It's science, but it's not rocket science. Here are some simple ways to get more sleep.
1. Watch what you eat. And when you eat. Try to stick to a dinner time that is at least 3 hours before you head to bed. Obviously, sugar and caffeine intakes should be limited at night, but also eating a massive dinner an hour and a half before lying down horizontally might cause some discomfort.
- A night-cap of tart cherry juice could make you fall asleep faster, according to researchers from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester
- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and mustard greens contain tryptophan which helps your body manufacture melatonin, the chemical for sleep
- Tuna, halibut, and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin
- Chamomile tea has a chemical that relaxes nerves and acts as a mild sedative
- Calcium found in cheese, yogurt, and milk helps the brain create melatonin and additionally regulate muscle movements.
2. Book a massage. Increase your body’s production of serotonin and oxytocin, the feel-good stuff.
3. Take 18 deep breaths. Sometimes you lie there with so much anxiety and thoughts in your head, it feels like your entire mind is buzzing. Controlled breathing exercises can relax your body though to get it in the right frame of mind. Neuroscientist Dr. Leslie Sherlin of Senselabs recommends this trick:
- To try it, first lie down and get as comfortable as possible.
- Then begin the breathing exercise by taking at least 18 deep breaths. Each breath should last 10 seconds, with a five-second inhale followed by a five-second exhale.
- After you’ve completed the 18 breaths, take note of how calm your body feels.
- If you’re still too active to fall asleep, he says, repeat the breathing exercise until you can.
4. Sleep in a dark room. If you don't have black out curtains or you work the night shift, invest in a sleeping mask that blocks the light. When the brain senses pure darkness, the natural production of melatonin is increases. It also blocks out distractions and reduces anxiety (think a blanket over a bird cage will stop its squawking).
5. The power of scents. The best ones to help foster relaxation and sleep are Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Geranium, Bergamot, Lemon, Rose and Sandalwood. Dab a bit on your wrists, rub them together and take a 3 deep breaths. Our Midnight Shift Overnight Facial Oil was designed to whisk you off into slumberland with its lavender scent.