If you are suffering from insomnia, you're not alone. Approximately 1 in 3 people have trouble sleeping, which could either mean you are not able to fall asleep, or you struggle with staying asleep. If you want to learn how to sleep better naturally, the best thing you can do is create a bedtime ritual.
Why You Should Create a Sleep Ritual
There are a few people that can go straight to sleep, but others may need a set of events that click the body into saying… yes, now it is time for sleep. This is where a sleep ritual can prime you up for a tranquil night of deep, restful sleep.
If you're not sure about starting a sleep ritual, or even if it will work… Here are some of my nighttime sleep rituals I've created to help me with restless sleep patterns over the years.
Triggering Your Body
Habits, especially routines, trigger your body into the task at hand. For example, you may have a morning ritual that triggers your body and mind in knowing you are about to go to work or take the kids to school.
You may have rituals that tell your mind and body that you are going to the gym, to exercise, or out with friends. These same triggering methods and rituals can help with sleep as well.
After doing the same tasks each night for about a few weeks, you will have adopted the habit and your body will know that your night time ritual means sleep.
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How To Sleep Better Naturally
Removing Negative Influences
Remove obvious negative influences that may be causing you to have sleep issues. They can range from becoming over-stimulated before sleep, exposing yourself to the stress of the news, alcohol, or eating something substantial that won't digest well. These sorts of things can fire up your nervous system making it difficult to rest and relax.
By putting a sleep ritual in place, you can remove these negative influences by developing better habits by redirecting your energy elsewhere.
Plan to start your nighttime ritual about an hour before bed so that you can go to sleep between 10 – 10:30 pm. To begin to let go of the stress of the day, try the following rituals to wind-down with ease.
1. Bedtime Teas For Better Sleep
Developing your sleep ritual for better sleep will develop over time. You will find things that work and things that don't. Then you can make adjustments as you move through the rituals and through the seasons.
With that said, one thing that will likely end up as part of your sleep ritual or bedtime routine is the use of herbal tea. We suggest drinking your herbal tea about an hour and a half before bed so that it has time to work its magic and you have time to completely empty your bladder before it's time for sleep.
These are my trusted sleep tea remedies.
Lavender and Chamomile
Simply combine 1 teaspoon of dried food-grade lavender and 1 teaspoon chamomile with 8 ounces of hot water to make this tea.
The mixture provides a soothing tea that can help soothe away ideas related to anxiety and depression. It's so simple, and I hope you become slightly obsessed with it, like me. I think you'll really enjoy it! 🙂
Ginger, Cardamom, Turmeric and Ashwagandha Almond Milk
Combine almond milk (fresh if you have it) with some grated fresh Ginger and a pinch of Cardamom, Turmeric, and Ashwagandha. Warm and add a little honey.
This nighttime beverage is a little heavier and grounding making it perfect for your fall and winter routine.
Ginger and Mint
If you ate a late dinner or have digestive issues that keep you up at night, you may want to consider a tea to help with digestion.
Fresh ginger root and mint can help. Simply take one inch of freshly sliced ginger root and 3 or 4 fresh mint leaves and mix them with hot water. Let the tea steep for several minutes and drink slowly. The mint can settle your stomach, and the ginger will help to soothe the stomach and digestive upset.
One of the best tips for adding any of these teas to your night routine is to switch them up a bit. If you, for example, drink chamomile every night then your body will build up a resistance. Try different teas each night, see what works for you, and make your own mixtures. Test them and note the results.
2. Get Comfortable Before You Sleep
There are many ways to get comfortable before going to bed to improve the quality of your sleep.
For instance, taking a warm bath with rose essential oil will not only calm you, but the warm water will raise your core temperature, relax your muscles, open your heart and purify any negative emotions you may be carrying from the day. The purpose of your nighttime ritual is to help you let go stress and prepare you for a sweet state of slumber.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils make life better in all kinds of ways. Here are my top 5 essential oils to help calm your nervous system so you have a deep night's sleep.
There are lots of ways you can use essential oils to enhance your sleep quality. As I suggested above, you can put 10 – 15 drops into a warm bath and allow the aromas to work their magic.
Or, you can add a few drops of these essential oils to a diffuser. Just place it in your bedroom and let the relaxing scents slowly spread around the room while you sleep.
4. Yoga Poses For Deep Sleep
You may have heard of adding yoga to your daily routine for a variety of health reasons.
One of the top reasons is because the practice promotes a better sleep pattern. If you find yourself not achieving REM sleep, or not being able to stay in REM sleep, then you may be wondering what the cause may be or how to fix the issue.
One way to fix it is to incorporate a few poses and a life-changing meditation practice just before bed for deeper sleep.
Legs Up The Wall
The legs up the wall pose is precisely how it sounds.
You will lay on your back with your the back of your legs flat against the wall. Your body should be at a 90-degree angle. Arms are laid out, palms up, to your sides.
The idea of this pose is to workout stress from your back muscles and to relieve tension from your legs.
Breathing techniques can be used with this pose to further help in stress release. It can be done using the headboard of your bed instead of a wall as well.
One of the most powerful ancient yogic practices is called Yoga Nidra. Nidra means sleep. Yoga is to bring consciousness and awareness to all parts of your life, making it whole. Loosely translated, it means “Yogic sleep”.
The aim of Yoga Nidra is to induce profound relaxation in your body and mind, eliminate stress, solve interpersonal problems, promote health and ultimately realize the goal of yoga-Freedom.
It has many benefits, but the physical benefits extend to your muscular system, which brings relief to aches and pains. It releases seated anxieties in the mind and reduces stress like no other practice can.
You can learn more about all the benefits of Yoga Nidra here: What is Yoga Nidra About?
5. Breathing Techniques For Better Sleep
One of the best ways that you can disconnect from your stress and relax your body and mind is to practice breathing techniques. If you aren't sure which methods may work, here are a few to consider.
This breathing technique has been said to have the ability to put you to sleep in as little as 60 seconds.
The technique is simple.
Lay on your back and breathe in deeply. Breathe into the count of four. Hold that breath for a count of seven. Exhale the breath to the count of eight.
Repeat this until you have fallen asleep. It is a cleansing breath, slow breathing technique, and will help your body to slowly calm down and create a feeling of calm.
This type of breathing technique is precisely what it sounds like. You simply breathe in and count that as a breath. Breathe out and count that as well. So, you would be breathing for each count. For example, breathing in would be count one and breathing out would be count two.
This works for people that find counting to be restful and calming. It can also be the start of a breathing technique that bleeds into another technique like the 4-7-8 method.
Bellows breathing is just a bit different than the other two relaxing slow breathing techniques.
Bellows breathing is a rapid breathing technique that has you bringing in a breath and holding it and releasing it in fast, quick breaths. Your goal is to breathe in and out three times per second. The idea is that this will mimic cardio workouts and help relax your system.
This may work for people that find a rapid breathing to be soothing and stress releasing.
You can do this for a total of 15 seconds your first time. In fact, some doctors suggest starting with that pattern and not exceeding 15 seconds their first time. Try these techniques to find the right pattern or routine for you and your sleep needs.
6. Sleep in a Cool, Dark & Quiet Room
Light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin – the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles. A reduction in this hormone at night leads to varying levels of sleeplessness.
To avoid sleep disruption due to nighttime exposure to light, always sleep with all the lights off. This includes the light emitted from electronic devices. So make sure your computer, phone, or tablet are either turned off or stored outside the bedroom.
Too much heat can also disrupt your sleep quality. To keep cool while you sleep, crack a window open or make sure the room is well ventilated. The suggested bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep
If you still find that you’re too warm after doing this, go to bed wearing lighter clothing and consider investing in a lighter duvet or even sleeping with just a light sheet.
Noise is yet another thing that can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your sleep. To cut the amount of noise in your room, make sure there’s nothing to potentially make noise while you sleep. If it’s noisy outside your bedroom, try sleeping with earplugs. There are dozens of brands to choose from, but these clear silicone earplugs offer the best noise reduction and are the most comfortable.
7. Massage Your Temples and Feet
Massaging your scalp, temples, and feet is the perfect combination of sleep techniques. They are my favorite stress-reduction strategies because I can feel pleasant feelings of deep relaxation in my entire system.
Massaging your scalp and temples creates a signal to induce chemical and physiological changes to calm your nervous system to encourage restful sleep.
Your feet (and scalp) have thousands of nerve endings; In fact, they are the most sensitive parts of the body, so massaging them with warm oil will induce deep relaxation, decrease blood pressure and prevent anxiety.
Generally, use sesame oil, but if you want to treat yourself to a unique Ayurvedic foot oil, check out IYura Himaruti Foot Oil. I received it as a Christmas gift this year, and I love this oil!! In fact, it was this oil that inspired this post-Christmas post. (You'll need socks to keep the sheets clean until the oil is absorbed.)
The Kansa wand works wonders for stress-relief and rejuvenation.
8. Amethyst Healing Mat
This last recommendation saved me from the worst bout of insomnia I've ever experienced.
About three years back I had insomnia for over a year. It seemed like my body was stuck in stress mode and at the same time, I had low back and neck pain.
After a month or so of very little sleep, my massage therapist recommended an Amethyst Mat and sent me home with hers to borrow. So, I started laying on it for 30 minutes or so every night. The very first night I slept better than I had in a long time. And after about a week the aches and pains disappeared, and I finally caught up on the sleep that had been missing. I had mental clarity, my pain was gone, I felt renewed, rejuvenated and I was sleeping peacefully again. I was totally sold.
FIR Amethyst Heated Mat for Sound Sleep
The Amethyst Far Infrared Therapy Heated Mat is calming and brings your body to a state of deep relaxation to induce sleep. The radiant heat of the mat tranquilizes and penetrates up to 6 inches into your body for deeper sleep and healing at the same time. The heat therapy used in Amethyst mats increases the absorption of nutrients like magnesium, which has a critical role in inducing sound sleep.
If you've tried everything to get sleep, and it's not working, consider an Amethyst Gemstone Healing Mat. Twenty minutes on this mat before bed will give you the most profound relaxation you may have ever experienced. They are a wonderful tool for meditation. Or may I suggest you listen to this version of Yoga Nidra during your nighttime sessions on the Amethyst healing mat.
I realize they are a bit pricey, but consider purchasing an Amethyst healing mat is an investment in preventative health and overall well-being.
They have many health benefits besides improved sleep and they are made from high-quality material and superior workmanship. (I have 3 mats so I could have them in multiple locations. That's how much I value them.)
Here are just a few of the other health benefits of an Amethyst Far Infrared Healing Mat:
- Relieves muscle and joint pain
- Increased blood circulation
- Reduces stress
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased tissue oxygen
Conclusion of How To Sleep Better Naturally
Connect with me below and tell me about your sleep problems. If you’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep, I hope the eight suggestions on how to start a bedtime ritual helps to enhance your sleep quality. I am here to help you out and I would love nothing more than to help you be the healthiest version of yourself possible. I will be sure to get back within “hours” most of the time. These tips are very simple to put in place but surprisingly effective. So give them a try today and start enjoying the best sleep of your life.