8 Solutions For A Better Night’s Rest

Ah the ever elusive 8 hours of sleep per night! As a society we value sleep a lot less than we should. We associate sleeping less with productivity, success, and “sacrifice” to get more done. Ironically, what we’re really doing is making ourselves less productive, less healthy, and less youthful. The truth is, the more sleep deprived we are, the less effective we are in all areas of life. We know how tempting it can be to stay up on your phone till the wee hours or skip sleep in favor of going out with friends or watching your favorite Netflix series. Or perhaps you just have insomnia and getting a good night’s sleep seems impossible.

Whatever may be causing your lack of sleep, here are some natural aids that will help you finally get that much-needed rest. (Note: If you’ve been suffering from long term insomnia, it’s best to consult a doctor to see if there’s an underlying medical cause.)

White Noise/Sound Machine

Great for: Light Sleepers

As a light sleeper, I know how frustrating it can be to stay asleep -especially in a bustling city! The best solution for light sleepers is sleep music. The constant sound drowns out most noises and keeps you in a steady slumber. This is an easy, effective, and cheap solution. Simply download one of the many “sleep sound” app options on your phone (many are free) and snooze away. Most sleep sound apps include a variety of relaxing sounds like waves crashing or rain. You can also find sleep machines at stores like Homedics and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Sleep Headphones

Great for: Extra Light Sleepers

Still hear everything despite the sleep music? It’s time to get some sleep headphones! Made with a soft fleece fabric band, these headphones are comfortable and will stay on all night. Simply plug into your cell phone, turn on your sleep music and doze off. Try Acoustics Sleep Headphones

Light Therapy

Great for: Anxious Insomnia

Light therapy has been shown to be effective in both regulating sleep and sustaining energy.  A recent study by McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School suggests that morning light therapy improved sleep-related cognitive functions. ” Our preliminary data suggests that morning bright light therapy might be helpful to reduce subjective daytime sleepiness and to improve nighttime sleep. Importantly, the research also shows changes in brain activation during a demanding cognitive task, suggesting that bright light treatment might yield changes in brain functioning.” There are several light therapy machines on the market. Phillips makes an extensive line of light machines that help various sleep/energy problems.

Deep Breathing & Meditation

Great for: Anxious Insomnia

One of the best ways to instantly relax is to take deep, slow, heavy breaths through the nose and exhale through the mouth. This technique mimics what your body does naturally while you’re asleep. One of the main aspects of falling asleep is slower, deeper breathing. By focusing on and consciously changing your breathing pattern, you help your body relax and go into sleep mode.

Exercise & Physical Activity

Great for: All Sleep Problems

One culprit of insomnia is that your body is simply not tired enough yet. If you lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle and do not do much physical activity,  you will likely take much longer to fall asleep than someone who is very active. One of the best ways to stop insomnia in its’ tracks is to use up excess energy. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, get moving. Not only will you sleep better, you’ll look better!

Dietary Changes

Great for: All Sleep Problems

What you’re eating may be causing your sleep problems. We all know caffeine keeps us awake, but did you know that cheese, chinese food, spicy foods, deli meat, alcohol, chocolate, tomato sauce, soy, and most teas may also cause insomnia? If you’re battling sleep issues, it’s best to cut these foods from your diet ASAP!

Cognitive Training

Great for: All Sleep Problems

Our minds believe what we tell them to believe. If you lie in bed frustrated, telling yourself you’re never going to get a good night’s rest, that is exactly what will happen. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, fill your mind with relaxing positive thoughts. This guide from Helpguide.org is a start:

Challenging Self-defeating Thoughts That Fuel Insomnia

Self-defeating thoughtSleep-promoting comeback
Unrealistic expectations: I should be able to sleep well every night like a normal person. I shouldn’t have a problem!Lots of people struggle with sleep from time to time. I will be able to sleep with practice.
Exaggeration: It’s the same every single night, another night of sleepless misery.Not every night is the same. Some nights I do sleep better than others.
Catastrophizing: If I don’t get some sleep, I’ll tank my presentation and jeopardize my job.I can get through the presentation even if I’m tired. I can still rest and relax tonight.
Hopelessness: I’m never going to be able to sleep well. It’s out of my control.Insomnia can be cured. If I stop worrying so much and focus on positive solutions, I can beat it.
Fortune telling: It’s going to take me at least an hour to get to sleep tonight.I just know it.I don’t know what will happen tonight. Maybe I’ll get to sleep quickly if I use the strategies I’ve learned.


Great for: All Sleep Problems

It’s best to avoid prescription sleep medication if possible.  Not only are some sleep prescriptions addictive but they may also cause undesirable side effects.  Start with natural remedies before resorting to prescriptions. Supplements containing naturally occurring substances such as Melatonin, Valerian Root, Tryptophan, Camomile, have shown to be effective in aiding sleep. As always, consult a doctor before starting any supplement regimen.

We hope this guide helps you get a better night’s rest! Feel free to comment below or send us a suggestion. Happy Sleeping!





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Mandy Ellis

Mandy Ellis is a certified nutritionist, journalist, traveler, and endless adventurer. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, AOL, Fox, and many others. When she’s not wanderlusting, she’s usually spending time with her French bull dog or hitting the yoga mat.

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