We could all use a better night’s sleep. After all, we lead busy lives. From the increasing demands at our jobs to being active and engaged with our family and significant others on the home front, we’re stressed to the max and sleep is often the best remedy.

For some people, however – it’s not as easy as simply closing your eyes and being tired. Sleep can be a challenge. If you fall into that category – then this week’s post is for you! While it can be tempting to want to take pills like Ambien to get more sleep, it’s important to exhaust every possible option you have at your disposal to try to fall asleep naturally. Below, you’ll find five tips that can improve your odds of both falling asleep – and getting a better night’s rest!

Cut out TV or the computer an hour prior to bed time

One major sleep problem that’s commonly encountered is what’s called ‘nervous excitement,’ which is a result of over-stimulation. Back before electricity and other modern amenities, people went to bed after dark. Now with lights, television, computers and the like – our nervous systems are constantly being over stimulated.

To combat this, we recommend ditching TV or the computer an hour before bedtime. That way, your system has a little time to wind down. Try taking a relaxing shower or bath – or perhaps even reading with a book. Regardless of what you decide to do, unplugging yourself for an hour is a great way to communicate to your nervous system that it’s time to sleep.

The right kind of exercise

Adequate exercise is important to everyone. By maintaining a healthy level of activity, your body will be more naturally ready to sleep. The endorphins released during that exercise will also help decrease your stress levels, helping you to avoid that ‘nervous excitement’ we described above.

Keep an eye on the before bed diet

Here’s where there’s a bit of a balancing act to consider. You don’t want to go to bed stuffed full, but it’s also a bad idea to go to bed hungry. You also don’t want to hydrate too much – as mid-night trips to the bathroom won’t help you get a better sleep. Try to avoid alcohol as it has a deliberately simulative effect on your body. Eat a little something – like a Yogurt a little while before bed. That should do the trick.

Keep the lights down

Like we mentioned earlier, light and darkness have a profound effect on your body’s biological signals. When you’re in light, your body will think it needs to be up and awake. When it gets dark, it’s a signal that it’s time to sleep. When you’re relaxing, turn your lights down and make sure your room is set the way you need it to be. Darkness indicates to your body that it’s time to sleep, so be sure to keep those lights down!

Give acupuncture a try

Acupuncture for insomnia works in a very similar way to how it works for other conditions. Through the clearing of certain trigger points, acupuncture can remove areas of energy stagnation in the body – leading to ease and relief so the body can rest properly.