Sleep Better, Live Better
There are many remedies for a full night’s rest, including melatonin supplements, nightly routine changes, and a natural sleep patch fused with calming essential oils. A good night’s sleep can impact your hormones, causing weight gain and brain function.
To combat these effects, taking charge of your sleep health is essential so you can be at the top of your game the following morning. Read on for five steps you can take to sleep better at night.
1. Reduce blue light exposure at night
Exposure to sunlight during day hours is beneficial towards feeling tired at the end of the day. However, technology screens, such as laptops and cell phones, emit what is referred to as blue light. If you constantly look at screens at night, your brain is automatically tricked into thinking of blue light as daylight. As a result, it will be more difficult for your brain to wind down since blue light reduces melatonin, an essential hormone for our natural sleep cycles. Here are a few standard methods to help lessen blue light exposure at night:
- Instead of looking at electronic devices before bed, consider reading a book or taking up a relaxing hobby that doesn’t require screens.
- Purchase blue light filtering glasses for nighttime
- Install an app that blocks blue light on phones. These are available for both iPhone and Android models.
2. Don’t overeat before bed.
Whether you’re eating a late-night meal or a frequent nightly snacker, you’ve probably heard suggestions against eating before bed. Essentially, when you eat late at night, it goes against your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Consuming food at night negatively adjusts insulin activity within the body. The reason why dieticians recommend having a hearty breakfast is that our bodies are more sensitive on purpose. Food is fuel, and humans need these nutrients to keep us going throughout the day. But insulin resistance increases at night. Instead of calories being burned during the day, the extra late-night calories get stored as fat while you sleep. Therefore, eating late at night can also affect metabolism and cause weight gain.
However, if this is a nightly habit, it can be hard to break or go cold turkey. Here are some healthy, protein-packed options to satisfy those late-night cravings:
- Vegetables and hummus
- An apple with peanut butter
- Small pieces of dark chocolate
- Greek yogurt
3. Consider using a natural sleep patch or melatonin supplements.
If you’re still having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep during the night, there are many natural sleep remedies to consider. For instance, our sense of smell can be a powerful motivator towards falling asleep faster. Essential oils, such as lavender, mandarin, and marjoram, are just a few that can aid in better sleep. In fact, sleep patches can stick to your pajamas or pillow that can diffuse these calming smells as you drift to sleep. In addition, by triggering smell receptors in the nose, messages are sent from the nervous system to the limbic system, which controls behavior and emotions.
Another popular natural remedy for sleep troubles is melatonin supplements. This hormone controls our sleep cycle and is produced naturally by our brains. You can buy melatonin supplements in most grocery stores or over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.
4. Try to sleep and wake at the same time every day.
Our sleep cycles depend on our circadian rhythms—the natural process of physical, mental, and behavioral changes that the body goes through in a 24-hour cycle. This set loop aligns with sunrise and sunset, which is why we should feel more awake during the day and sleepier in the evening.
For long-term sleep health, it’s recommended to have consistency between when you go to bed and when you wake up. Irregular sleeping patterns can wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm, so it’s better to have a regular sleep schedule, especially on the weekends. After a few weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
5. Optimize your sleeping environment
Your bedroom environment, routine, and setup can majorly affect how well your sleep cycle progresses. Factors include:
- Noise level
- Internal and external lights
- Furniture arrangement
Ensure your bedroom environment is optimized for sleep, minimize noise, lessen light exposure, and set your room to a comfortable temperature. Your bedroom should be an enjoyable and restful place to get a good night’s sleep.