Recurring instances of restless nights can result in grumpy mornings and frustration with your partner or other household members. There are ways to lull someone into a peaceful slumber and with a little insight, you both can be catching much needed winks throughout the night.
The Right Atmosphere
To help someone fall asleep, you must first consider the type of environment that would be ideal for rest. There may be factors in the bedroom that are preventing the person from either falling asleep or staying that way during the night. You should start by trying to create the perfect atmosphere for sleep.
Comfortable Sleeping Temperature
The Sleep Foundation recommends that the temperature to encourage sleep should be somewhere near 65 degrees, which is cooler than the average room temperature for most homes. Just cool enough to need a cover seems to be the best, but keep in mind that the 'right' temperature for sleep can vary from person to person.
Consider Sound in the Room
Sound can affect people in different ways. Some prefer absolute silence and the slightest noises will keep them awake. On the other hand, some people can sleep better if there is a consistent sound, such as a fan running or light music.
People who like a lulling, ambient sound may also enjoy a sleep sound machine that can provide various noises, such as gentle rainfall or low, classical music.
Create the Right Lighting
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, "Light is one of the most important external factors that can affect sleep." Light can trick your mind into believing that it is time to be awake.
If you are trying to put someone to sleep, it is usually best to eliminate light in the room as much as possible. Hang heavy curtains over natural light sources, close the door to the bedroom, and try to avoid using a lamp or bright nightlight. Some people do sleep better if there is a dim light source that provides just enough illumination to make out surroundings as it makes them feel safe.
Make Creative Use of Motion
While most people only think of motion to help a small child sleep, repetitive motion, or rocking, may help a full-grown adult. There are beds that can provide gentle vibrations or even slight rocking motions that can gently encourage someone to fall asleep. For a less expensive option, an indoor hammock can be used to provide light movement while someone is going to sleep.
Relaxing Essential Oils
Certain essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, can help to create a restful atmosphere. Avoid using fragrances that are too overpowering as this will actually inhibit the ability to sleep. Using a diffuser with a few drops of essential oils is the best route to take for a surrounding aroma of relaxation.
Before Heading to Bed
Few people can jump right from an active day into sound sleep. If you want your loved one to fall asleep, then try to do whatever it takes to make sure he or she is as relaxed as possible before heading off to bed.
Avoid Stressful Topics
Do not bring up stressful conversations right before bed. Stress can cause a person to become hyper-aroused, which will prevent someone from falling asleep. A person who is anxious will have a harder time falling asleep than someone who is relaxed, so some topics are best avoided right before bedtime.
Before going to bed, try incorporating some relaxing activities into the evening. Turn off the television or do some reading. If the person having trouble sleeping is your partner, give one another a gentle massage. Sex could also help to enhance relaxation and induce sleep because it triggers the release of neurohormones, such as oxytocin and prolactin, which attribute to a calm state.
Eat and Drink to Promote Sleep
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, normal sleep is linked to nutrition. Heavy foods high in sugars and fats can prevent a person from being able to sleep well because the body will have to work harder to digest, which may cause a stomach ache or indigestion. Complex carbohydrates stimulate the release of serotonin, so they're a better choice for the last meal of the day.
Any drinks with caffeine, such as tea or coffee, should be avoided for a few hours before bed. A simple glass of wine or alcohol at bedtime may help to encourage sleep, but too much can do the opposite.
In the event that all other strategies will not work, sleep aids can be beneficial. Over-the-counter sleeping medication can often be enough to help a person go to sleep faster. There are also prescription sleep aids that can be given by a physician to help. Keep in mind that some sleeping pills come along with undesirable side-effects and should be used with caution.
These techniques and remedies may also provide some help when you or a loved one is having a difficult time falling asleep. Be sure to check in with a doctor, or homeopathic specialist before ingesting anything you've never taken before.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, there are several herbs that can help initiate a restful sleep. Some of these herbs include chamomile, valerian, lavender, and passion flower. Although there is some evidence that supports herbal remedies, more research is needed to test effectiveness.
If you are interested in homeopathic remedies, make sure you find a specialist who you feel comfortable with. Some common homeopathic sleep remedies include aconite, chamomilia, arnica, and belladonna. These remedies are typically taken orally and are given based on your specific type of sleep issue.
Pressure points have been known to relieve pain, as well as help people get into a more relaxed and restful state. Common relaxation and sleep-inducing points include the crease of your wrist, the base of your skull, and on your third eye point, which is located between your eyebrows. Apply steady pressure to these points and notice if you feel more relaxed after doing so. If you are feeling too restless to do it to yourself, ask a friend, partner or loved one to assist you.
A helpful way to induce relaxation is to get a massage. You can see a massage therapist in the late afternoon or early evening, or ask a partner to help you out right before bed. Make sure you feel comfortable during the entire massage and be sure to let your partner or massage therapist know if there is too much or not enough pressure. Massages are a great way to decrease stress and help you get a better night of sleep.
Finding a Solution
While it may seem that sleep should just be a natural part of the day, it can take effort for some people. By taking some time to learn about what can help put someone to sleep, you may find that there have been things preventing a restful night all along. To find what works may take some trial and error, but you can normally find a solution unless other medical problems are at work.
If all else fails, consult with your physician.