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Optimize Your Sleep with These 15 Strategies

Optimize Your Sleep with These 15 Strategies

We all know that getting enough quality sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. But many people struggle to get a good night's sleep, which can seriously impact their physical and mental health. With that in mind, here are some practical tips to help you improve your sleep and get the rest you need to function at your best.

Keep the temperature cool. 

Your core temperature needs to drop two to three degrees before you fall asleep, so keeping your bedroom cool can make a big difference. The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60-67°F (15-19°C), so turn down the thermostat, use a fan, or open the window if your room is too warm. Interestingly, researchers have found that having a warm bath or shower right before bed can promote better sleep that night as your body cools and promotes the onset of sleep (1). 

Avoid blue light before bed.

Blue light exposure from our many smartphones, tablets, and computers can interfere with your sleep by suppressing your body's natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. (2) To reduce blue light exposure, limit your use of electronic devices before bed, use blue light-blocking glasses, and use your phone or computer setting that adjusts your screen color to warmer tones and lower brightness in the evening. 

Get some morning sunlight.

Good sleep starts early. You can start every morning by setting your body's natural circadian rhythm by getting early exposure to natural light (3). Try to get a minimum of 10 minutes of sunlight (at least 30 minutes on overcast days) within 60 minutes of waking up. A brisk morning walk will tell your body it's time to wake up, kicking that natural rhythm into motion.

Skip the late-night snacks.

It can be tempting to grab a late-night snack before bed. Still, research shows that eating or drinking too much before bedtime can negatively impact sleep (4). It's best to avoid having anything to eat at least two hours before bedtime. If you're feeling the hunger pangs before bed and absolutely need to eat something, keep it to a light snack like a banana, a handful of nuts, or a glass of warm milk.

Exercise at the right time.

We know regular exercise can promote good quality sleep (5), but try avoiding exercising too close to bedtime. If you exercise too close to bedtime, your body temperature might increase. You could feel all revved up from the endorphins, making it a real struggle to hit the hay. Aim to finish your workout at least two to three hours before bedtime to give your body time to relax. 

Find a moment of zen.

Finding ways to calm yourself before bed is a great way to help your body and mind prepare for sleep. Studies have shown that listening to calming music (6) and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or light yoga can help you relax and fall asleep faster. Find a moment every night to center yourself before your head hits the pillow. 

Keep to a routine.

A consistent bedtime routine can signal to your body that it's time to sleep and help you get better sleep overall (7). Even a regular daily schedule will help come night-time (8). Try to establish regular sleep and wake times, even on weekends, and follow the same relaxing bedtime routine each night. 

Limit daily naps.

Taking a quick snooze can boost various aspects of performance, such as reaction time, logical reasoning, and symbol recognition, even for those who are already well-rested (9). However, avoid napping after 3 p.m., as it can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Limiting naps to 20-30 minutes is also best, or you risk feeling groggy and disrupting your sleep schedule.

Coffee and caffeine intake.

If you're a coffee lover, you might not want to hear this, but drinking too much caffeine can really mess with your sleep. That's because caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and can keep you wired, making it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep (10). And, while we're on the subject, it's also a good idea to avoid other sources of caffeine, like energy drinks and chocolate, before bed. But, if you can't give up your coffee fix, try to limit your consumption and enjoy it earlier in the day.

Try Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR).

NSDR is a relaxation technique that helps you get into a restorative state while your mind is still awake. It has two simple steps: first, relax, and then, focus intensely on one thing, like an image or sound. It's especially useful if you have difficulty slowing down at bedtime or get anxious (11). There are tons of guided NSDR meditations online, or you can create your own routine with your favorite calming image or sound.

Ditch the late-night drinks.

Alcohol might make you pass out quickly, but it's not doing you any favors for your sleep quality. It might help at the moment, but it's not a real solution. Booze can totally mess up your sleep, leaving you feeling groggy and unfocused the next day. Plus, it can lead to middle-of-the-night wakeups and a seriously disrupted sleep pattern (blocks REM sleep) (12). If you want high-quality sleep, go easy on the drinks, especially before bed.

Use your bed appropriately. 

Ideally, you're only using your bed for sleep and rest (okay, and one other thing...) Spending time awake in bed while watching TV, answering emails, or gaming can make it harder to fall asleep when you want to (13). If you are awake in bed for longer than 20 minutes, it is best to get up, leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again. Associating your bed with sleep and only sleep will go a long way in improving your sleep patterns. 

Create a perfect environment.

Your bed, mattress, pillows, and bedding are all important parts of the sleep equation, so you'll want to ensure they're comfy and supportive. Treat yourself to some high-quality bedding and a mattress that suits your preferences. Make sure your pillow cradles your neck and aligns your spine, too (14). As for your sheets, go for fabrics that feel great on your skin and keep you from overheating. 

Sleep in darkness and avoid noise.

Getting a good sleep starts with creating the right conditions in your bedroom. Make sure it's pitch black and silent so you can doze off in peace. Light (15) and noise (16) can mess with your body's natural sleep rhythm, so keep them at bay with some earplugs or a white noise machine.

Take the right supplements.

Supplements can provide significant benefits for your sleep routine when used correctly. Our Sleep Pack, containing Magnesium L-Threonate, Apigenin, and L-Theanine, offers a unique effect that will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up refreshed. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements to ensure they are safe for you and will not interact with any medications you take.

Hopefully, these tips and strategies have given you some ideas to improve your sleep and get a good night's rest. Remember, good sleep is the foundation of your health and well-being, so don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you. Sweet dreams!

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(1) Horne, J. A., & Reid, A. J. (1985). Night-time sleep EEG changes following body heating in a warm bath. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 60(2), 154–157.

(2) Lockley, S. W., Brainard, G. C., & Czeisler, C. A. (2003). High sensitivity of the human circadian melatonin rhythm to resetting by short wavelength light. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 88(9), 4502–4505.

(3) Figueiro, M. G., Steverson, B., Heerwagen, J., Kampschroer, K., Hunter, C. M., Gonzales, K., Plitnick, B., & Rea, M. S. (2017). The impact of daytime light exposures on sleep and mood in office workers. Sleep Health, 3(3), 204–215.

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(7) Manber, R., Bootzin, R. R., Acebo, C., & Carskadon, M. A. (1996). The effects of regularizing sleep-wake schedules on daytime sleepiness. Sleep, 19(5), 432–441.

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(9) Milner, C. E., & Cote, K. A. (2009). Benefits of napping in healthy adults: impact of nap length, time of day, age, and experience with napping. Journal of Sleep Research, 18(2), 272–281.

(10) Clark, I., & Landolt, H. P. (2017). Coffee, caffeine, and sleep: A systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 31, 70–78. 

(11) Staines, A. C., Broomfield, N., Pass, L., Orchard, F., & Bridges, J. (2022). Do non-pharmacological sleep interventions affect anxiety symptoms? A meta-analysis. Journal of Sleep Research, 31(1), e13451.

(12) Ebrahim, I. O., Shapiro, C. M., Williams, A. J., & Fenwick, P. B. (2013). Alcohol and sleep I: effects on normal sleep. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 37(4), 539–549.

(13) Lastella, M., Rigney, G., Browne, M., & Sargent, C. (2020). Electronic device use in bed reduces sleep duration and quality in adults. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 18(2), 121–129.

(14) Chun-Yiu, J. P., Man-Ha, S. T., & Chak-Lun, A. F. (2021). The effects of pillow designs on neck pain, waking symptoms, neck disability, sleep quality and spinal alignment in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 85(105353), 105353.

(15) Cho, J. R., Joo, E. Y., Koo, D. L., & Hong, S. B. (2013). Let there be no light: the effect of bedside light on sleep quality and background electroencephalographic rhythms. Sleep Medicine, 14(12), 1422–1425.

(16) Omlin, S., Bauer, G. F., & Brink, M. (2011). Effects of noise from non-traffic-related ambient sources on sleep: review of the literature of 1990-2010. Noise & Health, 13(53), 299–309.