scientific evidence that any of these nocturnal drinks help you sleep better, Gamaldo thinks there’s no harm in trying them. Patients who desire treatment without side effects or drug interactions should consider them, according to her.
“Warm milk has long been thought to have molecules that mimic the effects of tryptophan in the brain. This is a chemical component of serotonin, a molecule implicated in the sleep-wake cycle, according to Gamaldo.
Tea made from chamomile flowers can also be beneficial. She claims that it contains flavonoids that may interact with benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, which are also implicated in the sleep-wake transition.
In addition, unlike green tea or Earl Grey, chamomile tea does not contain caffeine. Finally, sour cherry juice may aid in the generation of melatonin and the maintenance of a healthy sleep cycle.
Physical activity is one of the best sleep aids that can help you sleep better, however, researchers aren’t sure why. Moderate cardiovascular activity is believed to increase the amount of nutritious slow-wave (deep) sleep you obtain.
However, you must be timing it well, according to Gamaldo, because cardiovascular exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that keep people awake. (This is why a run makes you feel so energized.)
It can also cause a rise in core body temperature, which tells the body that it’s time to get up and go. If you’re having difficulties sleeping, try not to exercise within two hours of going to bed.
Melatonin pills can help. Gamaldo explains, “Melatonin is a hormone that is normally released in the brain four hours before we feel sleepy.” It’s caused by the body’s reaction to less light exposure, which occurs naturally at night.
After it gets dark outside, though, lights abound—whether from your phone, laptop, or television. Unnatural light inhibits the release of melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Just make sure you buy the same brand every time. “Because melatonin supplements are not regulated by the FDA, the quantities and substances in each pill may vary from one manufacturer to the next. “Stick to sleep aids and avoid buying it from an unknown source online,” Gamaldo advises.
Keep your cool. According to Gamaldo, the ideal temperature for your thermostat is between 65 and 72 degrees. Women experiencing hot flashes during menopause should keep the room as cold as possible and sleep in cotton or breathable textiles.
Turn out the lights. It is well known that the light from a smartphone disrupts sleep. But what about the light in your bathroom? If you feel compelled to go late at night, don’t turn on the lights. “If you have to get up in the middle of the night, the latest advice is to use a flashlight,” Gamaldo explains, because it causes less visual disruption. Remember that if you wake up for a toilet break, it could take up to 30 minutes to fall asleep again. She claims that this is perfectly typical.