11 Tips For A Great Night Sleep
In an age of constant distractions, anxieties and FOMO it can be so hard to score a good night sleep. Many people suffer from insomnia, whether it be stress-induced or medically diagnosed. Although I don't necessarily believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution to the issue, through trial (and much error) and research, I have come to the conclusion that the following tips help tremendously.
11 Tips For A Great Night Sleep
Create a sleep schedule and stick to it
Include physical activity into your daily routine
Refrain from caffeine late in the day
Don't eat or drink anything (besides water or tea) within 2-3 hours of going to bed
Intentionally make your bedroom (or bed if you're pressed for space) a place for sleep - nothing else
Minimize your blue light intake within an hour of going to bed
A cool environment is ideal for sleep (give or take 65 degrees F)
Use a natural sleep aid like Melatonin, CBD or CBN
Read before bed
Let's break it down...
1. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it
We are creatures of habit - we thrive off of routine. Creating and consistently maintaining a sleep schedule will help your internal clock to adjust, in turn, helping you not only to begin to sleep better, but also have an easier time getting up in the morning.
2. Include physical activity into your daily routine
It's no secret that maintaining an active lifestyle is one of the most important ways to stay healthy. It is also a key factor in having a good night sleep. Why? Being active during the day (even something as small as going to a walk) increases your sleep drive:
Daylight exposure sets your body's clock
Exercise relieves stress and anxiety
Exercise tires you out
3. Refrain from caffeine late in the day
Personally, my definition of "late," based on my sleep schedule, is 2pm. I love me a nice cup of coffee (or 2) in the morning/early afternoon. There are, however, some negative effects of caffeine on sleep that any enthusiast should be aware of. As a stimulant, it can impede your ability to fall asleep. There was also a study that found that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock. It's probably best we stick to having our caffeine in the morning.
4. Don't eat or drink anything (besides water or tea) within 2-3 hours of going to bed
It can be difficult to say no to the seductive "late-night-snack" when the craving comes, but experts would warn against giving in. Ideally, you shouldn't eat anything 2-3 hours before going to bed. This allows for your body to digest the food in order to prevent an upset stomach, indigestion, acid reflux, etc. It will also help you to stay asleep once you fall asleep.
5. Intentionally make your bedroom (or bed if you're pressed for space) a place for sleep - nothing else
This plays right into the habit piece I mentioned earlier. When you have a space that you use for multiple things (for example, when I was living in an apartment back in college with roommates, I would eat, sleep, study, work, play music, hangout and everything else in my room), it can be hard for your brain to distinguish what parts to "turn off" and what to focus on. When I lived in that apartment, I had a very difficult time falling asleep. My mind would race and think about everything I needed to do, creative ideas I had, and so many other things. Once I designated my bed as a place just for sleeping, I noticed that my mind became so much more attuned to falling asleep - that's the place for it.
6. Minimize your blue light intake within an hour of going to bed
Exposure to light throughout the day is incredibly beneficial for your body as it helps to set your internal clock. Once your body notices that the light changes and outside becomes dark, it should naturally begin to prepare you for sleep. Part of this process is releasing a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy. The issue with blue light (smartphones, computer screens, TVs, LEDs, fluorescent lighting, etc) is that is blocks your body's ability to release the melatonin. This in turn leads to a negative feedback loop of endless scrolling in bed until 2am.
7. A cool environment is ideal for sleep (give or take 65 degrees F)
Our body temperatures naturally drop slightly when we sleep. The ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees F (give or take). When it's too hot, you are more likely to toss and turn which disrupts your sleeping patterns.
Journaling (with paper and a pen/pencil) can be a great way to clear your mind before bed. Not only does it help to minimize stress and anxiety, it also helps to sharpen your writing and handwriting abilities.
Meditation and/or prayer is a great way to center yourself. It helps you to become more present, let go of any worries or stresses you are feeling and reprioritize. Practicing gratitude during this time can also help to improve your mood, in turn making you more relaxed and increasing your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
10. Use a natural sleep aid like Melatonin, CBD or CBN
Natural sleep aids, like melatonin, CBD and CBN, can help you sleep. In my experience, melatonin only helps you to fall asleep whereas CBD/CBN help to relax you and help you to stay asleep. I'm all about first seeking natural solutions to problems, but of course, talk to your doctor first about a solution that would be best for you.
11. Read before bed
Reading before bed has a similar effect as journaling. I've also personally found that if I read before bed, it makes me tired and more eager to fall asleep once I shut off the light.
PRO TIP: If you're studying for a test, make studying the last thing you do before bed. You will process the information more fully and remember it more completely. The trick though is that you cannot even so much as look at your phone or another book or anything else - studying has to be the last thing before you fall asleep. (This worked wonders for me in music history IYKYK)
I hope these tips help! As always, let me know what you think in the comments and join the conversation over on Instagram!
Sending love always,