Many people suffer from sleep issues, and with a worldwide pandemic, those who don’t usually have issues may also find themselves lying awake at night. This can cause many problems as sleep is essential for overall good health. Poor sleep quality or not enough can negatively affect cognitive function, mood, and immune system.
A recent survey of 2,555 people across 63 countries found that 47% of them experienced poorer sleep than usual since the pandemic first started when only 25% had problems.
There may be many reasons why sleep can be disturbed, but stress and anxiety are often found at the top of the list. As stress is also associated with poor dietary habits, many people tend to reach for energy drinks and caffeinated beverages. These sugar-filled, caffeine drinks can cause alertness, making it difficult for people to fall asleep. This creates a vicious cycle.
People who feel stressed may be more likely to reach for alcohol, but having a few before bedtime, especially in excess, can also disrupt sleep.
Unfortunately, these two common ways that people deal with stress won’t help with sleep, but there are a few more ways to help ensure a good night’s sleep.
Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Teatime—While some types of tea have caffeine, others can help to relax the mind and lower stress. Chamomile tea has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat sleep problems, such as insomnia.
The leaves found in chamomile tea contain apigenin, a chemical compound that binds to the brain’s receptors, which can produce a sedative effect.
Milk—You may remember having a warm cup of cow’s milk before bedtime as a child. This old wives’ tale of believing it to be a way to help children fall asleep may actually have some truth behind it.
Milk is an essential source of the essential amino acid tryptophan needed to produce compounds including serotonin and melatonin in the brain. These compounds are involved with the sleep-wake cycle, explaining why milk has been known to help with sleep issues.
Cocoa—Not that anyone needs a reason to have more cocoa, but when dissolved in hot milk, it has been regarded as a sleep-promoting beverage. The cocoa bean is a rich source of many beneficial chemicals, including flavonoids. These compounds have a range of health benefits and can be used to treat some neurodegenerative disorders.
Although research is limited on the subject, cocoa has been suggested to improve stress-induced insomnia. Some previous studies have found that cocoa also lowers blood pressure, which can relax muscles in the arteries, leading to a calming effect making it easier to sleep.
While none of these sleep remedies are likely to cure all sleep problems, they can improve the quality of sleep. Added to other lifestyle changes, sleep quality can be improved. Add more physical activity throughout the day and reduce screen time before going to bed to help reduce stress.