If you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep on a regular basis, you're not alone. Roughly 70 percent of American adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11 percent report getting insufficient amounts of sleep every night.
One of the biggest problems people face when it comes time to fall asleep is dealing with stress. Almost half of the Americans surveyed reported that stress caused them to lie awake at night during some point in the last month. People who are constantly stressed have a difficult time lowering their blood pressure, breathing regularly, and calming down, which makes catching a full night of sleep challenging.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to combat stress and increase your daily amount of sleep. Here are five tips that will get you those eight precious hours of shut-eye.
1. Get outside and soak up some Vitamin D.
Recent studies have led experts to believe that spending time in the sun on a daily basis can help regulate your circadian rhythm and make you sleep better at night. You don't have to spend hours in your backyard or anything - just take a walk around the block on your lunch break or eat dinner outside on a nice evening. Your body sees far too much blue light during the day, so it pays to give it some time with natural light.
2. Invest in an essential oils diffuser.
Believe it or not, what you smell while you're falling asleep can significantly impact your quality of rest. For instance, lavender has been shown to decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, which automatically makes you feel more ready for sleep. Head to the store and buy an aromatherapy diffuser so that you can use oils like lavender to fall asleep more quickly.
3. Stop drinking that afternoon cup of coffee.
Caffeine is a drug, and its side effects aren't always predictable. Although it usually takes less than five hours for caffeine to wear off, that cup of coffee you had at 4 PM might still be affecting you when you head to bed that night. Make a rule for yourself that you won't drink any caffeine after 12 PM, just in case it's disrupting your sleep patterns.
4. Take a bath or a shower about an hour before you get in bed.
When you take a warm bath or shower, then dry off, your body begins to cool down. This process triggers the urge to sleep since your body begins to cool down once you're in bed. Although most research evaluates the effects of baths, a 20-minute shower can also do the trick.
5. Turn down the AC and keep your bedroom dark.
According to research, your bedroom temperature should stay between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit while you're snoozing. This makes it easier for you to fall asleep and can decrease feelings of restlessness. Also, keep your bedroom pitch black to encourage optimal sleep. Even little blinking lights from your phone or other electronics can interfere with your sleep, so try to eliminate as many sources of light as possible.
How do you get a good night's sleep, even when you're stressed? Let us know in the comments below.