In addition to too much caffeine, stress is a common cause of a poor night’s sleep. There are many natural and herbal sleep aids for sufferers to consider. Women’s Health magazine explains that the definition of “a good night’s sleep” has changed. Waking in the night should not be a cause for alarm; it is completely natural. However, the instant panic of waking in the middle of the night may cause stress and make sleep even more difficult.
Rethink a full night’s sleep
The deeper stage of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM), occurs about every 90 minutes. In between stages of REM, our brains may become more alert, which can cause you to awake. Rather than panic that you will not be able to fall back asleep, alleviate any physical annoyances – an ache or cramp, or needing to use the bathroom.
“Just as we experience a dip in alertness mid-afternoon, the inverse is a dip in sleepiness in the middle of the night,” associate director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center David Neubauer, M.D. told Women’s Health. “There’s strong evidence that there’s a kind of awakening that’s totally normal. Before the industrial revolution, people had their first sleep for three to four hours, awoke for an hour or two, then slept for another three or four hours.”
Simply knowing that it is natural to awake may prevent stress and make falling back asleep easier. Try not to look at the clock and panic. Instead, relax your mind to help you drift back to sleep naturally. In correlation with herbal sleep remedies, a bedtime routine can make this easier.
Have a bedtime routine
Relaxing your body in preparation for bed works as a natural sleep aid. Something as easy as stretching before bed will release tension and stress from your body. Yoga has great poses that may help you achieve relaxation. Performing these stretches before bedtime will allow your muscles relax and your brain to follow suit.
If you awake in the middle of the night or find yourself laying in bed for more than 15 minutes, try to relax. Performing your bedtime routine again may help. You might also want to leave the bedroom and take on a calming activity. Listening to soothing music or an activity such as knitting can help you to feel drowsy. Once you do, you should go back to bed and will likely find it easier (if not easy) to get back to sleep.
Try not to partake in stressful activities – like checking your email – prior to heading to bed. This may have the opposite effect on your brain. Dimming the lights in a room about an hour before you plan to get to sleep can also act as a natural sleep aid.
Herbal sleep remedies are another option to aid in a stress-free night’s sleep. You may find yourself having a difficult time sleeping due to stress if you have changed work schedules, suffered a traumatic event or are suffering from depression. It is important to get enough rest if you want to keep your mind, waistline and immune system in check.