Sleep plays a crucial role in your physical health, benefiting your heart, body and mind. It’s also vital to creativity, learning and lowering stress, so it’s clear that losing sleep on a nightly basis can considerably reduce your quality of life.
While most of us are aware of the health benefits of adequate sleep, they don’t tend to help us when we’re struggling to drift off. Although rest is a necessary function, and something the body will ideally do naturally when it’s fatigued, there are numerous psychological causes of sleeplessness, and anxiety about not getting enough sleep only them exacerbates them further.
Instead of tossing and turning until the early hours, here are three surprising ways to achieve better sleep tonight.
According to Sleep.org, sleep and regular sex go hand in hand. This is because sex promotes oxytocin (often considered the “love hormone”) and decreases cortisol in the blood, which in turn makes you more relaxed.
Most people consider sex to be arousing in more ways than one, thinking it will keep them awake rather than help them to drift off. However, the hormone called prolactin that’s released when you orgasm also makes you drowsy. This particular cocktail of hormones makes sex the perfect antidote to sleeplessness.
As it turns out, more sex helps you sleep, and better sleep improves your sex drive. This can go two ways, however, and problems in the bedroom will often lead to poor sleep. If you or your partner experience erectile dysfunction, for example, sex is less likely to result in such a satisfying conclusion and is more likely to induce anxiety. If ED is taking its toll on your sex life, click here for information on about hydro pumps, a modern treatment option.
Shower at Night
There’s evidence to suggest that showering at night can help you drift off, but you have to time it just right. Your body temperature plays a vital role in regulating your circadian rhythm, which allows the body to determine when it’s time to sleep and when to stay alert.
So how does this affect your sleep? Your body temperature peaks in the middle of the day, and then begins to cool down ready for sleep in the afternoon. Warming your body with a hot bath or shower can be effective, so long as you have enough time to cool down before going to bed. The optimum time to have a shower is about an hour and a half before you intend to sleep.
Curb Evening Snacking
It goes without saying that you should avoid alcohol, caffeine and spicy meals before bed if you want to enjoy a more restful night’s sleep, but what about other foods? Eating late at night stimulates the digestion system, which can stop you from sleeping.
Paradoxically, going to bed hungry may also prevent you from sleeping. To get the balance right, eat regular meals throughout the day, and stick to melatonin-enhancing foods before bed, such as bananas, almonds, honey and oats.