Across our dispensaries in Massachusetts, insomnia is one of the top conditions for which new Rev patients seek treatment. We’ve helped thousands of people find the right cannabis product that helps them fall asleep faster, stay asleep for longer, and wake up well-rested in the morning.
Cannabis can be a substantial element of your sleep and wellness plan, but it should always be just one part of it — not the sole focus. When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, you can and should do many things to prepare your mind and body for rest. But many people wonder: how can I fall asleep faster naturally?
As we honor Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s explore some all-natural methods for reducing anxiety at night and getting the rest you need to live your best life. Here are six natural ways to fall asleep and stay asleep:
1. Create a cozy bedroom
Your journey on a restful night of sleep begins the moment you walk into your bedroom. Think about your bedroom decor, and whether it relaxes you or activates your mind. The colors in your bedroom can also impact sleep — soothing earth tones and muted colors for your walls, furniture, and bedspread contribute to a calming environment. It’s also important to avoid having bright or blue light in your bedroom, which prevents your body from producing melatonin and falling asleep on its own.
Another important aspect of your sleep environment is the level of noise present. Some people prefer to sleep in complete silence, in which case earplugs can work wonders; sound machines or white noise apps can also blur out jarring noises or provide a soothing soundscape. You can also try diffusing essential oils — particularly relaxing scents like lavender, lemongrass, sandalwood, or eucalyptus — to create a calm, relaxing environment for sleep.
Noise, scent, lighting, color, and decor can help you create your ideal cozy bedroom for better sleep. But arguably, the most influential part of your sleep environment is your mattress. A high-quality mattress, proper pillows, and sheets with the right thread count (300-500 thread count is recommended for soft yet durable sheets) deliver a decadent sensory experience that can help with falling asleep naturally.
2. Switch up your diet
A balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to perform necessary processes, including falling asleep naturally. In particular, healthy foods rich in magnesium — such as legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, and whole grains — help your body relax and reduce stress naturally, leading to better sleep.
Avoiding certain foods may also help people who have trouble falling and staying sleeping:
- High-carb, high-fat, and high-protein foods can make it difficult for your body to shut down and fall asleep, since they are not easily digested and broken down in the body.
- Spicy food can negatively impact sleep by leading to heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux — all of which worsen when lying down. Spicy foods can also increase your body’s core temperature, disrupting your body’s natural temperature drop during sleep.
- Alcohol, caffeine, and energy drinks may help you feel awake in short moments, but they mess up your body’s circadian rhythm — leaving you wired, groggy, and lethargic in the long run.
3. Eliminate screen time before bed
Scrolling on social media, catching up on the evening news, or texting friends might seem like relaxing activities, but every minute you spend on your phone stimulates your brain and compromises your ability to relax. Not only does “doom scrolling” on social media cause mental strife that can keep your mind racing at night, but the bright blue light emitting from your phone suppresses melatonin production — literally preventing your brain and eyes from resting.
Give yourself a deadline to stop using your phone at least two hours before bed. Stick to your deadline by placing your phone in a drawer, storing it in another room, or letting someone you live with hide it from you until the morning. It’s also wise to tell your friends and followers that you’ve decided to set phone guidelines for better sleep; you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the support you receive and the number of people who share your sleep struggles.
If two hours away from your devices is impossible, heed the advice of CannaMom and Education & Wellness Manager Barb Van Hoosen: “You don’t have to have a perfect bedtime routine to still make a difference, and prepare yourself for good sleep. Not everyone can realistically turn off their phones before bed, even though that is ideal — so as long as you make an effort towards having a consistent bedtime routine, your body will respond positively.”
4. Relax before sleeping
Reading a book, meditating, mild stretching, taking a warm bath, listening to music or a podcast… there are many great activities you can do (that don’t involve staring at a screen!) to calm your body and mind. Sharing your thoughts and feelings before bed, either with yourself or a partner, can also help you clear your brain and relax.
If you’re the kind of person who gets sleepy and relaxed after sex or self-love, that’s perfectly okay too! In addition to the physical release, being intimate with your partner is a great way to connect with your partner (or yourself) and get in a better frame of mind for sleep. Talking to your partner about your difficulties falling asleep can also be relaxing, and even lead to shared solutions.
5. Try guided meditation
Guided meditations, such as guided imagery exercises, are relaxation tactics that can help slow down your mind and prepare it for rest. During guided imagery, you’ll focus on pleasant images, situations, and feelings and explore them in detail until you fall asleep. By imagining yourself in a safe and comfortable space, your body and mind can shut off peacefully.
What you imagine during your guided imagery is up to you. You can picture yourself relaxing on a beach, in a forest, or in another favorite place of yours. However, don’t feel limited to real-life situations — letting your imagination run wild (in a positive way) during your guided imagery can also offer a distraction from your real-life anxieties. Those who find themselves overwhelmed or easily distracted during guided imagery can perform other mind-clearing meditations, such as a body scan or breathing exercises.
The idea of guided meditation is to occupy your mind with as many pleasant, calming thoughts as possible and push all anxious thoughts away until you fall asleep. Experiment with different kinds of relaxation exercises before bed, and see which one works best for you!
6. Restart the relaxation process
Still can’t fall asleep? Don’t get frustrated, but don’t waste time tossing and turning either. Sometimes, your brain needs a little reboot before it can shut down for good.
If your mind is still racing after some time in bed, get out of bed and restart your bedtime routine. It’s best to go to a different part of your home, so you can return to your bedroom when you’re ready to fall asleep again. Although you may feel tempted, try to avoid screen time or catching up on work — these activities can stimulate your mind and even stress you out further.
If your tried-and-true relaxation methods aren’t working, try journaling! Journaling is a great way to work through your challenges, understand how they make you feel, and empty your mind onto a piece of paper. As you write, you may even develop a plan that helps you feel better about the new day ahead and more amenable to sleep.
Fall Asleep Naturally with Rev
We hope you find some of these natural sleep ideas helpful! Along with following these soporific habits and creating a sleep schedule, you can turn to cannabis for a better night’s sleep.
Schedule a virtual consultation with one of our patient advocates for more advice, and to learn if medical cannabis is a good option for your restless nights. And if you’re already an MMJ card-carrying Rev patient, Rev can deliver marijuana and provide in-store pickup at our dispensaries in the Boston area through our online menu.
Did we miss any sleep-inducing tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments!