9 Natural Ways to Improve Sleep During Lockdown
Lockdown means that winter is turning out to be a stressful time for most of us, and you might be finding it harder to sleep at night.
If getting a solid night’s sleep is beyond you at the moment, we’ve found 9 natural ways to help you improve your sleep and hopefully help make your lockdown a little more restful.
Here we go:
1. HEMP EXTRACT
Herbal supplements are an easy way to improve your sleep pattern with minimal changes to your routine.
Hemp is a versatile plant that contains lots natural compounds which can benefit our health, as a result there has been a recent boom in the popularity of hemp extract products.
For a healthy, regulated sleep routine, melatonin supplementation is key.
Melatonin is a hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to sleep, helping you to keep a healthy sleep routine. By taking a melatonin supplement before bed, you’re helping your body to prepare for sleep.
One study found that 3 weeks of melatonin use at a 2 mg dosage improved both sleep quality and morning alertness in patients with insomnia. These results point to the effectiveness of melatonin as a sleep aid, even for patients struggling with insomnia.
3. VALERIAN ROOT
If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your sleep, valerian root could be the answer for you.
Valerian root is a supplement made out of the root of the valerian plant, a herb that is native to Europe and Asia.
Studies have shown that valerian root has demonstrated an ability to improve sleep quality and reduce the period of time it takes you to fall asleep, as well as reduce feelings of drowsiness.
To add valerian root to your routine, you can simply take it in supplement form.
Lavender isn’t just a great scent; it also contains strong sleep-improving qualities that can help you to get the sleep you need.
Studies have shown that lavender has many sleep-boosting qualities, such as reducing blood pressure and reducing anxiety and stress.
One study investigating the effects of lavender on female patients with insomnia showed a significant ability to improve sleep quality. Patients inhaled lavender for 20 minutes twice per week for 12 weeks. Lavender was found to reduce heart rate and significantly improved sleep quality in the insomniac patients, highlighting the sleep-improving potential of this aromatherapy oil.
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L-theanine is an amino acid that has shown promising results as a sleep aid.
One study of L-theanine found that when healthy participants were given 200 mg of the amino acid, they experienced relaxing and tranquil-like effects that could help to encourage sleep.
You can consume L-theanine as a supplement or by increasing your intake of foods rich in the amino acid, like:
- - Sweet potatoes
- - Artichokes
- - Eggs
- - Shellfish
- - Kimchi
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Adding magnesium powder or supplements to your routine can be an easy way to get a better night’s sleep.
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for maintaining normal body functions, including sleep. Magnesium helps you to sleep by activating the part of your brain that induces feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Magnesium is so important to getting a good night’s sleep that it was found in one animal study to be essential for maintaining regular sleep patterns.
Magnesium can also help you to achieve a more restful night’s sleep. One study found that 500 mg of magnesium resulted in patients experiencing higher quality sleep and producing higher levels of melatonin and renin, which are hormones that are key to healthy sleep regulation.
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7. GINKGO BILOBA
Ginkgo biloba is a herb with some significant sleep-boosting qualities. Sourced from the ginkgo biloba tree, which is native to China, this supplement can easily be taken in pill or powder form.
One study investigated the effects of ginkgo biloba on sleep regulation in patients with depression. Ginkgo biloba supplementation significantly improved sleep efficiency and reduced the number of times that patients woke in the night. Impressively, the supplement also enhanced REM sleep in the second sleep cycle.
8. REGULAR EXERCISE
Regular exercise is another way that you can improve your sleep, provided that you don’t exercise too close to bedtime.
Exercise is so effective at helping you get a good night’s sleep that one study found that moderate-intensity exercise 4 times a week for 16 weeks significantly improved sleep scores for patients, including sleep quality, sleep-onset latency and sleep duration.
Just be sure you plan your exercise earlier in the day. Exercise can encourage feelings of alertness and possibly leave you feeling too stimulated to fall asleep quickly if you work out too close to your bedtime.
Another way to improve your sleep quality and length could be to reduce your blue light exposure before bed.
One of the main forms of blue light we come across is through electronic devices. Phones, computers and televisions emit large amounts of blue light; exposing yourself to this light before bedtime can stop you from getting the best night’s sleep possible.
Blue light exposure before bed can mess with your natural sleep routine, known as your circadian rhythm.
It’s best to stop blue light exposure 2 hours before you go to bed. There are a few ways that you can reduce your blue light exposure before bed:
- - Wear blue-light-blocking glasses when viewing electronic devices
- - Turn off all electronic devices
- - Use a blue-light-blocking screen cover
- - Install a blue-light-blocking app on your phone
The bottom line
Times are stressful at the moment, so if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it’s understandable.
The good news is that you don’t have to keep on struggling with sleep. These simple natural solutions could have you feeling rested in no time.