Lights are out, head is resting on a pillow, and eyes are shut. In a few moments, you’ll drift off and start to dream…
At least, this is what we hope will happen every time we climb into bed for the night. Sleep is a funny thing. Sometimes it hits us hard, and we’re out in a matter of seconds. Other times, it seems as if the minutes are slowly ticking by, as our bodies lie on the cloud we hope to sail away on. For reasons sometimes unknown to us, falling asleep can be one the hardest things to do. Getting the right amount of rest at night is necessary for us to function. We need to let our bodies re-set, and properly doing so helps us keep up our overall health – mental and physical. If you’re having a hard time falling asleep at night, there are a number of natural ways that you can help your body relax, and even speed up the process of falling asleep.
Make A Comfortable Space
I think one of the most important things when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep is feeling comfortable. My bed is one of my favorite places. I love a lot of pillows, and I keep most of them on my bed throughout the night. Figure out what you like best. Maybe it’s 10 pillows, maybe it’s 1…whatever it is, make sure you set your bed up exactly the way you like it. I’ve also started hanging things that are important to me on the wall behind my bed. They are keepsakes of good times, and things that make me feel at home. Having them close to me at night helps me to relax.
Fill Your Room With Inviting Smells
That little wooden stick you see in the above picture is Palo Santo. Palo Santo trees grow in Ecuador, and when the wood from the tree burns, the smoke emits an aroma that is warming and calming. In Spanish, Palo Santo means “Holy Wood.” It has been used in many practices as a cleansing agent and to rid spaces of negative energy. I’ve started to burn a little bit of this at night as I get ready for bed, prepping my room with inviting smells before I tuck in for the night. The smell is strong, so use it sparingly. Burning incense and candles is another way to fill your room with pleasant scents before you sleep.
Read a Book
Next time you’re having a hard time falling asleep, grab a book instead of the TV remote. Moving your eyes from left to right through the pages of a book is an easy way to help you drift off. Make sure you are in a position that is also comfortable to fall asleep in. Position yourself horizontally rather than sitting up. After a couple pages, you’ll find that it becomes harder and harder to keep your eyes open, until eventually you’re sound asleep.
Slip On Socks
I like it cold when I’m trying to fall asleep, but being too cold isn’t going to get you very far during the process. Wearing socks at night can speed up the time it takes to doze off. When you are on the verge of sleep, the blood flow in our body is redirected to your hands and feet. When you keep these extremities warm, it increases blood circulation, and good blood flow induces sleep. This tip really comes in handy in colder months. In the summer, you can still wear socks to bed, but just make sure they are made from a cooler material so you don’t end up waking up in a sweat.
Use Pillow Spray
During a trip to London, one of the hotels I stayed at provided each room with a little bottle of pillow spray. I thought this was the coolest thing. It had a scent of lavender and eucalyptus, and you were supposed to spray it on your pillow right before you went to bed. Lavender is an herb that helps with anxiety, stress, and nervousness. The different aromas in the spray mix together to create a scent that calms the nerves and relaxes the body. When I got back to the states, I wanted to make my own to use before bed every night. Combine a few drops of lavender essential oil with a couple tablespoons of witch hazel in a spray bottle to make your own pillow spray – you can also try adding in other oils, like bergamot, vetiver or eucalyptus.
Make It Darker
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, too much light may be leaking into your bedroom. This really depends on personal preference, but some of us need it to be pitch black in order to fall asleep. Next time you’re having trouble sleeping, try using a sleeping mask. Total darkness helps the body ease into sleep, whereas sleeping with a dim light or television on can be distracting.
Drink Cherry Juice
Tart cherries contain the hormone melatonin, and melatonin helps you fall asleep. If you start drinking cherry juice in the morning and in the evening, chances are you will be able to gain 90 extra minutes of sleep! Cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, and July is one of the best months to buy them. Eating a handful an hour before bed is another option instead of drinking juice.
Do you have any tips? Please share!
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