No joke, when I was in college I remember staying up through the night with insomnia. On the nights I wasn’t up partying until the wee hours of the morning my body wasn’t understanding that I wanted to go to sleep around 9-10pm and I would experience that insomnia. Insomnia can not only lead to day sleepiness which was the case for me, it can cause other issues like anxiety, mood swings and even depression. I just called myself a night owl and went with it. I should not have, I am sure that caused me unnecessary issues in college. Messing with your body’s natural body chemistries when it comes to sleep cycles can be detrimental to your health. I assume you all know that and that’s why you’re here… searching for things you can do to fix your sleep cycle and get back into a healthy sleep routine. Here are the things that I’ve started implementing into my routine that have really made a difference in my sleep cycles. Of course, as a mom of a nursing baby I know I never fully sleep the way I should but “one day” I am sure that I will.
- daily sun exposure – 15 minutes of sun exposure a day can help you sleep better, try enjoying your lunch or reading a book outside. With the weather as beautiful has it has been, I love sitting outside for a little while. If it’s already super hot where you are, go in the morning or late afternoon.
- no caffeine after 12pm – caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours so if you’ve been reaching for that cup in the afternoons, it’s time to change your schedule for coffee time. I try and drink my one cup of coffee first thing in the am so I don’t fall into the afternoon slump with caffeine.
- no food three hours before bed – your body needs to be able to digest food earlier to help you sleep well. I’ve heard so many things about intermittent fasting and how it is helpful for your body, one of the things that I really love about that I.F. is they suggest not eating after a certain time. Try it and see for yourself how much easier you can fall asleep.
- calming evening activities – doing things like reading a book, taking a bath or going for a walk will really help relax your body before you go to sleep. Try to do more active things earlier in the day to help your body start the natural calming down process before bed.
- no electronics 1-2 hours before bed – invest in blue light blocking glasses or switch your screen to amber or black when you’re on your electronics. I’ve also seen a dramatic difference in sleep quality when we stop using electronics a few hours before bed. Our brain and our eyes need time to stop hyper focusing and start winding down. By allowing this process to occur naturally it really does help you fall asleep faster and to get into a deeper sleep verses the blue light interfering with melatonin production naturally that happens every night.
- mouth taping – sounds weird but breathing through your nose helps increase nitric oxide production in the sinuses which helps improve sleep. You can actually buy mouth tape on amazon or you can use what you have at home. This is a huge help for people that snore to be able to get into deeper sleep and have higher quality.
- wifi and power off – keep devices at least 3 feet away from bed and turn them on airplane mode or unplug them at night. I never knew that your wifi had a large impact on your health due to the Electromagnetic fields (EMFs), also called radio frequency, that comes off of them. With WIFI being a major hot spot for EMFs in our home, turning it off can help your sleep quality rise by more than half.
- cool room/white noise – The cool room helps you fall asleep more quickly and gets you into a deep sleep so you can cycle through the important sleep stages. White noise works by reducing the difference between background sounds and a “peak” sound, like a door slamming, giving you a better chance to sleep through it undisturbed. The white noise will always serve as a buffer in your home and that’s another reason I strongly recommend it for babies too.
- blackout curtains – When it’s dark, your body knows that it should sleep. Your body is PROGRAMMED to want to sleep when it’s dark and that’s why we invested in blackout curtains. Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that naturally promotes sleep. You can find blackout curtains at any store.
- magnesium – This is something that I drink daily for my anxiety but I’ve found a special “sleep” one for going to bed easier at night. This is the brand that I use and love for day and night uses. I just add in a teaspoon into my cup of water and mix. It tastes a little sour like a candy but it’s not hard to get down.
I hope that you decide to try these little tips and see if it helps make a positive difference in your sleep quality. Please share any tips that you have if you have experienced poor sleep quality and have changed it for the best.