Lately, it can feel like a good night’s sleep is the Holy Grail. You search and search, but it’s always outside your reach.
We talk a lot about habits and triggers that interfere with the quality of our sleep, like caffeine, blue light from screens, and stress. But what about the things that help us settle in for a long, healthy snooze?
What sleep hacks tend to work for everyone, but more importantly, how can we take advantage of them tonight?
1. Set the Stage
Your environment has an enormous impact on how well you sleep. Light, temperature, colour, and sound are all integral to creating a space where your mind and body can truly rest.
Keep it dark, but more than just turning off the lights and shutting out that glaring sliver of light from the hall. Creating an adequately dark bedroom also includes hiding the light from any digital clocks and devices, and also blocking outside light intrusion from headlights, signs, and street lights.
Keep it cool. Research shows a temperature between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius is the ideal window for a peaceful sleep. Why is this so important? Our Circadian rhythms (our body’s sleep/wake cycle) are closely connected to temperature. The evening is the time when our bodies begin to cool down, reaching their coolest temperature around 5 a.m. Cooling your environment helps your body follow suit.
Keep it quiet. Sirens, partying neighbors, and car alarms are going to disrupt your rest. A quiet room with sound buffering materials, like thick rugs and curtains, can work wonders. Consider a soothing white noise machine or app. If you have a sleep partner who snores, good earplugs are a lifesaver.
Finally, keep your room calm. It’s best to use the bedroom only for sleep and sex — locating the exercise bike, TV, and workspace somewhere separate. Oh, and it also helps to choose colours you find calming.
2. Free Your Mind
When it’s 2 a.m. and you’re wide awake, staring at the ceiling and reliving the day’s stress or anticipating tomorrow’s challenges, it’s possible that your thoughts begin to feel like the enemy.
It’s important to have a calm mind to rest well. Consider visualization exercises, meditation or quiet music to steer your mind away from worries and toward calm.
Journaling is a great channel for jettisoning all those stressful thoughts. Getting worries on the page redirects the mind, while writing about hopes and goals lets your mind drift to soothing, positive topics.
Avoid the news and social media before bed. Not only does it give you a break from sleep-damaging blue light, it also gives your mind time to stop solving the world’s problems.
Stop worrying about getting to sleep. Anxiety about getting to sleep keeps you from getting to sleep, which then makes you anxious about getting to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.
If you really can’t sleep and your mind is racing, get out of bed and do something relaxing for half an hour or so. Lying in bed awake trains your brain and body to … lie in bed awake.
3. Prep Your Body
Our bodies are incredibly efficient and intelligent machines. We store trauma and stress in our nervous systems, our tissues and our muscles. How we treat our bodies before bed dictates how healthily they will rest.
Avoid caffeine and stimulants before bed. You probably know the latest possible time in the day you can put the kettle on without it keeping you up. Take note of these messages your body sends you, and honor them.
Don’t eat a heavy meal before bed. When your body rests, that means your digestive system rests. It can’t process protein and fat while you’re sleeping, and anything too spicy is likely to trigger acid reflux once you’re lying down.
Exercise is great for sleep … just not right before bed. A light-to-moderate workout will help your body rest and recharge, but it should be at least 90 minutes before bedtime. Any sooner and your body temperature and endorphin levels will make sleep difficult to achieve.
4. Sound Advice
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of keeping your bedroom quiet to create a calm atmosphere. And, while it’s crucial to cut out jarring, intrusive noise, it can be incredibly beneficial to listen to something soothing.
We all know someone who sleeps best with a fan blowing on them, and it’s often as much for the sound as the moving air. White noise apps and machines offer a host of soothing, sleep-friendly background sounds from rain to static to the ocean. They’re especially handy when you’re sleeping in a new environment, like a hotel room or someone’s guest room.
A number of studies have shown that listening to calming music helps people drift into peaceful sleep. As we fall asleep, our heart rate slows. A fit person’s heart can slow to 50–60 beats per minute during sleep. Studies find that music playing at 60 beats per minute helps the mind and body get in sync.
Guided meditation is also effective for getting to sleep. Popular sleep apps boast a wealth of calming meditations, including body scans, mindfulness, and simple relaxation.
5. Supplement Your Routine
Finally, consider adding a calming supplement to your bedtime regime. From teas to capsules to aromatherapy, there is a natural and time-tested approach that will fit your needs.
Bedtime teas, containing chamomile, valerian, passion flower, and other calming herbs, are incredibly popular, and the coziness of enjoying a hot cup of tea contributes to the relaxing experience.
Many troubled sleepers find CBD to be a helpful natural supplement. CBD interacts with receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems for a number of therapeutic effects.
A supplement like our CBD Gummies for Sleep combines CBD with chamomile and passion flower for maximum effect.
Aromatherapy is a bedtime routine addition that makes the most of the power of essential oils. Lavender, ylang ylang, chamomile, and sandalwood oils are just a few of the oils that sleepers find calming.
The pace and stress of modern life can make sleep elusive. Our minds whirl, our bodies are tense, our time is precious. Try just a few of these handy hacks and carve out a little space for healthy, healing, regenerative rest.
Try adding some of our relaxing nighttime supplements to your bedtime routine.