Did you know that your body is actually quite busy when it sleeps? It’s true! Essentially, this recharging period helps memories form, hormones balance, and your immune system strengthen. Without good sleep, you may feel forgetful, moody, or ill.
If this sounds familiar to you, don’t worry! We’ve tailored this self-care guide for people like you who just need a good night’s sleep. Notably, these tips work best when they become routine. If necessary, start slow and add new healthy habits as you go.
The Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, with high-quality, deep sleep the ideal. Unfortunately, many adults forgo their sleep health in lieu of work, recreation, or excessive stress. However, excessive sleepiness can actually make these things harder to manage. For example, you may lose productivity at work, find activities less enjoyable, or have difficulty dealing with stress. Unfortunately, this vicious cycle will likely repeat itself into a downward spiral until you do something to pull yourself out of the loop. Use these tips to help.
Adhering to a regular sleep schedule helps train your body to sleep and wake at the appropriate times. The trick, of course, is to maintain your sleep schedule throughout the entire week (even on weekends) by catering to and adjusting your body’s own circadian rhythm, or internal clock.
The sun does wonders for your sleep health, especially that early morning sun. Essentially, early morning sun exposure triggers your body to stop producing melatonin, a natural sleep hormone. Additionally, your skin can transform energy from the sun into Vitamin D, which can help regulate mood and boost energy.
Numerous studies suggest that regular exercise can speed sleep on-set time and improve sleep quality, though the mechanisms by which it does this are not totally clear. For example, some suggest that exercise reduces daytime sleepiness, which makes it easier to fall asleep at night. Others suggest that exercise reduces weight gain which may interfere with sleep quality. Whatever the reason, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day will certainly help you sleep better at night.
Sleep time is your body’s chance to repair itself from the damage it endured during the day. As such, it’s best not to impede the process by adding metabolic work on top of neurological repair. This is especially true of spicy or fatty foods, which may cause digestive issues as you sleep. Alcohol and other intoxicating substances may also lessen sleep quality, so use those sparingly, as well.
Daytime naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night, to it’s best to minimize them as much as possible. If you feel sleepy during the day, do a few quick jumping jacks or take a walk around the block. If you must nap, set an alarm for 30 minutes and get up when it sounds.
Your brain recognizes habits and will act accordingly. As such, the best way to condition your brain to sleep and wake at regular times is to establish a regular bedtime routine – and stick with it! For example, you might read or journal an hour before bedtime, or practice yoga or other light physical activity. Dropping your thermostat a few degrees can also help.
Our bodies gradually cool as we prepare for bed, and run colder as we burn fewer calories during slumber. In fact, some researchers suggest that our body temperatures drop by two or three degrees during sleep, which helps us maintain sleep duration and quality. Interestingly, we can artificially induce this temperature drop by taking a warm bath right before bed. Exiting the bath will drop your core temperature, thus lulling you into a cozy, cool slumber.
Your body’s sleep/wake cycle, more commonly called its circadian rhythm, is largely ruled by the amount, type, and duration of light it receives throughout the day. Just as an early morning sunbath is good for waking, so is a late night, lights-out policy. That’s because light, especially blue light from phone and computer screens, tricks the brain into thinking it’s still daytime, and thus, not time to shut down. As such, it’s best to avoid screen time for at least two hours before bed if you want to fall asleep easily.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, displays amazing therapeutic potential for many health-related issues, including sleep problems and other discomforts that may hinder sleep quality. For example, CBD may reduce pain to help you sleep more comfortably or minimize stress so you can forget your worries and fall asleep faster. Basically, whatever the cause of your sleep problems, CBD might be a solution.