7 SCIENCE-BACKED Sleep Hacks To Help You Feel Well-Rested!
If you suffer from insomnia or any kind of sleep issues… you are not alone! Studies from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have shown that almost half of the US population claims to have trouble falling or staying asleep, and around 9 million people surveyed by the NCHS admitted to relying on prescription medication to be able to get some shuteye! Sleeping pills come with a very long list of potential side effects and often stop working once you stop taking them, as they are not actually targeting the problem, but only providing a temporary solution.
The overwhelming majority of people have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Waking up totally refreshed and ready for the day also relies on the quality of your sleep, not just the quantity, so even if you did somehow manage to squeeze in the recommended eight hours of snooze, would it be a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep?
We got down to the nitty-gritty of dozing off, and came up with some easy-to-follow, science-backed sleep hacks, to help you establish a healthy sleeping pattern, and reap the benefits of an effective snooze:
1. No more blue light
The #1 factor for ruined sleep is the constant use of electronics before bed. Too much blue light (just like the one emitted by your phone, tablet or laptop, or even from other LED light sources) is bound to irregulate your brain’s melatonin production (aka the snooze hormone), and therefore wreck your sleeping pattern.
You can protect yourself from blue light (also dubbed ‘junk light’ by the experts) by unplugging unnecessary electronics in your bedroom, avoid using your phone or tablet at least two hours before bed (or at least setting them to ‘Night Mode’ if you just can’t let them go), or even wearing blue light blocking glasses (especially if you work at your computer until late at night).
2. Meditation is your friend
Do you ever find yourself all tucked into bed, ready for sleep, but your thoughts won’t stop racing through your mind? Wondering whether you forgot something at work, what you are going to eat tomorrow, or thinking about your shopping list… If any of it sounds familiar, it might mean that your sleep is heavily impaired by stress.
Have you tried meditation? Science has shown that meditating makes you more aware of your thoughts and helps you control impulsiveness, thus significantly lowering your stress levels. Meditating for even five minutes a day can be very beneficial to your overall well-being, and might even help you feel more rested in the long run!
3. Make use of sleep aids
There are ways to track your sleep quality - and no, we don’t mean asking your loved one to stay up all night and count how many times you twisted and turned! High-tech sleep monitoring devices are the new trend in wellness gadgets, and some of them are easily accessible no matter your budget. To begin with, try installing an app on your smartphone that tracks your sleeping pattern, or plays soothing sounds to help you doze off easier. There are also higher-end options, such as electronic headbands that you wear to bed, which work by increasing the number of slow brain waves and providing you with deeper, healthier sleep.
Trying to cut down on electronics? Why not go the natural way by introducing an organic sleep aid into your routine. Our Dream Lotion is a dreamy moisturizer, scientifically formulated to help you fall asleep quicker. It uses ethically sourced, plant-based ingredients known for their sleep-promoting qualities (such as lavender and bergamot), while also improving hydration in your skin, leaving it smooth and glowy. Apply the lotion shortly before bedtime, and allow it to work its magic, making you feel relaxed and ready to sleep!
4. Follow your spirit animal
Are you an early bird, or more of a night owl? This inclination is determined by your natural circadian rhythm (aka your internal body clock), and following its pattern can help you sleep better, and feel well-rested and more productive the next day. Sleep experts have classified them into four different sleep chronotypes, so try to identify yourself with one of them, and follow the respective advice:
Bear: the most common type of circadian rhythm. Bear types like to follow the sun, falling asleep rather easily in the evening. These types tend to get sleepy around lunch, so try to recharge with a nap or a coffee in the mid-afternoon;
Lion: these people love to wake up early and power through a busy morning! Our tip? Try going to bed early to maintain this rhythm - long nights are not your cup of tea;
Wolf: aka the midnight owl. This type gets their energy late in the evening, so avoid tossing and turning in bed by setting a later bedtime. Your most productive hours are between 12-2pm, and around 5 pm, so try to get most of your workload done around then for best results;
Dolphin: if you struggle to fall asleep and have the tendency of waking up frequently during the night, this applies to you. Schedule your work between mid-morning and early afternoon, as you are at your most active during those times.
5. Switch up your sleeping side
You’ve probably never realized that the way you lay in bed is likely to affect the quality of your sleep. In fact, your sleeping position can affect digestion, pain, mobility, and even your brain! Sleeping on your back can be beneficial for keeping your spine and neck in mutual alignment, or distributing pressure evenly across your body, but it does come with the risk of muscle tightness, and decreased airflow (leading to snoring or sleep apnea).
Side sleeping does come with its faults (such as potential alignment issues, or heartburn for those sleeping on your right side), but the benefits outshine the downsides. Sleeping on your left side, as well as adding a second pillow for neck support, are both effective methods to make this sleeping position the perfect choice.
However, we can firmly say that sleeping on your stomach is not beneficial at all, contorting your spine and leaving you with neck or back pain in the morning. Sorry, tummy sleepers!
6. Watch your diet
What you eat is known to affect your body, and that includes your sleep! Fun fact: your brain is actually the fattiest organ in your body, so nourishing it with high-quality fats (such grass-fed butter or wild-caught fish) will help it do its job, and repair itself while you sleep.
Your blood sugar and hunger impulses can also be regulated by a healthy, fat-filled diet, meaning that you might be less likely to find yourself going for a midnight snack. A poor diet, with lots of junk food, is only going to make your sleep worse.
7. Supplement your sleep
As mentioned before, prescription sleeping pills are a short term answer to a long term problem, and will only make you dependent on them. However, there are more natural ways to self-medicate, including FDA approved health supplements. Below are some natural, healthy alternatives to medication:
Activated charcoal: flushing toxins out of your body is the first step to a cleaner diet, and there is no better help for this than an activated charcoal supplement, speeding up the detox process and removing toxins before they reach your brain;
Vitamin D: poor quality sleep is directly linked to a lack of vitamin D. More than half the world population is deficient in this, so there may be a chance that you need to up your intake either with supplements or by spending more time in the sun;
Fish oil: sardines, kri, l and salmon are all chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to boost your brain activity and even help you fall asleep faster. In order to improve the quality of your sleep, we recommend either putting more fish in your plate, or grabbing a bottle of fish oil (or omega-3) supplements;
Magnesium: if you want to lower your stress level and regulate your melatonin production, then magnesium is the one for you. Magnesium is known for making you snooze faster and providing a deeper sleep, so add this supplement to your daily routine in order to experience its benefits.
Good sleep is a crucial pillar of high performance, so if you want to live a happier, more productive life, improving the quality of your sleep is the first step towards this goal. Remember to focus on getting both the required amount of shut eye without going overboard, as well as making sure that your snooze is a high-quality time for your body to recover from the day. Don’t be afraid to make use of external aids, such as tech devices, sleeping lotions, or healthy supplements - we all need a bit of help sometimes, and the sooner you introduce these helpful tips into your daily life, the better your sleep will be!
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