There is nothing quite as frustrating as trying to go sleep and not being able to, with up to 40% of adults reporting difficulty sleeping each year . There are many reasons for this, but our current modern lifestyle plays a huge role. With the rise of technology and social media, we are expected to be available 24/7 and this can cause a lot of anxiety. Also, the stress of our jobs can compromise the quality of our sleep, making us feel tired and drowsy during the day. While sleep disorders affect many people, only about 4% of Americans take a prescription sleep aid. This means that a big percentage of individuals with sleep disorders do not receive any kind of treatment or they could be resorting to more natural remedies .
Why Is Sleep So Important?
In the past, it was believed that sleep was a passive state, but many studies have shown that is very important for many body functions that range from cognitive processing to metabolism. Your hormonal balance is highly dependent on the quality of your sleep, in part due to the release of growth hormone, which helps repair tissues, burn fat and build muscle mass. Sleep deprivation is linked with higher levels of stress and appetite-inducing hormones. People who suffer from sleep disorders tend to experience weight gain and are more prone to conditions such as hypertension and metabolic disorders. It's also worth noting that during sleep, your brain commits to new information in a process called memory consolidation. Other aspects influenced by your sleep are your mood, attention and concentration [3,4]
How Many Hours Should You Sleep Every Night?
Your sleep requirements change throughout your life, with children needing up to 13 hours of sleep a day. In the case of adults, it is generally accepted that 7 to 9 hours of sleep is enough to stay healthy. Something to keep in mind is that the quality of your sleep is as important as its quantity . People often wonder if the time spent napping should be included in these requirements and the answer is no. Naps in adults are a sign of sleep deprivation or that the quality of their sleep is not what is should be .
Exercise And Sleep
Exercise is often called the best natural sleep aid, with benefits that help improve the quality of your sleep in many ways such as reducing stress and relieving anxiety. Also, people who exercise tend to feel more tired at night, which increases their time in deep sleep. This phase of your sleep cycle is considered the most physically restorative and is associated with improved cardiac health and a boost to the immune system .
Pairing Exercise And Infrared Saunas
In recent years, many athletes have started to end their workouts with infrared sauna sessions. These offer many benefits and are associated with better athletic performance and muscle recovery after strenuous physical activity. Researchers have ran many studies to determine the benefits of infrared therapy, with discoveries tell us that this form of therapy has an advantageous effect on sleep. Patients who were exposed to infrared waves reported an improvement in the quality of their sleep . Also, due to the increase in body temperature during infrared sauna sessions, people have an increase in slow-wave sleep. This is the part of your sleep cycle when the cognitive processes associated with memory take place, and it plays a huge role in making you feel well-rested in the mornings .
Other Natural Sleep Aids
There are other ways to naturally promote healthy sleep, like trying to make your room as dark as possible when you are going to bed, which stimulates the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. To boost this effect, you should also try taking a melatonin supplement 15 minutes before going to bed. These are completely safe and are sold over-the-counter. Drinking chamomile tea or warm milk before bed can also help you wind down and make it easier to fall asleep .
You should always consider that sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity. Therefore, if you are struggling with your sleep schedule, you should try anything in your power to put it back on track. Following these recommendations will help you attain better overall sleep, but if you're still struggling with sleep afterwards, please consider visiting your doctor or a specialist.
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 Joe Leech. (2020). "10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important." Healthline.com, Healthline, 24 February 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important.
 Eric Olson. (2019). "How many hours of sleep are enough for good health?" Mayoclinic.org, Mayo Clinic, 06 June 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898.
 Brandon Peters. (2019). "Napping and Sleeping at Night." Verywellhealth.com, Very Well Health, 06 December 2019, https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-do-naps-affect-sleep-at-night-3014731.
 Michael Breus. (2017). "The Benefits of Exercise For Sleep." Thesleepdoctor.com, The Sleep Doctor, 22 May 2017, https://thesleepdoctor.com/2017/05/22/benefits-exercise-sleep/.
 Vatansever Fatma, Hamblin Michael. (2012). "Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications." Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnological Information, 16 October 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699878/.
 Buguet A. (2007). "Sleep under extreme environments: effects of heat and cold exposure, altitude, hyperbaric pressure and microgravity in space." Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnological Information, 15 November 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17706676.
 "Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies to Help You Sleep." Hopkinsmedicine.org, John Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/natural-sleep-aids-home-remedies-to-help-you-sleep.