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How to fall asleep quickly

Do you ever find yourself unable to fall asleep and inexorably arrive unrested at the sound of the alarm clock? Here are some tips to help you relax and fall asleep more easily.

Do you ever find yourself struggling to fall asleep and relentlessly hitting the snooze button the following day? While the biological mechanisms of how sleep impacts our mental wellness are not fully understood, experts know a good night of sleep benefits our emotional state. Studies have found sleep deprivation affects our neurotransmitters’ levels and stress hormones, which impair our emotion regulation exacerbating psychiatric disorders and negative feelings. It’s critical to log enough hours of sleep each night to keep us mentally fit. Sometimes it seems impossible to quiet our minds at the end of a stressful day, but incorporating a few tips into your nightly routine may help you fall asleep with ease. If you find yourself chronically tired or struggling to sleep, please consult your physician for a sleep assessment.

Oats

It’s time to change up when you eat your oatmeal. Although most people associate oats with breakfast, it’s a great night time snack. Whole grain or steel-cut oats are a good source of melatonin, a hormone often used as a sleep aid due to its involvement in balancing our circadian rhythm. Levels of melatonin tend to decrease as we age, so eating a bowl of oats before bed may promote falling asleep. Oats also contain tryptophan, which produces serotonin - the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitter.

Studies have found tryptophan is more readily absorbed when eaten with carbohydrate; oats are a whole grain carb, so they’re a nutritious way to boost your serotonin. What about toppings? Top your oatmeal with cherries or bananas to increase the likelihood you’ll quickly fall asleep. Cherries are another source of melatonin, and the electrolytes magnesium and potassium in bananas may help calm you down. However, stay away from added sugars and refined oats when prepping your sleep inducing snack.

Chamomile Tea

Make like Peter Rabbit and try sipping a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed. Aside from being a soothing experience, chamomile contains the antioxidant apigenin, which binds to brain receptors that promote sleepiness. Studies have shown adults who consumed chamomile tea fell asleep 15 minutes earlier and slept sounder than those who didn’t.

Besides its sleep-promoting effects, drinking a cup of chamomile as a part of your nighttime routine helps decrease anxiety, intensifying its impact on helping you doze off. Research even suggests chamomile is an anxiolytic shown to reduce GAD, generalized anxiety disorder, in adults when taken over the course of a 12 week study.

Temperature

Temperature not only plays an essential part in helping you stay asleep, but it also impacts how quickly you fall asleep. The circadian temperature rhythm, or body temperature changes, helps to coordinate your sleep-wake cycle. As our body and brain temperature cool, we are more likely to fall asleep - experts even​ suggest you may experience insomnia when your body temperature fails to decrease. To lower your core temperature try taking a warm bath a few hours before bed for about 10 minutes. Studies found this will​ help decrease sleep latency, or the time it takes to fall asleep, as it stimulates the natural cooling of your body temperature. Thermoregulatory behaviors like ambient temperature adjustments are also essential to help us create an optimal environment to fall asleep. Doctors recommend setting our thermostats between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) to help promote sleep.

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