Did you know that some species of snails sleep up to three years at a time? Surely you are not interested in actually wanting to sleep that long.
But a healthy sleep that helps you to improve your concentration and performance is not really a mystery. In the following article we will tell you how you can sleep better.
The most important facts in brief
- You should take care of your sleeping environment, your sleeping hygiene and your everyday life to sleep better
- Chemical sleep aids can very well be replaced by herbal products
- Sleep is very healthy and can lead you to new levels of performance
What does a healthy sleep look like?
You may have heard about the different phases of sleep. A person with healthy sleep goes through these phases several times during the night. On average, a cycle lasts 1.5 hours.
- Falling asleep phase: You lie down in bed, come down, close your eyes and your body relaxes and you slowly fall asleep. In this phase your sleep is very light and you can wake up again by the slightest disturbance.
- Light sleep phase: You are asleep, but are still in light sleep.
- Deep sleep phase: Now the recovery begins. You are sound asleep and your body relaxes completely.
- REM-Phase: Do you have something to process? This is what happens in the REM phase. We dream the most here, plus our eyes move a lot.
The first two phases are often combined.
Backgrounds: What you should know about better sleep
If you sleep restlessly and you want to improve your sleep, there is some background information that can help you understand your sleep better.
How healthy is sleeping?
You have certainly heard the old folk saying that you should sleep well when you are ill. This is by no means just an old wives’ tale, because in a certain sense it is true.
Even if you cannot simply “sleep away” serious illnesses. But through the regeneration process activated in your body during the night, your self-healing powers are activated.
In addition, old and defective cells in your body are renewed during your well-deserved night’s sleep. Furthermore, sleep is also considered very healthy for the following reasons, because:
overnight your body regains the strength and energy you need the next day
your metabolism is regulated overnight and raised to a healthy level again
your immune system can recover and is strengthened
your body releases important growth hormones while you sleep
your skin cells are provided with the necessary moisture through the regeneration process
You will feel quite quickly how healthy sleep really is. After a restful night’s sleep you can already feel how energetic you are, how fresh your skin looks and how much higher your concentration and performance capacity is then. It will also be much easier for you to learn something new and store it in your memory.
What factors contribute to better sleep?
A good and healthy sleep is always dependent on several factors. First and foremost, these include certain lifestyles and behaviours as well as the optimal equipment of the bedroom and the bed itself.
If you have not always been able to sleep so well, you should check the following aspects and improve them if necessary:
- you sleep better without TV or other light and sound sources
- do not eat too late, not too much and not too heavy
- abstain from excessive alcohol consumption in the evening, because it will make you fall asleep quickly, but you will wake up again after a few hours
- do not do any strenuous sports in the evening, because afterwards your body needs eternally to come to rest
- try not to take stressful situations or even arguments into bed with you
- do not let your animals into bed with you, because they disturb your sleep rhythm by their proximity
- ventilate your bedroom sufficiently and ensure a well-tempered room climate
As you make your bed, so you sleep – this is no old superstition, but proven reality from sleep research.
What to do for better sleep: tips and tricks to help you fall asleep
You want to do something about your restless sleep so you can sleep better? Very well, then we have compiled some helpful tips and tricks for you in the following.
How should I design my sleeping environment so that I can sleep better?
To get a good and really restful sleep, several factors are important. First of all, it depends on the sleeping environment in which you go to rest.
It is helpful if you consider the following points:
- make your bedroom comfortable, but do not overload it with too much decoration and the like
- in terms of colouring, particularly light wall colours in pastel shades promote sleep
- make sure that you have enough space to sleep – this concerns the size of your bedroom as well as the bed size
- do not turn up the heating in the bedroom too far, but ensure a sleeping temperature of about 15°C to 18°C
- ventilate your bedroom every day, in the wintertime shock ventilation is the ideal solution
- equip your bed with a mattress that is adapted to your sleeping behaviour as well as your needs
- select bedding that suits your sleep type and your individual needs
- ban all electronic devices from your bedroom, especially those that emit a high proportion of blue light
- darken the room where you sleep well so that neither the street lights nor the monthly full moon can disturb you
- check if there are any noises in your bedroom and try to turn them off
How do I create good sleep hygiene?
Just as important as the environment in which you sleep is your sleep hygiene. This does not mean that you should go to bed with clean feet or wash your bedding regularly.
The term sleep hygiene primarily refers to your sleeping and living habits and your behaviour.
Therefore you should consider the following factors:
- do not drink too much caffeinated drinks from the early afternoon
- avoid alcohol if possible, because it can massively prevent you from sleeping through
- your dinner should not be late so that your digestive system has a little time to do its work before you lie down
- avoid especially fatty and heavy foods in the evening, which put too much strain on your gastrointestinal tract
- You should avoid particularly great physical and mental exertion directly before going to bed, because this way your body pushes itself completely upwards once again
- better take a short walk in the evening or read a book, also breathing exercises or meditation before sleeping are ideal
- accustom yourself to a certain sleep ritual, which should take place in a calm sequence if possible, because this way your body can already adjust well to what is coming
- if possible always go to bed at the same time, this helps your body to get used to it
- do not go to bed too early or too late, but rather when you are really tired or when your inner clock, your biorhythm, demands it
How can you fall asleep in 60 seconds?
You can already tell whether you are sleeping well or less well by the way you fall asleep and how long you have been sleeping.
Because those who already have difficulties in this first phase of the sleep cycle will often lie sleepless in bed at night. You should also be aware that everyone wakes up several times during the night.
Usually you will not notice much of this, because in a healthy sleep this happens unconsciously, so to speak. But even here, you can only talk about a good and healthy sleep if you can fall asleep well again without any problems.
Experts say in principle that you should be asleep within 15 to 30 minutes. But this can be done much faster.
Namely in just 60 seconds. This is made possible by a special breathing exercise that US physician Andrew Weil believes is optimal:
- First take a deep breath through your nose for 4 seconds and then hold your breath for 7 seconds.
Then let the breath escape slowly through your mouth, counting slowly to 8.
Repeat this procedure about four to eight times.
But this breathing exercise also helps during the day, for example when you want to recharge your batteries during your lunch break. Because this simple exercise helps to increase the oxygen content in your blood and to calm your pulse rate. You will quickly enter a small recovery phase, which will provide you with sufficient energy again.
How can I sleep well in the heat?
Especially on hot summer nights you have probably often experienced that you cannot sleep very well. Even the quiet fall asleep becomes a torture and a good night’s sleep is often impossible.
This is due to heat regulation, which is particularly important for good sleep. Mother Nature has programmed our human body to lower the body temperature by one degree during the sleep phase.
So if it is too warm in the bedroom due to the summer temperatures, your body will not be able to do this regulation.
For this reason, sleep experts generally recommend a room temperature of 16°C to 18°C or maximum 20°C. But even in hot weather you can find a good night’s sleep. The following tips can help here:
- try to cool down your bedroom before you go to bed
- if you are using a fan, you should make sure that the airflow from there does not hit your body directly
- air your bedroom well, this works best in the early morning and in the late evening hours, when the outside temperature is a little lower than during the day
- shower lukewarm for a few minutes before going to bed
- do not sleep directly under an air conditioner, because that could cool your body down too much and your healthy sleep is in danger
- use as absorbent sleeping clothes as possible and light bed linen, which has a cooling effect
- perhaps do without a thick blanket, sometimes a thin and absorbent sheet can be the better alternative to cover yourself
If you prefer, you can also sleep naked on particularly hot summer nights. This allows your body to regulate the heat even better. But here you should definitely make sure that you are not exposed to draughts.
What remedies are available for better sleep?
Whenever it comes to people wanting to sleep better, the question arises as to what means can help.
This is clearly to be anticipated:
You should avoid alcohol as a sleeping aid or prescription sleeping pills if possible.
Because both are unhealthy in the long run and there is a risk that you can quickly become dependent on them.
What home remedies are there that promote better sleep?
A glass of warm milk with honey or the widespread “counting sheep” are probably among the best known household remedies when it comes to better sleep. But a warm tea with lavender or herbs can also work wonders.
Here are more home remedies for you to trust. Because they are always the better alternative:
- Rose oil – put a few drops of it on a cloth and place it on your pillow
- Foot bath with lavender oil – enjoy a warm foot bath for about 15 minutes directly before going to sleep
- Mountain pine bath – enjoyed directly before sleeping, it brings you relaxation and peace
- Linen bag – filled with lemon balm, mint, chamomile, lavender or thyme, you can put it next to your pillow
- Vanilla – works wonderfully against insomnia. You can use it as an aromatherapy or use it one or two hours before bedtime as an additive for a little feast
- Mango yoghurt – as a small evening dessert this refreshing snack with freshly cut mango has a soothing and calming effect
- Water with honey and cider vinegar – drink this extraordinary nightcap lukewarm and in small sips
- Onion milk – tastes good again and helps you fall asleep. It is best to boil the onion briefly with the milk so that the flavours can fully develop.
How can magnesium help me sleep better?
Magnesium is certainly familiar to you in connection with sports activities and sore muscles. But did you know that a magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia or even problems falling asleep?
Of course, scientific studies have long proved that mineral salt is a very important element that our body needs. Because it is involved in about 200 metabolic processes.
But our body cannot produce this so valuable mineral salt itself. So you have to take it in through food.
That is why it is a good idea to eat enough foods that are good sources of magnesium.
- Whole grain products
- magnesium-enriched water
By the way, you can also use it to prevent tension, nightly calf cramps or even muscle twitching and restless legs, as in restless legs syndrome.
Are there herbal remedies that can help me sleep better?
Mother Nature also has a lot of resources for your better sleep. Valerian, hops and lemon balm are among the herbal sleeping pills that work well. You can find them in shops mostly in the form of bath additives, dragées, drops, tea mixtures or even tablets.
The advantage of these plant-based sleeping pills is obvious: they are well tolerated, have almost no side effects and do not disturb your natural sleep rhythm. But you should always follow the recommended dosage even with these products.
Another method is CBD. CBD is extracted from the female hemp plant, but has no psychoactive effect in the sense that it makes you high or addicted. However, it can help you to relax and find better rest.
Herbal remedies for better sleep should never be taken or used for longer than 2 weeks. This is because a so-called habituation effect can develop, which, if taken permanently, is similar to that of a psychological dependence.
Which sleeping position promotes better sleep?
Every person prefers a different sleeping position. While some people can best fall asleep on their back or stomach, you may prefer the side sleeping position.
This is generally considered a very healthy sleeping position. In this lying position, breathing stops are reduced and breathing itself is improved.
But especially when you sleep on your side, it is important that you use the right pillow. If you sleep on your side, your head tends to bend or the pelvic and lumbar vertebrae twist too much.
Therefore a so-called side sleeper pillow is recommended here. This provides additional support for your head and also for your shoulder area. In addition, its special shape and length make it ideal for use as a support between your knees when you lie on your side.
How can I find my inner peace before going to bed?
Mostly it is due to stress or problems in everyday life that your head cannot switch off so well in the evening. Then a thousand thoughts circle through your head and you have the feeling that you cannot sleep well.
That is why it is always advisable not only to provide a suitable sleeping environment. It is also advisable to use sleep rituals to ensure that your body and mind are already in a calmer phase before you finally go to bed.
Breathing exercises, meditation or even reading a book are especially helpful against inner restlessness. Because in this way not only your breathing frequency slows down. Through such rituals you are also able to banish agonizing thoughts from your head.
Maybe it will also help you to think about what you experienced during the day about an hour before you go to bed and then check it out.
If you then concentrate on autogenic training or even your breathing exercises, you can clear your head and get into the restful deep sleep phase more quickly. Meditation can also be very effective.
To sleep better, you can do many things. Most importantly, you should pay attention to your surroundings, improve your sleep hygiene, reduce your stress and choose the right sleeping position.
A better and calmer sleep is important, because sleep is very healthy and has many advantages. If you have a healthy sleep, you will go through all the phases of sleep several times a night, wake up in the morning feeling fit and alert, and start the day with full energy.
Table of Contents
- 1 The most important facts in brief
- 2 What does a healthy sleep look like?
- 3 Backgrounds: What you should know about better sleep
- 4 What to do for better sleep: tips and tricks to help you fall asleep
- 4.1 How should I design my sleeping environment so that I can sleep better?
- 4.2 How do I create good sleep hygiene?
- 4.3 How can you fall asleep in 60 seconds?
- 4.4 How can I sleep well in the heat?
- 4.5 What remedies are available for better sleep?
- 4.6 What home remedies are there that promote better sleep?
- 4.7 How can magnesium help me sleep better?
- 4.8 Are there herbal remedies that can help me sleep better?
- 4.9 Which sleeping position promotes better sleep?
- 4.10 How can I find my inner peace before going to bed?
- 5 Conclusion