I bet you did not know you could use your five senses to turn your bedroom into a soothing, comfortable environment for sounder sleep. This is surprising observation from sleep scientists, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

If you sleep well, there are some significant benefits such as; you are more likely to be slimmer, healthier and less stressed than poor sleepers. You are also likely to have longevity and have lower levels of an inflammatory marker linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis called C-reactive protein.  Another benefit to sleeping well is it also reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as, helps to ward off depression and even reduces the risk for car crashes.

If you are like most, you are probably not getting enough sleep to gain its health rewards.  According to a survey by Consumer Reports, of 26,451 respondents over half of the them had trouble staying asleep, and one in three woke three or more times per night to worry about the stresses of life such as work, health problems and money. To help take advantage of these sleep benefits, here are some natural ways to utilize your five senses in order to sleep well.

Make Your Bed For A Better Night's Sleep

This simple morning chore can make a surprising difference in the quality of your sleep.  A neatly made bed is more inviting for sleep and allows you to sleep without having to fight with twisted covers or sleeping on a fitted sheet that needs to be adjusted.

Switch To A Memory Foam Bed

An overwhelming amount of respondents to the Consumer Reports survey said they got a much better night sleep on a memory foam mattress as opposed to a traditional innerspring mattress. It is time to replace your sleep surface if you are waking tired or achy or if your current mattress is saggy or lumpy or is 5 to 7 years old.

Pick A Perfect Pillow

If your current pillow is two or more years old, it is time to replace it.  Old pillows cannot give you the support to prevent head and body aches, as well as shoulder and arm numbness. The perfect pillow is firm enough to keep your head and neck in alignment with your spine, as they are when you are standing.

Reset Your Body Clock

If you are night owl, then chances are you are not getting enough sleep.  To reset your body clock, start setting your alarm clock to 6 a.m. and force yourself to get up and go out in the sunlight, or at least sit by a sunny window.  This tactic should help your body suppress production of the sleep hormone melatonin during the day and release it earlier in the evening so it will be easier to fall asleep sooner rather than later and transform yourself into an early bird.   

The Consumer Report survey had also found that those with a consistent bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends, slept the best. Also, it is not recommended to sleep late on the weekends since it does create a form of jet lag and contributes to fatigue during the week.

Scent Your Pillow With Lavender

Apply just a few drops of this fragrance on a handkerchief and tuck it into your pillowcase.  Lavender is credited with being a natural remedy for anxiety, insomnia, depression and fatigue. Inhaling the scent provides a calming, soothing and sedative effect.

Take A Relaxing Bath

Soaking in a warm bath will relax tired muscles and lower the body temperature, this creates a natural signal to your brain and body that it is time to sleep.  Also, add a few drops of lavender oil to work its magic in the tub as well!

Exercise Later In The Day

According to research, exercising in the early evening between 5 to 7 pm will help make you tired and contribute to a sound sleep.  It will also help you to relax and unwind.  However, be sure to avoid exercise two to three hours before bedtime, since this will have the opposite effect on you.

Dine By Candlelight

Take advantage of your body's natural tendency to prepare for sleep when daylight begins to decline.  By dimming the lights, turning off the computer and the television it will help to stimulate you when you need to calm down.

Eat A Banana

Some call the banana a sleeping pill in a peal because it is loaded with acid tryptophan that is needed for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a tranquilizing effect.  Other foods that set this process in motion are dairy products, peanut butter, tofu, and turkey.