There’s no denying that life can be hectic. We sometimes astonish ourselves with how much we voluntarily add to our seemingly full plate, and yet we usually do so with a smile, knowing that our family, friends, career, or home really need the time and attention. The phrase “self-care” has begun making it’s way around the internet, and yet, to many, it still remains more of a mythological concept rather than an easy-to-implement practice. It’s probably because adding anything else to an already full schedule (even if it’s something you’ll probably enjoy) sounds overwhelming and time-consuming, and who needs that? Not me, and not you.
As a result, many of us spend parts of our days on auto-pilot, so to speak. We go through our routines with just enough presence of mind to be there and do what we need to do, yet we often can’t even recall the details of our breakfast, our drives to and from work, and our other usual tasks. When it comes down to it, we are tired. Exhausted, if we’re being honest. Yet, when the long days are finally over, why is it so difficult to sleep?
There are numerous potential causes for sleep troubles, so let’s first outline those. Then, we will explore some practical, natural solutions that actually work, so you can shift from auto-pilot to engaged and start enjoying life with renewed energy.
Common Causes for Sleepless Nights
When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, everything seems a little off. If you wake up tired, the day ahead already seems daunting and it takes some serious will-power to get yourself moving. At the end of each day, when you are finally ready to let your head hit the pillow, you probably feel like it should be easy to fall asleep, right? Why does it seem like such a challenge? If you’re someone who relates to this, one of these common things may be the source of your insomnia:
- You may be consuming too much caffeine. Whether it’s too much caffeine in general or too much caffeine too late in the day, this could be the culprit keeping you up at night, causing you to feel unsettled, jittery, and fidgety.
- You may be addicted to your electronics. If you can’t stop checking your phone, watching TV, or reading on your tablet, you may be surprised to learn what these devices are doing to your brain. The blue lights from these screens communicate to your brain that it’s time to wake up. Essentially, these lights trigger the same brain receptors as actual daylight, throwing your body’s circadian rhythm completely off.
- You may not be getting enough exercise. In the same way that reading or studying can lull our minds into a sleepy trance, exercise (and the cool down) impacts the entire body, affecting your ability to fully relax at the end of the day.
- Your diet could be negatively impacting your entire body. If you frequently reach for fast food or convenient foods that are high in sugar and salt, the entire balance of your body could be suffering the consequences. Too much salt, sugar, and processed foods could lead to headaches, discomfort in your stomach, and bodily fatigue.
- You may have an inconsistent schedule / routine. If your body is constantly forced to adjust itself to early and late wake ups and bedtimes, it doesn’t have the ability to create a true rhythm with predictable sleep cycles. This can make falling asleep and staying asleep a challenge.
- You may be an overthinker, and your mind can’t relax when your body needs it to. Many people don’t realize the intimate connection between the mind and body, and how much they impact one another. If you are someone who worries a lot, can’t stop making mental lists of things to do the next day, and stresses about the “what-ifs” of everything from the weather to your favorite TV show, your fast-paced mind could be to blame for your sleepless nights.
These are just some of the many reasons you may have trouble sleeping. And if you can relate to one (or many) of the above causes, there is good news for you! You absolutely can conquer your sleep woes and get yourself on track to achieving a more restful night’s sleep with just a few small behavior changes. And remember that mythical idea of self-care we discussed earlier? In just a few steps, it can be incorporated so smoothly into your life that it won’t feel like an additional time commitment. You’ll simply make a couple of small behavior shifts and reap the benefits of a rejuvenating night’s sleep, resulting in more energy, vitality, and zest for life!
Natural Remedies to Encourage Better Sleep
Because a few small changes can have a drastic impact on your sleepless nights, we have decided to put together a list of natural remedies to encourage better sleep. This is because we find that natural, safe, easy-to-implement solutions are not only easier to start – but over time, they are much easier to maintain. You may want to start small and try just one or two of the below recommendations. Although, keep in mind that the more intentional you are with your small behavior shifts, the more likely you are to see better (and quicker) results. So don’t be afraid to incorporate all of the following recommendations as soon as possible in order to expedite your improved night’s sleep.
In no particular order, here are some excellent, natural ways to improve your insomnia and start achieving the restful night’s sleep you need and deserve:
💤 Switch to decaf, or set a “caffeine cutoff time“ before noon.
Caffeine is known for giving you the pick-me-up you need first thing in the morning. But it’s easy to forget that caffeine is a stimulant, and it can truly disrupt your sleep schedule when you consume too much of it. Studies have found that caffeine has a stimulating effect in as little as 15 minutes, providing a jolt of energy and adrenaline by blocking the chemicals in your brain that tell you it’s time to rest. According to research by the National Sleep Foundation, it takes about six hours for half of the caffeine to be eliminated from the body. So, do yourself a favor and reduce or eliminate your caffeine, and let your brain (and body) rest.
Note: If you have been drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages habitually for an extended period of time, reducing your caffeine intake could result in withdrawal symptoms, such as headache and fatigue. But this is completely natural and after a couple of days, your body will be retrained and your new, healthier habits will prevail.
💤Set a time to “power down” all electronics at least an hour before bed.
This may sound criminal to those whose routine includes looking at social media, texting loved ones, or reading articles before bed. You may love to watch your favorite movie or TV show before attempting to lull into a cozy slumber for the night. That’s why we hate to break it to you, but you need to ditch this late-night habit if you want to improve your sleep quality. There are many reasons your phone and other screens are hindering your ability to rest. So if you can simply set a time to either turn off your devices or plug them in and forget about them for the night, you’ll do your brain and body a whole lot of good.
💤Increase your physical activity during the day.
For many, the idea of adding time to work out sounds impossible. If you can squeeze in a 30-60 minute workout, that would be great! If your schedule simply doesn’t allow for that, there are small ways you can increase your activity regularly, too. Consider:
- Riding a bike to work if you live close enough to do so safely
- Walking to get your lunch instead of ordering delivery
- Take the stairs whenever possible
- Multitask by doing stretches or a short yoga routine while watching the nightly news or while waiting for dinner to cook
Physical activity is good for your entire body, and you will reap many rewards when you incorporate more physical activity into your life, including improved sleep.
💤Make healthier food choices on a regular basis.
Food acts as fuel for our bodies, so when we eat an excessive amount of processed, salty, or sugary foods, our bodies suffer the consequences. If you can make a small shift in your diet and reach for healthier alternatives when you snack and dine, your entire body will thank you. Consider:
- Bringing homemade lunches instead of purchasing your meals from a local fast food restaurant
- Packing fruit, vegetables, or roasted nuts as a snack to help avoid impulse purchases of unhealthy snack foods
- Explore healthy recipes that you actually like, so eating healthy doesn’t feel like a chore
You may be surprised to see how good you feel after a few days of eating food that is clean fuel for your body, and how much better you may sleep after you improve your eating habits.
💤Try to set a consistent sleep schedule, and follow it.
For some, setting and following a consistent sleep schedule is nearly impossible. Whether it’s because of ever-changing routines with kids or spouses or your own varying work schedule, many don’t have the simple luxury of controlling their wake ups and bed times consistently. However, if you can, you should.
Studies have shown that a consistent schedule helps train your mind and body, and that a routine becomes easier to follow over time, as you can achieve a true rhythm in your rest cycles (commonly known as the “circadian rhythm”). If you can, gIve a true “sleep schedule” a try for a week or two, and observe the change in your ability to fall asleep more quickly and soundly.
💤Create a tranquil environment so your mind can relax.
Our minds dictate so much more than we realize, and when the mind can’t relax, neither can the body. If you can’t turn your mind off easily, you may have to start taking more intentional measures to encourage true relaxation so you can fully decompress before bed. There are dozens of things you can do, but here are our favorites because they are nearly effortless and they work:
- Lower the lights, have some chamomile tea, and light a candle. Sounds too simple, right? Setting the scene for relaxation in your physical environment tells the brain to slow down, and you can begin to unwind.
- Meditate. There are numerous meditation options that can help your mind embrace genuine relaxation. Whichever option you choose, make sure that you are fully tuned in to your body and your breath, and quiet everything else, even if it’s just for five solid minutes. This peace and solitude will overwhelmingly benefit your ability to relax and, consequently, your ability to sleep.
- Try an all-natural product containing Melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone produced by your body. Whether it’s because of poor diet, too much blue-light exposure, smoking, or other bodily fatigues, sometimes our bodies don’t produce enough melatonin to signal to the brain that it’s time to sleep. Adding a supplement containing melatonin can help compensate for that deficit, increasing the sleep-evoking signals to your brain.
- Write your woes down in a journal (earlier in the day) so you can channel your thoughts in a healthy way instead of staying up late, worrying. There are numerous ways to “shut off your brain” before bed, and this one really targets the many thoughts you can’t seem to ignore, paving the way to true mental relaxation.
Healthy Choices Encourage a Healthier, Happier Life
Sleep (or a lack of it) can impact your entire life, as the way you feel when you wake up can dictate how you feel for the rest of the day and your ability to engage with and enjoy your life. Conquering your sleep troubles is a step in the direction of having a happier, healthier life. All of the above suggestions are natural, easy to implement, and truly can make a difference.
If you are seeking additional safe, healthy additions to your routine, consider trying the product that is making headlines across the US for it’s overwhelmingly positive reviews in the health and wellness market: CBD. Short for cannabidiol, this hemp-derived, naturally occurring compound can be found in numerous health and wellness products in stores and online. Consumers are thrilled to have an all-natural, non-addictive, versatile product to incorporate into their routines.
Hemp-derived CBD is not only completely legal (since The Farm Bill of 2018 passed), but many reputable CBD brands, like Rejuvia™, organically grow and process their hemp under strict, meticulous standards, ensuring that your natural product is also clean, pure, non-GMO, and effective. Under the law, all hemp-derived CBD products are legal as they contain .3% THC or less. But Rejuvia™ takes the additional step of removing every single trace of THC (the ingredient known for its psychoactive effects), so you can shop with absolute confidence. For your added peace of mind (and to continue maintaining their unmatched reputation in the CBD industry for providing the highest quality CBD), Rejuvia™ also utilizes a third-party lab to verify all of their claims, so you never have to wonder whether the ingredients match the bottle – you’ll know. If you’re curious whether a CBD product may fit into your routine, reach out to Rejuvia™, and a CBD specialist will be happy to help!
A Better Night’s Sleep Awaits!
Whether you choose to implement some or all of the above recommendations, one fact remains: you can improve your ability to sleep! Observe your daily (and nightly) behavior, and make small changes where you see fit. Use the guide above as a road map to your sleep success. You may be surprised to see that your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep has been within reach all along. Once you start enjoying days with increased energy and vitality, you may never look back. Say goodbye to those sleepless nights!