Insomnia is a serious problem that is found to affect 25% of Americans each year, and thousands of CrossFitters. Thankfully, there are many different sleep aids available to help one fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep they get. This article discusses these sleep aids and the ways that they encourage good sleep.
One in four Americans experience insomnia each year. While this statistic is definitely alarming, it isn’t the least bit surprising given all the modern day conveniences and innovations that cause us to deviate from our natural circadian rhythms. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy or even possible for people to follow their circadian rhythms. A night-shift worker, for example, must stay awake at night and asleep during the day. The good news is that there exists sleeping aids like blue light glasses and white noise machines to help these people get good sleep despite their circumstances.
Blue Light Glasses and Filters
If there’s one thing that can be blamed for the nation’s declining sleep statistics, it’s blue light. In the visible light spectrum, blue light has the shortest wavelengths and the highest energy.
Some believe blue light to be the artificial light emitted by fluorescent and LED lighting, as well as most electronic screens like laptops, computers, cellphones, and televisions. While this is true, blue light isn’t all artificial. In fact, the main source of blue light in the world is good old natural sunlight.
Our body functions normally when exposed to blue light in the day time. It’s when we are exposed to blue light at night – when it is unnatural – that causes problems. Our bodies delay our natural sleep processes when exposed to blue light as it associates blue light with daytime, when we are naturally supposed to stay awake and alert.
Blue light at night is very hard to avoid as it’s practically everywhere in this modern world. Installing blue light filters on all your devices is one way to counter this. The use of special glasses that block out blue light also works great as it can block out the blue light from artificial lighting as well. These glasses can come with extra features but they’re usually just yellow or red tinted glasses. Higher-quality blue light glasses incorporate the latest lens technology that allows it to block out blue light without having a strong, distracting tint, making it suitable for all-day wear.
White Noise Machines
Contrary to popular belief, white noise doesn’t magically make people sleep. It’s a sound that remains consistent throughout frequencies and it’s this consistency that can, if played at a volume that best suits you, muffle or block out any other sound that may otherwise disturb your sleep.
White noise can come in the form of the whirring of an air conditioner, a fan, or an air purifier – anything that gives off a consistent sound.
Most of the time, the white noise that come from these appliances is already enough for people to get a good night’s sleep. However, more sensitive sleepers can opt to get white noise machines. These machines block out distracting noises and produce relaxing sounds that help lull people to sleep.
Because these machines help people sleep longer undisturbed, they aid in improving sleep quality.
You can incorporate these machines into your room by placing them by the sources of disturbing noise. For example, if you live in an apartment by a noisy, busy street, you can set up your white noise machine by the window. This setup allows the white noise to block out car honks and other noise from the street.
Blackout Curtains and Blinds
Blackout curtains and blinds are heavy duty curtains that are able to block out even the strongest and brightest of lights from flooding your room. They are best for those with light sensitivities and those who – mostly due to work shifts – are only able to sleep in the daytime.
These curtains allow people to get good quality sleep even at hours when it’s unnatural to do so. It mimics the ideal sleep setting of a pitch dark room to convince the body to start producing melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Some blackout curtains have anti-noise pollution features that also block noise along with light via their built-in insulation.
“Do Not Disturb”
Aside from emitting sleep-hindering blue light, our smart phones play a big role in keeping us awake. The constant ringing and non-stop notifications of people liking posts or commenting on photos keeps our brains stimulated and “awake”.
Of course, the best solution for this problem is to simply switch one’s phone off. But if this isn’t possible, the next best thing would be to switch on the phone’s “Do Not Disturb” mode or download apps that serve the same function: block notifications at certain times to allow you to sleep.
If you’re worried that someone may call you in case of an emergency, you can set your phone or your app to only allow notifications to come through for certain people in your contacts list.
Lavender Scented Anything
Lavender has a reputation as a natural solution to stress and insomnia. This herb (particularly its scent) helps people relax and unwind. Research has shown that lavender aromatherapy may be able to alter brain waves and reduce stress.
Studies found that lavender aromatherapy is so good at relaxing people that it helped reduce anxiety and post-partum depression in women.
You can get creative when using lavender as a sleep aid. You can incorporate lavender into your night time routine by:
- Adding a few drops of pure lavender essential oil into a diffuser that runs as you sleep.
- Spritzing a lavender scented pillow spray on your pillowcase.
- Applying a drop of essential oil on your wrists.
- Taking a warm bath with lavender scented bath products.
Although sleep aids really are helpful towards improving one’s sleep quality and quantity, getting good sleep from following one’s circadian rhythm is still the best and healthiest option. These sleeping aids are just good alternatives for when doing so is not possible.