This post was published in partnership with Pharmaca
Tossing, turning, desperately trying to fall asleep—sound familiar? Getting consistent restful sleep is the foundation of a healthy body, but with our stressful, busy lives, that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Fortunately, these five natural ways to fall asleep can help you get better rest, feel more energized and support overall good health.
About 20 minutes before you crawl into bed, take some time to sit or lie down quietly. If a blanket or pillow makes you feel more comfortable, add those to your environment. Now close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take deep, slow breaths and allow your mind to find peace and quiet.
Phone, tablets and laptops all emit a blue light that reduces your melatonin level , which makes it hard to find that sleepy feeling. Considering how attached we all are to our electronics these days, this can cause sleep problems for a lot of people. The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. If you do have to use your phone right before bed, turning it to night mode can help reduce the blue light effect.
No surprises here: Our bedroom setup makes a big difference in the quality of our sleep. Keep the temperature cool and use a diffuser with lavender oil, which can help you relax and (hopefully) drift off. If light seeps into your space, a sleep mask can create the dark environment you need.
We are creatures of habit, and our bodies perform their best when going to bed and waking up at a consistent time. When we don’t follow a sleep schedule, we interrupt our biological clock, which releases hormones that make us sleepy or alert—something called our circadian rhythm. A consistent bedtime helps our body know when to prepare itself for sleep.
Most melatonin supplements contain animal-based or synthetic ingredients, but you might consider using a plant-based melatonin that comes in both a physiologic (within the range your body makes) and a pharmalogic dose. Some good-night sleep supplements are derived from plants, rice, chlorella and grass and then extracted and concentrated in its naturally occurring form, making it bio-identical to what the body produces and easy to assimilate.
A low dose of melatonin is better for getting a restful night’s sleep. In fact, research from MIT confirms that only 0.3 mg melatonin is the ideal dose to not only fall asleep but also quickly return to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night. With larger doses, your brain might become overexposed to melatonin, which can dampen the effect.