Sleep plays one of the most important roles in our health. And yet so many of us struggle to get good quality sleep on a consistent basis.
These days, we have access to everything from supplements and sleep trackers, to luxury mattresses and memory foam pillows — all claiming to help us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. But do we really need these things?
It’s so easy to get lost among the wide variety of products available to us in this modern day and age, we hardly even recognize that the best option often lies in going back to basics. Mother Nature provides us with everything we need to live happy, healthy lives — and unless a serious sleep disorder is causing problems, most of us can do without totally relying on fancy products that have been cleverly marketed to help us sleep better.
Here are five ways you can harness the power of nature to soothe your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
1. Leave the window open.
Spring is the perfect time of year to sleep with your bedroom window open. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the room temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body naturally decreases in temperature when preparing for sleep, so cracking a window to let the cool nighttime air in can help with this.
2. Use essential oils on your pillow.
Aromatherapy can help you doze off in minutes. Lavender is the most used of all essential oils for its versatile therapeutic properties as well as its ability to promote relaxation, but other oils that are good for sleep include vetiver, chamomile, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and cedarwood. Just sprinkle a drop or two on your pillow before bedtime and allow the soothing aromas to lull you to sleep.
3. Bring nighttime air-purifying plants into your bedroom.
In addition to making nice decorative touches your home, houseplants are also great for cleansing the air. The snake plant is best known for its air purifying abilities, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen at night while also purifying the air of toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene. Known as “the bedroom plant,” you’ll get the most out of it by placing at least 6 to 8 waist-high snake plants in your bedroom.
4. Eliminate all sources of light.
Your body needs darkness in the evening hours to prime itself for sleep, so if you have various glowing electronics constantly shining bright light at night — even in small amounts, such as the glowing numbers of a digital alarm clock — you could be losing sleep because of it. Consider unplugging or turning everything off and even investing in a pair of blackout curtains for your room as well.
5. Listen to nature sounds to help you drift off to sleep.
Here’s where modern technology actually might come in handy. As long as there are no glowing screens or lights left on all night, you can use a device like a smartphone, a tablet computer, an alarm clock, an mp3 player, or something else to calm your mind with the soft, soothing sounds of nature. Sounds like crickets, frogs, ocean waves, rain, and thunderstorms make perfect nighttime lullabies.
Try one or all of the above for at least a week to see if it helps improve your length and quality of sleep. Chances are these natural sleep aids may be all that you really need!