4 Tools To Help You to Sleep Naturally
At least one in three of us has difficulty sleeping on a regular basis. Adults typically need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and a persistent lack of sleep can affect your mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life. Fortunately, there are lots of tools we can use to help us to sleep, from medications to mobile applications. We’ll take a look at four natural sleep tools and how they work.
What is a sleep tool?
A sleep tool is a natural sleep aid that helps you to get to sleep more quickly and stay asleep for longer without using any medications. Some take a cognitive approach by distracting you from the thoughts that keep you awake and helping you to relax. Others take a physiological stance and draw on our biological functions to help us to sleep.
Who might need a sleep tool?
Whether you have occasional episodes of poor sleep or extended periods of insomnia, anyone can use a sleep tool. They are useful when you have trouble falling or staying asleep. You may also benefit from a sleep tool if you often feel tired and sleepy throughout the day or have trouble concentrating, as it can be used to grab a nap to boost your energy levels.
Dreamscapes use a mixture of music, sound effects, and voiceover to create audio tracks for mobile applications. A sleep app for iPhone and Android can be listened to before a nap or bedtime to calm your mind, enabling you to get to sleep quickly, stay asleep, and awaken refreshed. Using up-to-date research, a dreamscape tailors psychoacoustics to the different stages of your sleep cycle.
Beautiful narratives are layered with clinical interventions, such as mindfulness, grounding, hypnosis, and autogenic training to provide an optimised sleep tool for mobile devices. To help you to stay asleep, it’s best to listen to dreamscapes from the moment you lie down until you rise. However, some apps include fade-out timers so that the app can be silenced as required.
White noise is produced when all the different audible frequencies are combined. It sounds similar to the static we hear from an untuned television or radio and can be used to cover other distracting sounds like traffic or snoring. White noise machines have been available since the 17th century, and alternatives, such as Youtube videos or white noise apps, can now be accessed where recordings of fans, dishwashers, washing machines, or hoovers produce the same effect.
As well as masking other sounds that would disturb a sleeper with semi-awakenings, it is thought that white noise may improve sleep by synchronising our brain waves. Although more research into this theory is needed, a 2017 study published in the Frontiers in Neurology journal suggests that at least 38% of adults are able to get to sleep faster by listening to white noise.
There are many breathing techniques that can be used to encourage the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Extended breathing is an incredibly simple exercise that doesn’t require any equipment and can be carried out at any time and anywhere, making it perfect for practising in bed. Instead of taking shallow breaths using the chest and neck muscles, you use your diaphragm as this facilitates slower, relaxed breathing. While lying in bed, place one hand just above your belly button and inhale and exhale very slowly through your nose, feeling your belly rise and fall. After breathing like this for a minute, try inhaling for a count of two seconds and exhaling for four seconds.
If you prefer, you can inhale for three seconds and exhale for six, or inhale for four and exhale for eight. It doesn’t matter which pattern you carry out as long as you exhale for twice as long as you inhale. Since breathing is an involuntary and automatic reflex that speeds up when we are under stress, this conscious effort to slow your breathing can help to slow any stressful, negative thoughts that may stop you from getting to sleep.
There are many tools that can help people to improve their sleep and, therefore, their quality of life, mood, productivity, and relationships. Since many of these natural techniques require the use of technology like tablets or mobile phones, which emit blue light that is disruptive to sleep, it is a good idea to ensure the screen is turned off or switched to dark mode. Furthermore, for optimal sleep, use a sleep tool as part of your regular sleep hygiene, which includes a comfortable bed, dim lighting, and a consistent time to retire at night and rise in the morning.