How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

woman sleeping in a hammock

Waking up suddenly to the sound of your alarm after a bad night’s sleep is a feeling some of us know all too well. It can put you in a bad mood as soon as the day has started which is conducive to having a bad day. But we’re here to help you understand how you can fall asleep faster in order to get a good night’s rest.

Sleep is an area that is constantly being researched by scientists. A study from Berkeley tells us that our prefrontal cortex shuts down when we’re lacking a good night’s sleep. The prefrontal cortex contains some of our most complex cognitive behaviours such as decision making, personality expression and moderating social behaviour. This explains why we’re so grumpy when we haven’t slept!

But what are the causes of not being able to drift off? Learning more about how your body works can help you understand the problem. So, let’s dive into the reasons why we’re not sleeping, as well as all the best tips for how to fall asleep quickly.

Why can’t I sleep?

There are many different reasons why you might have difficulty falling asleep, from something as simple as your lifestyle choices to psychological conditions. If you do shift work or travel a lot and therefore suffer often from jet lag, you’re more likely to have difficulty sleeping as your sleep pattern is constantly disrupted. Consuming too much caffeine during the day can contribute to not being able to nod off. Too much stimulation before bed from watching TV, playing video games or looking at your phone can also keep you up at night.

Trouble sleeping could also be a side effect of another underlying mental health condition. Anxiety sufferers are more likely to have panic attacks at night or panic attacks in their sleep. Depression can cause insomnia but it can also lead to people sleeping too long and if you’re a trauma sufferer you might experience nightmares. People who suffer from anxiety at night will often have trouble sleeping which could lead to a pattern of sleep anxiety. In some cases this can cause a cycle of lacking sleep, not functioning properly during the day and then worrying about sleeping again at night.

However, with any health concern it’s important to talk openly about it in order to get to the root cause. You can then begin trying some of these helpful sleeping remedies to see what works for you.

How to fall asleep

  • Sleep meditation – meditation is the practice of focusing the mind, ridding it of thoughts and being aware of the present moment. It’s this process of clearing the mind and slowing down our breathing that helps us relax and get ready for sleep. The best way to get started is to be led through a guided meditation, many of which can be found online or via a number of meditation apps.
  • Essential oils – the relaxing scent of lavender is renowned for aiding sleep and there are even studies that show it can calm your nervous system which will give you a more restorative sleep. Clary sage oil is also used for its relaxation properties – try spraying these oils directly on your pillow to help you fall asleep faster.
  • Natural sleep aids – sleeping pills aren’t for everyone, so there are a whole host of natural alternatives you can take such as melatonin – a naturally occurring hormone in the body that regulates sleep, and valerian – a root that has been used to aid sleep since Ancient Rome!
  • Magnesium – this humble mineral can do us a world of good, including helping us to fall asleep. Studies have found that magnesium has a relaxing effect on the body, in particular on our muscles, which helps us to relax and unwind for the night ahead.

Foods that help you sleep

There are also a number of foods to help you sleep. Why not try and include some of these vegan treats into your diet and see if it aids your sleeping problems:

  • Almonds – this nutty superfood is great for just about anything and that includes sleep! They are a natural source of melatonin which helps regulate your internal clock and therefore will help you sleep quicker and deeper. You’ll be happy to know then that our brand new Nakd Almond Macaroon bar is bursting with this clever little snack, so why not give it a try!
  • Chamomile tea – this delicious tea is a natural antioxidant containing apigenin which binds to certain receptors in your brain that can promote that sleepy feeling.
  • Kiwis – these furry fruits promote serotonin, the happy chemical that can also help regulate your sleep cycle.
  • Walnuts – these nuts also contain lots of melatonin that helps your sleep cycle as well as DHA which can increase serotonin production.
  • Bananas – these contain potassium which is linked to getting a good night’s sleep. Be sure to check out our gorgeous Banoffee Pie fruit and nut bar for all that banana goodness.

Although sleep problems can have a huge effect on our mood and social interactions, there are plenty of lifestyle choices you can alter and natural sleep aids you can try in order to get a good night’s sleep. If you want to learn more about your well-being, why not check out some more of our Nakd articles from Breathing Exercises to Combat Stress to Morning Stretches for Health and Wellbeing.

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