Specific Foods That Can Affect Sleep
Researchers, including nutritionists and sleep experts, have conducted different types of studies to try to discover the best foods for sleep. While this research provides important clues, its not conclusive. In general, theres a lack of direct evidence about specific foods that are good for sleep.
In addition, the range of varieties of cultivars of most foods means that their nutrient profile can be inconsistent. For example, some varieties of red grapes have high levels of melatonin while others have virtually none. Climate and growing conditions may further alter the nutrients in any particular food product.
That said, there are indications that certain foods can make you sleepy or promote better sleep. Sometimes this is based on a particular research study and in other cases on the underlying nutritional components of the food or drink.
Dietary choices affect more than just energy and sleepiness they can play a major role in things like weight, cardiovascular health, and blood sugar levels just to name a few. For that reason, its best to consult with a doctor or dietician before making significant changes to your daily diet. Doing so helps ensure that your food choices support not just your sleep but all of your other health priorities as well.
Exercising For Better Sleep
Working out is great for your body and mind and it can also help you geta good nights sleep. But, for some people, exercising too late in the daycan interfere with how well they rest at night.
Based on available studies, We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality, says Charlene Gamaldo, M.D. , medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital. But theres still some debate as to what time of day you should exercise. I encourage people to listen to their bodies to see how well they sleep in response to when they work out, she adds.
Make Happiness A Habit
A February 2018 study published in theJournal of Behavioral Medicine that consisted of more than 3,500 adults between the ages of 32 and 51 concluded that optimistic people were likely to report good sleep quality on a regular basis. In fact, during the five-year study period, the volunteers with higher levels of optimism had a 74% chance of not suffering from insomnia.
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When Should You See A Healthcare Provider
Though you might seek to take something immediately to help you sleep when you have insomnia, there may not be any immediate relief. If your insomnia persists, you may need further help.
If you can identify what is causing your insomnia, and you anticipate that it will resolve, you may decide to endure it. As an example, if you are studying for a test and you have trouble sleeping, this is likely to improve once the test passes.
Sometimes the problem of insomnia becomes a persistent or recurrent one. If the difficulty falling or staying asleep becomes disruptive to your life, you may wish to do something about it.
If you find yourself feeling depressed or even suicidal because of your insomnia, then it is imperative that you seek help.
You may start by speaking with your primary care healthcare provider about your concerns. If more sophisticated help is needed, you may be referred to a sleep specialist. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common cause of persistent insomnia, especially when associated with awakenings, and this may require its own treatment.
You may benefit from targeted changes as part of a cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia program, delivered through a book, an online course, a workshop or class, or by meeting with a psychologist.
What Can I Do To Help My Dad With Dementia Sleep Better At Night He Suffers From Sundowning And Often Won’t Sleep Until Extremely Late
From late afternoon its important to remain calm and stick to the bedtime routine, as your dad may pick up on your stress causing him distress. Try to find a balance between your dad not being over-tired while still being tired enough for bed. This might mean experimenting with naptimes. Natural daylight is wonderful for helping to reset a disrupted body-clock, so you should consider simply sitting outdoors or next to a bright window when your dad starts to show signs of agitation or restlessness. Find more tips on how to deal with Sundowning here.
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Find Balance In Your Life
Stress can turn our lives upside down and throw everything off-kilter. Finding your equilibrium, getting your bearings straight, and finding the balance in your life between the many demands of family, partner, work, and friends is essential.
If you are feeling increased stress, take a look at the demands around you and make sure that there is a balance between the different parts of your lifein particular, the areas where you find more nourishment for the soul.
Incorporating the well-known life coaching strategy life wheel is a great way to think about the different parts of your life to ensure that you are giving all areas the time and attention that they need.
Avoid Using Your Cell Phone
Currently, there is much debate about whether or not the use of cell phones at bedtime affects sleep.
One study in college students found that those who scored high on a scale of problem phone use, such as addictive texting behavior, had a lower sleep quality. However, there was no difference in the length of time they slept.
Much of the current research is in students and young people, so it is unclear whether or not these findings extend to other age groups. Studies also tend to focus on problem phone use. People who do not use their phone in this way may not be as susceptible to sleep disturbances.
More research is necessary in this area to understand the extent to which phone use can impact sleep.
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Safe Sleep For Older Adults
Try to set up a safe and restful place to sleep. Make sure you have smoke alarms on each floor of your home. Before going to bed, lock all windows and doors that lead outside. Other ideas for a safe nights sleep are:
- Keep a telephone with emergency phone numbers by your bed.
- Have a lamp within reach that is easy to turn on.
- Put a glass of water next to the bed in case you wake up thirsty.
- Dont smoke, especially in bed.
- Remove area rugs so you wont trip if you get out of bed during the night.
Find A Comfortable Position
A comfortable sleeping position is essential for sleep. Frequently changing positions can be distracting, but finding the right spot can make a big difference to the onset of sleep.
Most people find that sleeping on their side is the best position for a good nights sleep. Learn about the benefits of side sleeping here.
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Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly affect sleep quality.
As you may have experienced during the summer or in hot locations, it can be very hard to get a good nights sleep when its too warm.
One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise (
That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well.
In one study, a high carb meal eaten 4 hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster .
Interestingly, one study discovered that a low carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs arent always necessary, especially if youre used to a low carb diet .
Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, certain meals and snacks a few hours before bed may help.
Engage Your Creative Brain
When we engage the creative parts of ourself we tap into the part of our brain that releases dopamine, which has a naturally calming, therapeutic effect. Needless to say, this will almost immediately help us to relax and will lower our stress levels. One of the premises for which art therapy has been well established.
In one study, in particular, it was found that after just 45 minutes of engaging with artistic materials, regardless of the level of production or artistic talent the person had, there was a notable decrease of cortisol in 75% of the participants.
Music therapy is another form of creative art that can relieve stress and restore our energy. Many of us use music to help us decompress or move into another part of our day or activity. Music also taps into this part of our brain that increases focus and can help us emulate the feeling or vibe we perceive in the music. As we know, upbeat music will help you feel more positive while slower music can help you feel more relaxed by easing some of the tension in your body.
There are tons of great playlists out there aimed at stress relief. The next time you are on your preferred music streaming service, test out a few and see which works for you. Needless to say, music is one of those things that we can have in the background while moving forward with other parts of our day.
Perhaps this is another area in need of a reboot that could enhance your stress relief routine.
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Products That Might Help You Sleep Better At Night
We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
Some Research Suggests It Might Be Worth A Try
People have been turning to cannabis for its possible health benefits for a long, long time. Its ability to help people, for example, is mentioned in the Atharvaveda, a Hindu text that dates back to around 1500 B.C., and its use for inducing sleep is described in a 1200 A.D. Chinese medical text.
Today, people are still using cannabis to help them sleep, particularly one form of it: CBD, or cannabidiol. Thats a compound found in marijuana and hemp that doesnt get you high, and that has recently exploded in popularity because of its potential to treat other health problems, including pain and anxiety.
In a recent nationally representative Consumer Reports survey, about 10 percent of Americans who reported trying CBD said they used it to help them sleep, and a majority of those people said it worked.
Its easy to understand why people are turning to CBD to help with sleep: Almost 80 percent of Americans say they have trouble sleeping at least once a week, according to another recent nationally representative CR survey of 1,267 U.S. adults. And many existing treatments, particularly prescription and over-the-counter drugs, are often not very effectiveand are risky, too.
A small but growing body of scientific research provides some support for CBD as a sleep aid. A study out this month, for example, suggests CBD might help people with short-term sleep problems.
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Home Remedies For A Better Nights Sleep
Read on to discover our top ten remedies and solutions for better sleep at night.
Epsom Salt Baths
Many naturopaths recommend an Epsom salt bath before bedtime, to help you relax and wind down. Epsom salt isnt salt well, not the kind of salt youd put on a meal, anyway. Its made up of magnesium sulfate, which breaks down in water and allows your body to absorb the magnesium.
Magnesium is renowned for its ability to soothe muscle aches, relieve joint pain, and relax the muscles. Many of us are deficient in magnesium too, so an Epsom salt bath can help balance out the minerals in your body, as well as helping you relax before bed.
The instructions for creating an Epsom salt bath are simple. Draw your bath as you usually would, and add between 100g 200g of the salt to the water. Make sure its all dissolved before you get in. Soak in the bath for around twenty minutes, and repeat the process a few times each week. This should help you relax before bed and fall asleep more easily.
An oil massage is another way of helping you to relax and de-stress before you get into bed. Coconut oil is an excellent oil to use for this, though you can use any oils that you have to hand around the house olive oil, for instance, or perhaps almond oil. You may want to enlist the help of a partner or housemate for this remedy.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Keep a Sleep Schedule
You can monitor your activity with a sleep tracking device.
Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
If you do have a snack before bed, wine and chocolate shouldn’t be part of it. Chocolate contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. Surprisingly, alcohol has a similar effect. It makes you a little sleepy, but it’s actually a stimulant and it disrupts sleep during the night. Also stay away from anything acidic or spicy, which can give you heartburn.
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Get Better Sleep Without A Prescription
Now, you have a better idea of what may be causing your insomnia, and some of the habit changes and best over-the-counter sleep aids that may offer you relief.
Making choices as simple as keeping your sleep routine consistent can allow you to get the rest you need. Avoid eating before bed, and food and drinks that can interfere with sleep, and youll have an even better chance of controlling your symptoms.
If you decide to use over-the-counter sleep aids, youll find that there is an excellent selection of options available in stores and online. Many of these sleep aids are formed of naturally-occurring substances that are already used by your body as part of the sleep cycle.
If your Insomnia is resisting treatment, you should see a doctor as soon as your condition begins to interfere with your life. Insomnia is a highly-complex problem with hundreds of possible sources. Some of those sources may be medical issues that require immediate treatment.
How To Fall Asleep Fast
Dr. Jade Wu, PhD, DBSM
Dr. Jade Wu, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine. She completed her Ph.D. at Boston University, and finished her medical psychology residency and clinical fellowship at Duke University School of Medicine.
By Rosie OsmunCertified Sleep Coach
Learning how to fall asleep fast sounds difficult, right? Try these strategies all you need is your mind and your smartphone. Some nights falling asleep quickly doesnt come easy,
Learning how to fall asleep fast sounds difficult, right? Try these strategies all you need is your mind and your smartphone.
Some nights falling asleep quickly doesnt come easy, and tossing, turning and thinking about not sleeping only makes it worse. You probably know the basic ideas like reading a book and turning off your electronics, but when those dont work what can you do?
Turns out, there are some unconventional tactics that sleep experts have stumbled upon that rely on your own biology and psychology to induce relaxation.
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake Too
Put down the wine, beer, or cocktails at least three hours before hitting the sheets. Alcohol decreases your REM sleep, a sleep stage that occurs during the first 90 minutes after you fall asleep. We dont fully understand the underlying reason for REM sleep, but decades of study strongly suggest that it delivers important developmental and restorative functions for the brain, says Breus. Its believed that this sleep phase helps with memory consolidation and emotional processing.
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Are Natural Sleep Remedies Safe For Pregnant People
Certain natural sleep remedies like yoga, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques are great for pregnant people to maintain a healthy, relaxed body and mind. If these techniques also aid in sleep during pregnancy, that is even better. However, some supplements, aromatherapies, herbs, and teas may not be safe to use while pregnant, and you should consult with your physician before trying any of these methods.
Reasons You Wake Up At Night
There are all kinds of things that can disrupt your sleep. Its not uncommon to get struck with a bout of short-term insomnia in the face of major stress, illness, or severe pain. Certain medications, an uncomfortable sleep environment, or changes to your normal sleep schedule can make it harder to nod off, too.
The good news is that once those situations clear up, youll probably be able to get back to sleeping easy. But if those issues stick aroundlike in the case of depression or anxiety, chronic stress, or chronic painyour insomnia might take on a life of its own and stick around long term.
Sleeping trouble can be the result of some medical issues, also, like asthma, allergies, hyperthyroidism, or acid reflux. And of course, sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome are other common culprits.
In those cases, its usually a matter of finding a solution to the root of the problem before youre able to truly achieve deep, restful sleep. If you know that youre dealing with a chronic health issue and suspect that its affecting your sleep, or if your insomnia persists even after improving your lifestyle, talk with your doctor. Together, you can figure out a plan to manage your condition more effectivelyand in turn, make sleep easier to come by.
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