Our sleep is precious. It heals the body, rests the brain and prepares us for the next day to be as productive as possible. So when we don’t get enough quality sleep, our health suffers as a result.
While some people have a routine to wind down on an evening before sleep, others struggle to switch off their whirring brain and get the rejuvenating sleep they need. But thanks to centuries of tips and tricks, and scientific tests and advancements, we now have plenty of sleep aids to choose from to help us on our way to the land of nod.
Here are some of the most popular sleep aids you could use to help you on the way to restful sleep every night of the week.
Melatonin is the hormone that the pineal gland in the brain produces shortly before you go to sleep. It induces sleepiness and regulates the body’s circadian rhythms.
Taking meltonin supplements could help to make you sleepier quicker on an evening. Scientific studies show that melatonin decreases the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and may increase the duration of sleep.
As with all supplements, they aren’t regulated in the same way that pharmaceutical medicine is. So always follow the directions on the packaging and consult with your doctor if you have any queries. It is also best not to take melatonin every night to avoid becoming dependent. Instead, use only when you are struggling to fall asleep as a sleep aid.
Some people swear by their bedtime routine of a cup of chamomile tea before settling down to sleep.
Chamomile is a popular herbal remedy that has been used for centuries, due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
While plenty of people believe a cup of chamomile tea helps them get to sleep, there is no actual scientific evidence that it does so. Chamomile does have a calming effect on the body, however, so it could help people to fall asleep due to helping feel relaxed and therefore more ready for sleep.
Ever heard of the phrase ‘carb-coma’? For those who haven’t, it’s when you eat so many carbohydrates that you feel the urge to fall asleep straight after. Well, it turns out that there is actually science behind this casual phrase.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is found in carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, corn, and in proteins like nuts, seeds and turkey. That’s right! Wanting to take a nap after your turkey dinner isn’t just you being lazy – it’s scientific fact! Tryptophan helps the brain relax and has a similar effect to serotonin and melatonin on the brain.
Incorporating these foods into your evening meal could be just what you need to fall asleep easier on an evening.
Did you ever learn in history about how people would wrap lavender up in little bags and place them under their pillows to help them fall asleep? Well, this tried and tested idea is still proving popular and effective today, just in the form of essential oils.
Plenty of scientific studies have proven that aromatherapy can be the best therapy for people’s ailments. Especially in people who struggle with sleep.
People who choose scents that promote sleep, such as lavender, valerian and bergamot, find their bodies get into a restful state for sleep quicker. This could be down to the brain associating the scents with sleep, hence creating an instant sleep-inducing effect each time they smell them.
Essential oils have similar effects as medication but don’t produce side effects, so many people prefer to surround themselves with the soothing smells of essential oils, rather than take hormone pills to get to sleep.
Use A Lumie Clock
The most powerful thing that affects our sleep patterns is our internal body clock. Humans brains evolved over the thousands of years to associate daylight with being awake and darkness with being asleep. So surely it would only make sense to our bodies if we went to sleep whenever it became dark. Of course, that’s why we turn off our lights before we go to bed…
But some people struggle to automatically shut their eyes and fall asleep in darkness when they have been wandering about in light for the entire evening. It also makes it harder waking up in the mornings of winter, when it’s still dark outside.
So the Lumie clock has been proven to aid people in their journeys in and out of sleep. The Lumie wakes you up gradually over the course of half an hour, progressively introducing more light to the room so that you naturally wake up with the light. Vice versa, on an evening the light will gradually dim to lull your brain into a sleepy state.
The Lumie has been proven to help people who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and leave people waking up feeling fresh and well rested.
Listen To A Sleep Story
While some people believe sleep aids such as stories and meditation are ‘mumbo-jumbo’, there is a method in the madness!
Training your brain to respond to soothing sounds, and relax your body and clear the mind, can be powerful in helping you to drift off to sleep. Sleep stories fall into the category of guided meditation. There’s a reason that so many people swear by yoga and meditation.
If your parents used to read you bedtime stories when you were a child, listening to a story before bed as an adult can have a soothing effect on the brain. You associate the story with the fond memories of your childhood bedtime stories, which in turn helps you feel safe and relaxed. Hence, you can fall asleep easier.
Hopefully this article has given you some inspiration for effective sleep aids you could try out. If herbal remedies and hormone pills aren’t really your thing, why not try listening to one of our sleep stories over on our Sleepiest app? They have been proven to help people drift off quickly into a relaxing slumber time and again. They may be just what you need!