Keep asleep. One-third of Americans say they get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Many people are in bed for eight or more hours a day, yet they wake up feeling like they haven’t slept at all.
It’s not enough to get eight hours of sleep. You need to have at least one hour of deep sleep a night. To get that hour, you must follow several tips to fall and stay asleep without waking up at night. Here are the strategies you need to know to increase deep sleep naturally.
Create a Sleep Routine
Going to bed at the same exact time every night can create a cue for your brain to produce hormones that help you fall asleep. It also makes it easier to get up simultaneously every morning.
Prepare to go to sleep three hours in advance. Do not drink any caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. Limit the amount of fluid you drink; if you drink a lot of water, you risk needing to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. You can exercise at this time, but keep it light. Intensive exercise can release endorphins that keep you awake for hours.
Do not look at any electronics for at least two hours before going to bed. The blue light that they produce mimics sunlight, tricking your brain into thinking it is the middle of the day. You can use a lamp to read and write, but place a shade over it so it produces less glare.
You can do several relaxing activities in the hour before going to bed. Meditation and yoga can calm your mind and ease any stiffness or pain that makes sleeping difficult.
Soothing sounds can help you fall and stay asleep. White noise can block exterior sounds from waking you up, but nature's pink sounds are better at helping people stay asleep. Listen to sounds like rainfall on a rooftop or waves crashing on a shore. If you prefer to listen to music, listen to binaural beats.
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Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
Sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for falling asleep. It’s okay if your room is slightly hotter or colder, but you should keep the temperature somewhere in the 60s. Your body’s core temperature varies as you go through the sleep cycle, and sleeping in a 65-degree room does not interfere with these variations.
To make controlling the temperature easier, buy high-quality bedding. Cooling pillowcases and blankets can bring your temperature down in the summertime. You can also purchase special quilts that reduce your sweat and make the room less humid.
Your room should be as dark as possible. An effective way to block light is to wear an eye mask. You can also hang up blackout curtains and move your electric clock so the light doesn’t shine in your eyes. If you must use the bathroom during the night, use a flashlight, as it creates less glare and visual disruption.
Besides white and pink noise, you should keep your bedroom as quiet as possible. You can wear headphones or earplugs to cancel noise out. If you live on a noisy street, hang up soundproof insulation sheets to cut the noise.
Adjust Your Diet
A 2023 study of nearly 750 people found that higher dietary fiber intake creates better quality sleep. You can take fiber supplements, but adding high-fiber foods to your meals is better for you, as you can enjoy other nutrients. Legumes, whole grains, and seeds contain substantial amounts of fiber and are easy to incorporate into many dishes. Buy products with regenerative organic agriculture methods that store carbon and improve water and air quality.
A 2020 study from the American Heart Association found that higher intakes of fat and added sugars create low-quality sleep. Substitute meat and dairy for non-animal sources of protein that are low in saturated fat. Nuts, tofu, and wild rice have several grams of protein per serving without much fat.
Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Make salads and smoothies with hemp oil and other natural ingredients.
Overeating also prompts people to wake up before they are supposed to. Avoid eating heavy dinners and stop eating at least an hour before sleeping. If you feel hungry, have some water. Nicotine and tobacco can interfere with sleep, so stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
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Try Out Supplements
A few different supplements can help you increase your deep sleep. Talk to your doctor before taking any sleep supplement, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions so you don’t experience side effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound you can find in hemp. It does not create a high; the compound that does is THC. CBD is legal in all states if you get it from hemp plants that contain trace amounts of THC. A 2019 study found that CBD can improve sleep scores and relieve anxiety within one month. A CBD dosage of half a milliliter is enough to induce sleep.
You can buy CBD as a tincture, gummy, or capsule. If you’re new to CBD, purchase a gummy or capsule, as they taste better than a tincture. You can place the tincture under your tongue or mix a few drops of tincture into a glass of water to dilute the taste.
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Melatonin is a chemical your brain produces at night to time when you fall asleep. Increasing your melatonin intake can help you fall asleep sooner, stay asleep, and have more extended periods of deep sleep. It can also help with sleep disorders like delayed sleep-wake phase disorder and jet lag.
You can buy melatonin supplements at most grocery stores and online retailers. Most supplements contain melatonin derived from animals and microorganisms, but you can purchase vegan products.
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