Getting better sleep is a goal for most of us, but what plagues us at night and keeps us from falling—or staying—asleep is often an individual thing. The best sleep remedies for you may be different from someone else, but there are certainly some helpful tips we can all adopt to get better sleep.
Learn nine sleep remedies you can use to optimize sleep and wake up feeling your best below.
1. Use White Noise
Sometimes, falling asleep or staying asleep can be disrupted by noises, especially if you live in a city or area with loud traffic at night. Adding a white noise machine to your room—or alternatively, wearing ear plugs when you sleep—can help drown out the noise that disrupts sleep.
As we age, many people tend to become more sensitive to stimuli that interrupts their sleep. Quality sleep requires the body to cycle through various levels of deep restfulness, which gets interrupted when noises wake us up.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
If falling asleep is a problem for you, try a short mindfulness meditation right before bed. This can help get you out of cyclical thinking or out of your head in general, alleviate tension in your muscles, and give your brain an indication that it's time to wind down.
Free meditations are available on apps like Insight Timer or as audio components on YouTube, so you have plenty of options to choose from.
3. Frontload (or Limit) Caffeine Intake
Caffeine has a half-life of six to eight hours for the average adult. If you're a fan of an afternoon espresso or cappuccino, it might be worth limiting intake or at least frontloading it if you're in the market for sleep remedies. Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and energy drinks keeps your nervous system ramped up, making it difficult to relax before bed.
A limit of 200 to 400 mg of caffeine per day is considered a healthy balance for performance gains and giving your body enough time to wind down.
4. Limit Liquids Before Bed
Nighttime interruptions such as getting up to pee can also make it difficult to fall asleep and get enough rest to be at your best the next day. If you're a frequent night-time flier, try ceasing or limiting liquid intake three hours before bed. At night, instead of drinking water, try drinking a relaxing beverage like chamomile tea to help your nervous system chill out before sleep.
Studies show exercise can help reduce or eliminate insomnia. Working out helps regulate hormone production in the body, use energy in our bodies, and promote more restful deep sleep once we fall asleep. If you find yourself unable to fall asleep at the end of the day or getting a second "wind" in the darker hours of the day, a 30 to 60 minute workout might be a significant sleep remedy.
6. Use a Natural Herb Supplement
Lavender, chamomile, valerian root, and passion flower all have promising scientific literature behind them showing they can promote restful sleep. Look for teas and oral supplements to take 30 to 60 minutes before bed.
For some, melatonin can be a good supplement for sleep. However, some people report excessively vivid dreams or difficulty sleeping if they don't take melatonin before bed, which is something to consider before taking it.
Not all sleep is created equal. If you go to bed with a lot on your mind, you may have difficulty staying asleep or reaching deep levels of restfulness. A simple, affordable sleep remedy you might try is journaling for 10 to 15 minutes before bed.
Write down thoughts in your head, ideas for the next day, or just reflect on how the day that just passed when and what you could do better tomorrow. What's on the page won't be in your head and you'll be better positioned to fall asleep and stay that way.
8. Adopt a New Sleep Posture
The science behind poor sleep posture is quite clear: it can make it difficult to fall asleep and especially hard to stay asleep if you're uncomfortable in bed. Aligning your neck and spine properly can also prevent ailments like chronic lower back or neck pain that plagues you throughout the day.
9. Increase Room Darkness
Removing light sources, even small ones such as your smartphone, promote an optimal environment for sleep. When our eyes see artificial light at night, it can result in the release of "daytime" hormones that make deep rest difficult, if not impossible.
Even small light sources, like those on the buttons on an air conditioner, can be taped off to help promote darkness. Dark curtains to prevent sunlight from coming in can also be helpful.
See our collection of Neck Nest pillows and find one that'll help remedy your sleep and help you get the best night of rest possible.