Tired of tossing and turning in bed wondering how to sleep better at night?

Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis.

Improving your sleep can improve your overall quality of life.

Tips and remedies on how to sleep better and faster at night. Include pillow recommendations for better posture and avoiding neck and back pain. Exercise and breathing techniques as you are falling asleep so you can wake up early feeling well rested and refreshed #sleepingtips #sleepwell #insomnia

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Research shows that poor sleep has a direct impact on your hormonal functions that can lead to weight gain and its associated health risks (1).

If you are trying to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting quality sleep should be high on your priority list.

How to Sleep Better At Night Naturally

1. Identify health issues that interfere with sleep

Do you have any physical health issues that keep you up late at night?  The first step to getting quality deep sleep is to identify and resolve any physical causes that may be interfering with your sleep. 

How to sleep better to avoid back pain

How to sleep better to avoid back pain

One of the most common physical symptoms that may wreak havoc on your sleep is chronic back pain.  

Having had a slipped lumbar disc at age 17 and experimented for years on how to sleep to avoid back pain, below are some of the tools that I use to alleviate my back problem. 

Propping up your knees is one of the most comfortable and important things to do when you lie flat on your back. 

It reduces the pressure and muscle tension in your lower back by correcting the alignment of the spine and body as you lie on your back during your sleep. 

I always sleep with my knee support pillow, whether I’m lying flat on my back or on the sides.

When you sleep on your side, keep a pillow in between your knees to prevent your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment and reduce the stress on your hips and lower back.

I currently use this knee support memory foam pillow for sleeping, as its ingenious design allows me to sleep on my back and turn to the sides without adjusting the pillow.

A chiropractor also introduced me to glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for back pain.  These compounds are naturally found in the cartilage of our joints.

Taking these supplements over a period of time can “lubricate” your joints and reduce pain.  My personal experience is that they can help tremendously to prevent back and joint pain, and also reduce pain duration.

Another major change I made over 15 years ago was to invest in a Sleep Number bed.  It’s the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, and I rarely think about my back troubles when sleeping on it.

The cost of the bed seemed like a hefty expense at the time, but considering how much of my life is spent sleeping in the bed, and it’s still firm and going strong 15 years later, it’s definitely one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my health.

How to sleep better with neck pain

Another common physical complaint that interferes with good sleep is neck pain.  

I’ve had my share of experiments with neck pillows after having experienced whiplashes from 2 highway-speed car accidents.

This orthopedic cervical support pillow is the most comfortable and supportive pillow that I’ve settled on using for the last 7+ years. 

It’s designed to alleviate neck pain and correctly align the spine while supporting the neck in its natural position.

How to relieve stress and anxiety

While there are many ways to relieve stress and anxiety such as meditation and exercise, I’ve found a nifty tool from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that works wonders not just for combating stress and anxiety, but also chronic back and neck pain!

Acupressure is the practice of applying pressure to specific points on the body called meridians to treat a range of conditions, like stress, anxiety and high blood pressure.

This pressure points stimulation increases the flow of “qi,” or bioenergy.

A study found that acupressure helps patients sleep better and wake up less frequently during the night (2).  Another study showed that acupressure on a regular basis has the potential to improve insomnia (3). 

Take advantage of the pressure points on your back and lay on an acupressure mat for faster, better sleep at night.

If you are looking to prevent recurring neck pain or back pain, a study showed that a needle stimulation pad such as acupressure mat provided significant relief from chronic neck pain and back pain (4).

Experiment with the amount of time you spend lying on the acupressure mat to feel the release of tensions and stress.  There is no ideal time. You may try starting with 3-5 minutes in the beginning, and work your way up to 30-45 minutes.

Stimulate your neck meridians to release the tension in your head and neck.  I experience the utmost relaxation in my head and back in as little as 5 minutes of lying on this acupressure pillow and mat set

You’ll feel more calm and peaceful as your stress and tension is released, and this sets you up to rest and sleep more deeply.

How to sleep when sick

How to sleep better when sick

When you have a cold or flu and feel congested, you’ll want to elevate your head when lying down so that your postnasal drip won’t build-up and cause a sore throat and coughs.  

Related Post: 5 Natural Remedies for Colds and Flu That Actually Work

Make a wedge with a few pillows or get a wedge pillow to prop yourself up in bed.  You may breathe and sleep easier.  

Dry air is a known eye, nose and throat irritant that can make cold and flu symptoms worse. Turn on a humidifier to keep your bedroom air moist, especially in the winter months when indoor heating can lower the humidity.

2. Keep a consistent sleep schedule

Regulate your body’s natural internal clock by going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time daily, even on the weekends.

If you keep a different schedule on the weekends, you’ll feel the disruption of your natural sleep-wake cycle and lose your normal rhythm.

Ideally, you’ll know if you are getting enough sleep if you wake up naturally without an alarm.  

3. Exercise Daily

Carve out some time each day to exercise to keep your mind sharp and reduce stress.

Vigorous exercises that elevate your heart rate is best, but even light exercise such as walking is better than just sitting on the couch.

Try to schedule vigorous exercises at least three hours before bedtime to give your body enough time to wind down.

Low impact exercises such as yoga or diaphragmatic breathing before going to bed can promote relaxation and better sleep.

4. Watch what you eat and drink

How to sleep better - what to eat

If you are a coffee or tea lover, be careful to limit your caffeine intake to the early part of the dayCaffeine can potentially cause sleep problems up to twelve hours after drinking it!  

Become more aware and notice how your body reacts to your caffeine intake and identify your cutoff time before your sleep is interrupted.

I find my caffeine cutoff is around 2 pm, so I make sure to not consume any caffeine after that time to minimize the disruption on my sleep cycle.  Your cutoff time may be different so experiment and tune in to your body.

Nicotine is another stimulant that may disrupt your sleep, so it’s best to avoid smoking, especially close to bedtime.   

While alcohol may give you the feeling of relaxation, it can interfere with your sleep cycle after you fall asleep.  Thus you should avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime.

In general, avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening to prevent bathroom trips during the night.

What foods to eat to sleep better?

As always, mother nature has provided us with plenty of food and drinks to help us sleep more soundly at night.  

  • Complex carbs: Avoid a heavy dinner with white bread, refined pasta, and sugary desserts as they may decrease serotonin levels and impair sleep.  Eat complex carbs such as whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, and legumes.
  • Nuts: almonds and walnuts naturally contain melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle.  Eating a handful of these nuts to increase your blood levels melatonin to sleep more soundly.  
  • Herbal teas: caffeine-free herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger, and peppermint can induce calm and relaxation for bedtime.
  • Fruits: cherries are a great source of melatonin.  Consuming 2 kiwifruits one hour before bedtime has been found to improve total sleep time and time to fall asleep (5).  Bananas help promote sleep because they contain natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium.
  • Cumin: a great detoxifier that is rich in minerals and vitamins to help support bladder function.  Prevent nighttime bathroom runs by adding cumin powder or seed into your food or steep a teaspoon of cumin seeds in hot water for a delicate tea.

5. Improve your sleep environment

How to sleep better - optimize bedroom

Design your bedroom environment to optimize for sleep. Keep your bedroom temperature cool.  Most people sleep best between 60 to 67 degrees

Your bedroom should ideally be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep.  Consider earplugs or “white noise” machines to block out potential noises.

Your bedroom curtains should block out any light.  Use blackout curtains or eyeshades to block out any light that may interfere with your sleep.   

6. Wind down

Set aside time each evening for a bedtime routine.  Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode.

Plan to spend at least 30 minutes before bed doing a calming and relaxing activity such as meditating or reading. 

Avoid electronic devices before bedtime as the blue light emanating from these device screens can activate the brain.  

Sharing is caring!  Do you more tips on how to sleep better?  Comment below.

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