Most people struggling with sleep are willing to try anything to achieve a good night’s rest. Fortunately, there are more than a few effective sleep aids that will improve your chances of falling asleep and staying asleep; unfortunately, when you use those sleep aids matters a great deal. Here is a quick and easy guide to the timing of some of the most popular sleep aids you can find:
During the Daytime
Believe it or not, you can begin using sleep aids almost as soon as you wake up in the morning. Sleep is remarkably important to your overall health, which means that every other activity you participate in throughout your day has the potential to impact your sleep. If you have struggled with sleep for some time, you might start altering how you behave throughout your waking hours to make it easier for your body to drift off at bedtime.
Magnesium is a remarkably important mineral that your body needs to properly regulate the nervous and muscular systems. A common symptom of magnesium deficiency is sleep disruption, as the nervous system is not functioning well to facilitate easy and effective sleep. A good sign that you need more magnesium is muscle twitches and spasms, especially at night, which might prevent you from falling or staying asleep.
You can alter your diet to take in more whole foods that contain magnesium, like dark green, leafy vegetables, legumes and seeds, or you can take a magnesium supplement. In truth, you can take such a supplement any time of day, but if you prioritize it in the mornings, you are more likely to absorb the magnesium your body needs before bed.
Sleep drive is one of the two primary tools your body uses to track its need for sleep. Sleep drive is managed through energy depletion; the more of your energy stores you expend during the day, the sooner and more seriously you will need to sleep. Thus, if you engage in daily exercise, your body will have a way to burn off excess energy and increase your drive for sleep, making it easier for you to fall and stay asleep come bedtime.
The type and duration of exercise you participate in depends entirely on your interests and abilities. You might experiment with different exercise regimens to find a program that you can enjoy as a daily habit.
An Hour Before Bed
Your pre-sleep routine should begin about an hour before bed, when you turn off any screens and begin to wind down your body and mind. You should engage with activities that help you relax and prepare you for bed, like a nighttime skincare routine or reading a book for pleasure. Two important sleep aids to utilize at this time include:
Research has demonstrated time and again that meditation has the potential to radically improve health and wellness. When practiced in the hour before bed, meditation can calm thoughts and emotions, emptying the mind and eliminating symptoms of stress that can interfere with effective sleep.
Though anyone can meditate, it is worth noting that mediation is not easy. It could take you several weeks of experimenting with different styles of meditation before you see any positive results. Still, you should commit to between five and 10 minutes of meditation per night to improve your troubled sleep.
Natural Sleep Aids
There are many natural sleep aids that you might be interested in integrating into your pre-sleep routine. Chamomile or valerian tea, melatonin tablets, hemp sleep capsules and more all have potentially promising effects on different users with sleep concerns. Because most natural sleep aids are absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive system, you need to give them plenty of time to work. Still, you don’t want to be so far from bedtime that you waste the sedative feelings that they might impart. Thus, you should take your doses of natural sleep aid within the hour before bed, so you can slip into dreamland when their effects kick in.
Immediately Before Bed
Finally, there are a few sleep aids that provide immediate effects, which means they must be used when you are in bed and prepared to drift off. These include:
Prescription Sleep Aids
Few sleep experts recommend taking prescription medications for an extended period, as the body can easily become dependent on them to achieve any amount of sleep. Still, if you are taking a prescription sleep aid, you should keep your doses low and limit your use to just before putting your head on your pillow. Then, you have a better chance of falling asleep naturally and allowing the sleep aid to maintain your slumber, which is a healthier way to improve your sleep.
If you are a light sleeper, you might appreciate the stable, steady noise of a sound machine. Sound machines can help mask other sounds that could keep you awake or disturb your sleep during the night, like a setting house, a nocturnal pet or a rowdy housemate. You can find sound machines of varying complexity, from basic tools that emit simple white noise to advanced gadgets that have all manner of useful features to improve your sleep.
Those who struggle with sleep know that it is not only a concern in the few minutes before a head hits a pillow. By scheduling your day around the needs of your body and mind regarding sleep, you can improve your sleep hygiene and perhaps feel better rested every day.