Sleep is so important for rest, recharging, and recovery. We’re those people who thrive on at least 8 hours of sleep. Thankfully, there are lots of small things to improve sleep hygiene and get a better night’s sleep. There’s nothing wrong with medical routes like medication, but if you prefer trying a more natural route first, check out these tips. Here’s what we do to relax and get wind down for a good night’s sleep.
Cut the caffeine
We love our coffee, but there you can have too much of a good thing. We find that if we drink too much or drink it too late in the day, it prevents us from falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest. Herbal and decaffeinated beverages are the better way to go if you’re having difficulty sleeping. Chamomile and peppermint tea are good options, or even just a hot cup of water with honey and/or lemon works well for replacing the extra cups of coffee.
Warm shower or bath
I love having a bath to relax. It’s a great way to unwind and chill out. There is something called the “warm bath effect” and researchers theorize that warm water stimulates blood flow to the hands and feet, which allows body heat to escape more quickly. This would consequently cool the body and can help prepare you for sleep. If anything, it also is a good opportunity to just relax and unwind from the day. To kick it up a notch, you can add some Epsom salts to relax your muscles.
Reduce light levels
We prefer to sleep in complete darkness, so this is an important one. Whether it’s natural or artificial light, it has the power to disrupt your sleep cycle. Once I learned about how much light can affect sleep (I saw a study once about how a light source as small as a pencil eraser can affect the quality of sleep), I made sure to cover any electronics in the bedroom that can emit light. I’ve blacked out lights from diffusers and other objects to make sure the room is as dark as possible. I’ve been a fan of blackout curtains and blinds for a long time, and suggest these to everyone. If you’re not able to do anything about your windows, a sleep mask works great.
We’ve been into guided meditation for years now, and like to use the Peloton app. It always seems easier to get the body into a relaxed state, but the mind can be more difficult. Working through a “sleep” or “calming” meditation always helps us to practice mindfulness and relax our minds for bed.
Minimise screen time
Another way to get a better night’s sleep is to reduce our light exposure before bed. Some people swear it’s blue light, as it suppresses melatonin production (a hormone that helps control our sleep cycle) so that we don’t feel tired when we naturally should. Regardless, I think staring at screens before bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Avoiding screens before bed is always a challenging habit to maintain. If that’s not possible, turn down the brightness or enable night/dark mode (when possible), to help create a darker environment.
Cool room and appropriate duvet
As nighttime approaches, our body temperature naturally drops, signaling that it’s time to slow down and get some rest. By keeping your bedroom cooler, it’s reinforcing your body’s natural instinct to sleep. We also like to sleep with something covering us that doesn’t make it too hot through the night.
Do you have any other tips for getting a better night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments.