There is nothing better than a good restful sleep to get back on your feet after a tough day. If in theory it is enough to lie on a comfortable bed and close your eyes until you fall asleep, the reality is very different. 10% of the population happens to be insomniac. Upon waking up, hello backache, bad mood and in some cases, health problems.
On average, how long does it take to fall asleep?
When we are in a state of very advanced fatigue, it happens that we fall asleep as soon as our head touches the pillow. Although, for some individuals like seniors, it is the opposite: the more they are exhausted and the slower sleep is to come. It depends on the individual, but on average, it takes 15 minutes to fall asleep. This is where the sleep cycles begin.
Each cycle lasts from 90 minutes to 120 minutes and is divided into several phases. First there is drowsiness, which is halfway between waking and sleeping. Then comes the slow sleep during which you are aware that you are sleeping. It is only after that that you sink into deep sleep and you cut yourself off from the outside world. If nothing disturbs your cycle, you will reach paradoxical sleep. It is at this stage that one dreams the most and in general, one remembers those dreams when one wakes up.
Play sports and sleep better
Physical activities act positively against anxiety. In addition, the sport allows you to maintain a stable weight and eliminate the extra pounds. When you are not sleeping properly and especially if you are overweight, the risks of sleep apnea are to be seriously considered. In the long run, you may suffer from heart and/or respiratory problems.
Sports practice boosts endorphin production. It is this hormone that helps you feel relaxed and accelerates the arrival of Morpheus. The ideal is to play sports between 30 minutes and 1 hour per day. The exact time for your daily session is not really important. The only rule to respect is to never play sports within 3 hours before going to bed. Your sports activities will initially stimulate you in the early days. It will be necessary to wait for your heart rate to stabilize and for you to feel the urge to finally fall asleep. Of course with a king size mattress or an adjustable bed, it’s even better.
According to studies, falling asleep is faster on sports days (about 36 minutes in advance compared to the time you usually fall asleep). You will get about 14 minutes of extra sleep and a deeper sleep. That’s not all since sport reduces the number of nocturnal awakenings by about 13%. So, if you still hesitate to get started, now is the time to change your mind!
Arrange your room to sleep better
It happens that we fall asleep as soon as we throw ourselves on our bed. It must have happened to you too. Nevertheless, it is rare that we stay asleep for a long time. Otherwise, sleep is often hectic. Have you ever considered that your room could be involved?
We must start with cleaning. A healthy room, pleasant to the eye, facilitates the drowsiness. As soon as you get up in the morning, ventilate the room and especially the bed. The air and the sun must be able to circulate freely in order to eliminate odors, microbes and bacteria. Just before leaving the house, take the time to restore order. Everything in its place and a place for everything, they say. It is high time to apply this saying, for your greater good.
After that, it will be necessary to take the habit of sleeping in absolute darkness. Turn off all screens -computer, TV, etc., but you can play music to promote relaxation. Classical music is highly recommended, mainly “nocturnes”. If you really are not comfortable in the dark, use a night light with very low light. Even if your eyelids are closed, you will perceive the light and it is not good for sleep. Eventually, you should review the decor. Say goodbye to aggressive colors and replace them with pastel. This is valid for the walls and for the linen. Furniture aside, limit yourself to the bare minimum. A bed, one or two bedside tables – whether you sleep alone or share your bed – a wardrobe and a dresser, that’s all you need.
Essential oils for a serene night
Insomnia is sometimes caused by anxiety or excessive stress that has overwhelmed you all day. Well, the sweet nights can be guaranteed by the use of essential oils, but not just any. Lavender acts directly on the nervous system. It helps you to de-stress which will make you fall asleep faster. The sweet orange is very effective too. It makes you less irritable, calms anxiety and relieves muscle tension. The essential oil of marjoram is also indicated in case of sleep disorders. It has the same virtues as the essential oils mentioned above, in fact.
According to your desires, pour a few drops of essential oils in your bath to promote relaxation. There is also the possibility of diffusing a little essential oil in your bedroom to immerse yourself in a Zen atmosphere. Anyway, the best option will be to have your partner massage you to eradicate all traces of mental and physical fatigue. If not, think of self-massage. Insist on the area just behind the ears and on the lobes. The easiest way is to pour a few drops of lavender essential oil directly onto your pillow.
A light meal = a good night’s sleep
Many people have the annoying habit of eating on the run during the day, under the pretext that they have an overloaded schedule. So as soon as they go home, these same people rake their fridge to calm their hunger that has been striking for too long. If that’s your case, stop the slaughter right away. From now on, learn how to eat well to get the benefits of real restorative sleep. If your dinner is too light, you might wake up in the middle of the night because of a craving. But if you eat something heavy and greasy, then you will have a hard time falling asleep for sure. You must find the right balance. Avoid spices and chocolate. Even though fries, fondues and puff pastries are very tempting, do not eat them before going to bed. These dishes are hard to digest and you may wake up because of discomfort. Instead, take potatoes, rice or pasta. Honey is allowed at dinner time. And finally, drink a glass of hot milk before heading to bed.
But what if you do not have a choice but eat? What if a business dinner or a reception is on the agenda. Refusing all the good dishes that will be presented to you would seem rude, right? In this kind of situations, you can allow yourself to not respect your habits. On the other hand, finish your dinner with an herbal tea. Some of the most recommended herbal teas are:
A hot bath for a good night’s sleep
Not showering in the evening is not a lack of hygiene in itself. There are some who prefer to wash in the morning, just to be fresh and ready to face the new day. It is an excellent technique to stay awake and alert, yes, but it does not guarantee a quality sleep when it is done at night. Even if you feel exhausted and long to slip between your sheets, always offer yourself 30 minutes of relaxation and alone time. As a first option, there is the hot bath. It’s a moment you’ll share with yourself, bringing calm to your mind. The hot water will help your muscles to relax and activate your blood circulation. We still want to draw your attention to the fact that a “hot bath” should not exceed 37 °C otherwise it is the migraine that you risk in addition to varicose veins. Do not forget that a good bath will have a cleansing effect, which is good because your skin needs to be purified if you want a serene sleep.
Avoid the excitants to sleep better
By definition, the excitants will stimulate your neurons instead of helping them to calm down. A modification of your habits is therefore necessary. Intense activities such as sports in the minutes before bedtime should be avoided. In the same way, avoid tea, coffee, ginger, alcohol and cigarettes. Learn to consume such things only in the afternoon or before so that your body takes the time to calm down gradually. Because you have to know that sleep does not come in the blink of an eye! A cold shower or on the contrary, a burning one, will have the opposite effect of what you expect: it will simply wake you up. And we do not even need to talk about video games or TV with all these bright spots that irritate your eyes. In other words, the excitants are not limited to products that you can ingest. Sometimes these are simple, hyper-stimulating habits. If you are calm but still sleep does not come, do not waste time turning back a thousand times in your bed or trying to count the sheep. Get up and do something relaxing. If you have not taken your bath, this is the perfect time. Otherwise, think of the essential oils mentioned previously. Try to put some music by adjusting the volume well.