How to Aid Sleep Naturally

The clocks go back this coming weekend. While many view the end of daylight savings time to be a blessing — and are thrilled with the prospect of an extra hour of sleep — it can still be a hard adjustment. For people with blood sugar concerns, sleep can be vital to maintaining healthy blood sugar. If counting sheep won’t work for you, we might have some useful tips.

It has long been known by medical researchers that poor sleep adversely impacts glucose tolerance. But we all live in a busy world with work, appointments and commitments. It’s not surprising that 51 percent of people do not get enough sleep. A large part of the problem seems to be that many of us simply do not prioritize sleep or resting rituals over hobbies and work. We would rather be focused on fun than sleep.

Even the most successful people among us can have a hard time with sleep. Elon Musk and Arianna Huffington have both spoken about their sleep problems in the past. It’s a universal problem that can be tackled. In preparation for the clocks changing — and to help us overhaul our sleeping habits — we’re looking at actions to mitigate sleep problems.


Image: Ian Pegg, Wikimedia

The first thing to focus on is sleep rituals. Do you have one? What makes you sleepy? For some people it’s music, for others it’s a smell. Whether it’s putting on the right slippers or doing a specific task, you can help your mind and body realize it’s bedtime by creating a routine.

Finding the perfect ritual might take a little tweaking. For instance, some people find bathes to be a comforting way to get drowsy, others find warm water wakes them up. Being in a room between 60-68 degrees is best for sleep because it causes your core temperature to drop. Maybe for you it’s reading or curling up with tea. Experiment a little and find the perfect system.

Limit Sugar

Image: James Petts, Wikimedia

Not only does a lack of sleep mess with your blood sugar, too much sugar can mess with your sleep. And blood sugar has also been linked to causing insomnia. While dessert might seem like a great way to round out dinner, sugar can not only give you a rush but also upset your sleep, making you wakeful or restless in the night. Along with caffeine, alcohol and fat, cutting out the sugar can really help you get your z’s.

Rid Yourself of Stress and Blue Light

Image: Fabian Irsara, Wikimedia

While comforting physical rituals can work wonders, there are also mental steps one can take to improve sleep. The first is to disconnect from stress. Turn off the alerts on your phone. Texts and email can wait. Thinking about commitments can be stressful and if it’s bedtime you won’t be dealing with them until the morning anyway. When the day is over, let yourself be done. If you are anxious about the day ahead write a to-do list to help you plan ahead, release some tension and fall asleep.

Not only can the stress of work or commitments get to you, so can your screen. Blue light from screens can prompt your body to produce melatonin and stay awake. That's because the brain processes the light as though it were sunshine. Getting away from your phone, computer, tablet or TV could help your brain prepare for sleep.

Whether you have a problem with the changing of the seasons or habitual sleep problems, small changes can help.  Hopefully, these tricks can make a big difference to your sleep. Of course, if you find your sleeping problem is something more serious, you should always reach out to your doctor.

Have tricks of your own to fall asleep fast? We would love to hear them:

October 29, 2018
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