Experts recommend getting around eight hours of sleep every night, although the exact amount needed for optimal health varies for different people. Still, millions of people struggle to achieve this ideal amount of shut-eye. The inability to get an adequate amount of sleep can be related to problems like anxiety, arthritis, or hormonal shifts, or more serious disorders like sleep apnea. If you are struggling with a medical condition that hinders your sleep, it is always best to talk to a physician.
Here are a few sleep hacks anyone can start implementing right away to make it easier to get your best night’s sleep.
In an attempt to ease the process of falling asleep at night, many people turn to sleep-aids. Some people use prescription medications like Ambien, while others reach for over-the-counter options like Zzzquil or Advil PM. However, most of these medications cause you to build a tolerance and are habit-forming, so people become hooked on them and cannot fall asleep without their assistance.
A much better option is to utilize herbal supplements. Herbal sleep supplements like valerian root are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies or grocery stores. Valerian root is not technically a sleep-aid, but rather a mild sedative that helps reduce anxiety and promotes relaxation. Valerian root is a key ingredient of Momental MEND, a sedative nootropic supplement that can help you feel calmed and relax for an easy transition to sleep.
Another option for a natural, sleep inducing supplement is melatonin. Melatonin is actually a hormone naturally found in the body, while valerian root is an herb. Both are great, natural options to help you fall asleep.
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Temperature MattersFeelings like pain and discomfort can be a barrier to falling asleep. One of the most troublesome factors for people struggling to drift into sleep can be the temperature of the room. Experts say that the optimal temperature for sleep is between 60-67 degrees fahrenheit. Not only is this slightly chilly temperature ideal for laying under a blanket, but it helps cool your body down, which is necessary for sleep.
Over the course of the day, body temperature rises and falls. It starts decreasing its temperature at night, and reaches its lowest point around 5 AM. By setting the temperature in your bedroom a bit lower than you normally would, you facilitate this process and signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep.
Reduce Screen TimeTechnology has a constant presence in our lives today. It can be hard to pull ourselves away from the screen. But, spending too much time staring at your phone or computer can hold you back from actively living your life, and have a negative impact on your mental state. Plus, it takes away from time to do activities that are creative and social.
Another negative consequence of spending your evenings and nights on your phone or laptop is that it can make it harder to go to sleep. Screens of electronics emit a special kind of light, referred to as blue light. Blue light not only causes “digital eye strain,” but it also interferes with the body’s natural production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Try putting your devices away at least 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep, and if you must use them, dim them to the lowest setting.
Plan Your Bedtime Strategically
Throughout the night, your brain moves through different stages as you sleep, each lasting about 90 minutes. It will always be easier to wake up at the end of one of the cycles, rather than in the middle of it.
To make waking up in the morning as easy as possible, plan your bedtime so that your alarm will go off at the end of one of the 90 minute cycles. You can do this by counting backwards in 90 minute intervals from your wakeup time, or simply use a website that will calculate the timing for you. But, planning your bedtime around the 90 minute cycles does not make up for sleeping enough hours. Experts recommend sleeping through 5-6 of these cycles, which comes out to 7.5-9 hours.
ExerciseThe benefits of exercise are well known. From helping with healthy weight maintenance, increasing mental clarity, improving cellular health, and improving symptoms of conditions like depression, there are so many reasons why it is good to work out regularly. Another motivator to add to the list is that regular exercise can help you get a better night’s sleep.
A good workout expends a large amount of energy. Working your body hard throughout the day will prepare it to rest at night, rather than fighting against pent up energy that went unused during the day. And, you do not need to spend every day in the gym to reap the benefits. Research shows that just two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week can make it easier to fall asleep. But, be careful not to workout too close to your bedtime, as your body will need time to cool down from a workout before it is ready for sleep.
Eat Calming FoodsYou may not realize that the foods you eat can play a role in your quality of sleep. But, there are actually quite a few foods that contain substances that can help you fall asleep at night. Some of these sleep-inducing foods include:
- Walnuts: Walnuts contain tryptophan, an amino-acid that contributes to the production of melatonin and serotonin.
- Greens: Greens are some of the healthiest foods available, and now there’s another reason to incorporate them in your diet. Lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties.
- Tuna: Tuna contains a large amount of vitamin B6, which your body needs help produce melatonin and serotonin. Other foods with high amounts of B6 include garlic, pistachios, and salmon.
Coffee is delicious, but there is no doubt that the high caffeine content can contribute to difficulties with sleep. As an alternative warm beverage, experiment with herbal teas.
Chamomile is the most popular herbal tea. With a sweet flavor and immune-boosting power (along with calming effects), it is no wonder why it is a favorite of many. But, you have plenty of other options when it comes to choosing an herbal tea.
Herbs like peppermint, lemongrass, and cardamom are also great options for a calming nighttime tea. Some teas even include valerian root, the herbal sedative that is an ingredient of Momental MEND. Really, when it comes to choosing an herbal tea, as long as it’s caffeine-free, you cannot go wrong. If you have trouble falling asleep at night due to caffeine intake, switch out your coffees for your favorite herbal tea starting at noon.
SexIn order to keep the space nice and relaxed, the bedroom should only be used for two things: sleep and sex. And, the two things are closely related.
Though most people associate sex with excitement, it can actually help you fall asleep. Not only can it be physically exerting, but sex causes a release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone,” as it makes you feel closer to your partner. But, it also counteracts cortisol, a stress hormone. This can make you feel more relaxed and put you in a cam state of mind to fall asleep. Sex also induces the release of the hormone prolactin, which also helps you feel tired.
Most people generally feel happy and relaxed post-rendezvous, so it is a great way to get in a good state of mind that makes it easier to drift to sleep.
Aromatherapy and CandlesYour environment can play a big role in preparing your mind and body for rest. One way to create a calming, relaxed atmosphere in the bedroom is to incorporate aromatherapy into your nightly routine.
True aromatherapy is done with essential oils, either dispersed throughout the room with a diffuser or by rubbing small amounts of the oils in the hands and breathing in the scent. But, not everyone has the budget or desire to invest in essential oils. When it comes to the calming effect scents can have, you can achieve a similar environment using candles and incense sticks.
Traditionally relaxing scents such as lavender and jasmine are available in all forms: essential oil, candles, or incense. Power up your diffuser or light your candle or incense as you start getting ready for bed, and let the scent bring you into a state of relaxation and calm. Just be careful that anything lit is blown out before you drift off into sleep.
Nighttime RitualsCreating an environment that is conducive for your sleep can go beyond just aromatherapy or candles. Try to get into the habit of following a nighttime routine of activities that calm your mind and prepare your body for rest.
You may want to experiment with restorative yoga or meditation in the evenings or night. Both practices are extremely calming, and can help you clear your mind and make the transition from your busy day to sleep. Additionally, writing in a journal before bed is a great way to release your thoughts so that you can let go of any lingering stresses or anxieties that may keep you lying awake at night.
Simple actions such as taking a long shower, or cozying up with a book can also become part of your nighttime rituals. The important thing is to reduce time spent looking at electronics or anything that may cause you stress or get you too excited. Calming, laid back activities in the evening are the way to go to get you in the mindset for a sound, relaxing sleep.
Pillows and Mattresses
Arguably the most important part of the bedroom when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep is the bed. Specifically, your pillows and mattress. If you have a hard time falling or staying asleep, a suboptimal pillow or mattress may be to blame.
There are a variety of different types of mattresses out there, and only you will know which mattress is best for you. Your mattress should never cause you any pain. If you wake up with back pain, definitely consider getting a new mattress.
Though mattress type is a personal choice, there are some advantages to choosing a firmer mattress over a cushier variety. Firm mattresses support alignment of the spine, which can protect you from problems with your joints in the future. Additionally, when you sleep on a firm mattress, your bones bear most of the weight rather than your muscles. This means your body can relax more, and improves circulation which supports a deeper rest.
The same goes for pillows; different people will have different preferences. But, there are some rules of thumb to follow when selecting a pillow. If you have neck problems, it is best to sleep with a firm pillow for the extra support. Firm pillows are also better for side sleepers, while thin pillows are better for back sleepers to cradle the neck.
There are also cooling pillows that can help get your body temperature down and keep you comfortable throughout the night.
NoiseIt seems counterintuitive that noise can be useful for sleep, especially since sleep is usually associated with quietness. But, some people swear by sound machines to help them sleep, and cannot fall asleep without them. The science behind why some people find white noise so useful for sleep is limited, but some researchers believe that it is because white noise is constant, and creates a masking effect to other, sudden noises that may abruptly wake someone up.
If you would like to experiment with white noise or another sound and see how it impacts your sleep, you do not need to buy an expensive machine. There are plenty of apps that you can use to test the waters and see if any of these constant sounds provide a soothing effect for you.
Momental MENDAll of these tips can make a positive impact on your quality of sleep and leave you feeling more refreshed each morning. If you want to take your health a step farther and feel even better, add Momental MEND into your nighttime routine.
Momental MEND contains valerian root, as well as other ingredients like 5-HTP and phenibut. MEND not only helps you relax in order to sleep better, but also works to regenerate tissue and can help regulate serotonin. MEND is a sedative, not a sleep-aid, so it simply puts you in a relaxed state of mind rather than knocking you out. It is the natural way to prepare your body and mind for sleep.