Say Goodbye to Stress: Five Natural Ways to Drift off Peacefully
Oct 21, 2021 16:31
Does your mind kick into overdrive as soon as your head hits the pillow? You’re not alone. In fact, one in three people in the UK currently suffers from sleep-related conditions like insomnia, while stress is considered one of the biggest contributing factors.
Not getting enough sleep can affect people in a range of ways. It can impact cognition, memory and mental health in the short term and even make your body more susceptible to developing diseases in the long run. But fortunately for people out there struggling to catch those precious ZZZ’s, there are things out there that can help.
For those people who would rather stay out of the medicine cabinet, this article outlines 5 natural ways to calm your mind at night. So from herbal ingredients like CBD to activities like exercise, let’s take a look at some calming methods that help you achieve a deeper and more restful night sleep.
Dating back to earlier than 5,000 BCE, meditation is an ancient practice that has been serving humans for centuries. When performed regularly, meditation is understood to calm our body and mind. This benefits humans in a variety of ways and is recognised to be particularly effective at helping us drift off peacefully at night. But how is this possible?
Well, when you engage in the practice, a range of physiological changes occur. Your body releases the sleep-friendly chemicals melatonin and serotonin (melatonin’s precursor), your heart rate reduces, and areas of the brain that control sleep patterns are activated. Whatsmore, in addition to addressing symptoms of insomnia, studies even indicate that meditation can be an effective way to combat daytime fatigue too.
Interested in trying meditation for a better night's sleep? All you have to do is find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus deeply on your breathing. When a thought enters your mind, respond by gently acknowledging it before resting your attention back on your breath. While this may sound simple, it takes some practice to master. However, apps like Headspace and Calm provide guided meditation recordings to make the process as easy as possible.
Another natural method to induce restfulness at night is aromatherapy. It refers to the inhalation of essential oils for healing and therapeutic purposes. While research into the practice is ongoing, a growing number of studies have begun to point to its sleep-inducing potential. But how exactly can essential oils support a healthy night's sleep?
According to the current scientific consensus, aromatherapy may be able to prompt the nervous system to send signals to particular areas of the brain responsible for processing memory and emotion. By doing so, certain scents may be able to condition your brain into feeling calm, relaxed and restful. Scents like lavender, bergamot and cedarwood are recognised to be particularly effective at achieving this because of their sedative qualities, but it may also be worth trialling out a range of different oils to find the most suitable solution for you.
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, you can use an essential oil diffuser for sleep, inhale the oils directly or simply apply small amounts of the solution onto the skin.
Simply referring to any hot beverage made with, or flavoured by, fresh herbs, herbal teas offer humans another natural way to drift off peacefully at night. Naturally packed with nutritious, caffeine-free ingredients, the consumption of herbal teas dates back to Ancient Egypt and China. While most herbal teas are recognised to induce sleepiness to some extent, some specific herbs have been shown to improve rest and relaxation more than others.
When it comes to natural solutions for soothing the body and mind, chamomile tea is one of the most popular choices. This is because the herb contains many active chemicals that effectively bind to sleep-inducing receptors in the brain. Alternatively, lavender and lemon balm teas are also understood to improve the duration and quality of sleep. This is because herbal remedies act as an anxiety reliever and sedative in one go, providing users with a holistic way to calm insomnia symptoms.
Herbal teas can be found in most supermarkets and food stores. However, if you’re looking to sample the remedial benefits more directly, it’s very easy to make up your own concoction using fresh herbs and boiling water.
If you’re not keen on drinking a warm beverage before bed, another herbal solution you can try is CBD. Obtained from the cannabis plant, this natural supplement is a non-psychoactive substance that has recently been gaining a lot of attention in the wellness world. While the extract has only reached mainstream acclaim in the last decade, it’s already being recognised by the scientific community for its remedial, sleep-inducing properties.
The main reason CBD is understood to help us achieve a better night's sleep is through the way it interacts with our bodies complex endocannabinoid system (ECS). Our ECS is a complex biological system that helps to restore a natural state of balance in our body and mind. Among other functions, the network works hard to regulate our sleeping patterns by supporting our body’s natural circadian rhythms. Therefore, by taking CBD and aiding this natural process, it’s very likely that you will be able to drift off easier at night. To reap its positive effects, you can try out CBD pods, capsules, tinctures or different edibles.
Finally, another tried and tested way to reduce anxious thoughts before bedtime is by exercising. Not only has exercise been shown to combat insomnia, but it also benefits our physical health in myriad ways. But how exactly does exercise help people to achieve a quality night sleep?
According to this study by the National Library of Medicine, physical activities, particularly aerobic exercises, are understood to encourage restfulness by decreasing levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increasing levels of serotonin (the bliss hormone) in the brain. By increasing the circulation of these chemicals, feelings of anxiety that are associated with a range of sleep disorders can be reduced, and a healthier sleep cycle can be obtained.
If you’re keen to exercise more to get a better night's sleep, it’s advised that you do so earlier in the day. This is because working out in the evening or late at night could increase your heart rate or adversely impact your sleeping pattern.
We hope that at least one of these natural methods will help you drift off with ease. However, for those of you struggling with more chronic cases of insomnia, it’s recommended that you reach out to a doctor or a GP to help you find a more tailored solution.
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