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.
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.
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.
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.