A lack of sleep can really take its toll on your body and mind. If you find yourself yawning, fatigued, low energy, struggling with memory, weight gain, irritability, and depression, chances are you are not getting enough sleep at night. All of these things can add up together and cause for some serious life troubles. For example, research shows when sleep deprived, the amygdala, an area in the brain that controls our emotions is 60% more active when shown negative images.

Our lives are overly stimulated due to our constant connect to the world. We have several devices on at all times. How can our brains turn of at night if there is a continuous flow of information being downloaded into our brain.  It takes at least 2 hours to wind down after a busy day. Most of us sleep next to our phones laptops on cozily resting on our leg and TV on. Next thing we know its midnight and we are still wound up from getting caught up on the latest Kim and Kanye gossip.

The average adult needs about 7-9 hours of sleep every night. So if you are feeling tired, forgetful, or irritable. What can you do improve your sleep, so can have a more enjoyable life? For one, you can start by putting away any electronics that keep you up at night. You also want to make sure that your going to bed and waking up at the same time. Setting a routine time helps the body rejuvenate, sitting on the couch is not necessarily resting. Your brain is still working, thinking and maybe even stressing. It might take awhile to get used to this pattern however, with a little patience, you will be sure to see results.

If you are someone who is really struggling to fall asleep at at night and get in those 7-9 solid hours to sleep, there are other methods to try. Taking a a warm bath, listening to calming music or using breathing techniques, the use of aromatherapy and meditation can be very beneficial when trying to calm down at night. Breathing deeply and slowly through the nose will draw your focus inward and have almost immediate calming affect on the mind and body. Using visual techniques like imagining floating in the water can have the same calming effect and take your busy mind off thoughts that are keeping you awake.

Exercises is also important for supporting better sleep patterns. And for more convoluted ways then you would think. As little as 10 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise is needed to improve quality and duration of sleep.

You can follow this up with a well balanced diet. Avoid sugars and caffeine especially late at night. Sugar increases insulin and when paired with protein with increase energy levels. Caffeine of course is a stimulant. It is in more things than just coffee. Sodas, teas, and chocolate also contain caffeine.

For those night that no matter how hard you try you just can’t fall asleep, stretching is a fantastic way to calm down. Here are a few simple stretches you can do at home to fall asleep