Can’t Sleep? Try Natural Solutions Before Turning to Medication

natural sleep solutions

A report published by The Lancet medical journal found that sleep issues are a major problem for many Americans, with nearly one-quarter of adults unhappy with their quality of sleep. Prescription medications to induce a good night’s sleep are a common solution; however, they’ve become a new focus for the Food and Drug Administration due to concerns that these drugs may impact the ability to drive the morning after taking them. Evidence has been presented that shows the effects of the medication can persist well into the next day. The FDA also warns that complex sleep behaviors like sleep eating or sleep driving can also be a result of these drugs.

Before turning to a prescription, try these natural steps for better rest.

Turn off smartphones and other light-emitting electronic devices

A Mayo Clinic study recently revealed that light exposure emitted from the bright lights of a mobile device can interfere with melatonin, the hormone that aids in controlling the natural sleep-wake cycle, and disrupt sleep.

Study researchers found that lowering the device’s brightness setting, and also holding it at least 12 inches away from the face while using it can decrease the risk of suppressing melatonin. Dr. Stephanie Sarkis suggests turning off all electronics 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed as the mind needs time to wind down. Bright light conditions don’t give it the chance to do that which means it will likely take you longer to fall asleep.

Cover the windows

Making sure your windows are properly covered will also contribute to better sleep. The darker your bedroom the better; consider using blackout shades or roller blinds. They come in a variety of colors and patterns and are ideal for blocking natural light to prevent it from entering your room.

As light regulates our sleeping patterns, getting plenty of exposure to bright light during the day is important. Spend some time outdoors or purchase a light therapy lamp that can help you get enough exposure.

Avoid snacking and alcohol before bedtime

Watch what you eat before bed. Snacking on refined grains or sugars can raise blood sugar and place too much stress on the organs that help regulate hormones throughout the body. This can negatively affect sleep cycles, causing one to wake up during the night due to fluctuating hormones. If you are really hungry, choose a high-protein snack instead which can help encourage melatonin production.

Avoid drinking alcohol during the late evening hours. Although it may initially help you to fall asleep, it generally impairs sleep during the second half of the night which will ultimately reduce quality and overall sleep time.

Keep your bedroom slightly cool

Experts can’t seem to come to a consensus on an ideal temperature for sleep, but in general most recommend keeping the room slightly cool. A room that is too hot can disrupt sleep and may lead to more wake time and lighter sleep. Instead of keeping the thermostat up, use a blanket or comforter that helps to keep heat in without being too heavy or confining.

Block out sound

Even small noises, such as a dripping faucet, can interrupt sleep. If you’re used to certain noises and sleep in a place that is absent of them, this can also cause sleeping difficulties. You may need to block out unwanted sounds by using earplugs or “white nose” like the sound of a fan. Bringing items with you when traveling, like your clock that makes that certain ticking noise, can also help you to get a better night’s rest.

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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