10 Science-Backed Tips For Sleeping Better At Night
Sleep Better: 10 Tips to help you get more zzzz’s!
Sleep is essential for our physical and emotional well-being. It helps us recover from injuries, regulate our hormones, perform at our best on the field and in the office, and keeps our immune system going strong. And when we don’t get enough sleep, everything gets thrown out of whack. As a Milwaukee chiropractor, I’m constantly reminding my patients of how vital sleep habits are to their overall health.
Here’s an abbreviated list of some of the ways science has shown sleep loss impacts us: it makes us more forgetful, unable to learn new things, more vulnerable to dementia, more likely to die of a heart attack, less able to fend off sickness and more likely to get cancer. A lack of sleep literally makes your body hurt more. Sleep loss even disrupts the creation of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and it leads to premature aging.
Sleep loss is fast becoming one of the greatest health challenges we face in the 21st century. So here’s 10 evidence-based suggestions based on the latest research to improve your quality (and quantity) of sleep. It’s research that you can put to use tonight and wake up better rested tomorrow.
1. Get morning sunlight
How well you sleep at night starts early in the day. Research shows spending time outdoors is essential to normalizing your circadian rhythm, or sleep/wake cycles. Aim for 10-20 minutes of time outside before 9am.
2. Get regular exercise
In addition to all its other benefits, if you exercise regularly, you’ll likely find yourself sleeping better at night. And while exercising at any time of day is better than no exercise, for most people, getting that workout done in the morning is going to be best for sleep.
3. Limit caffeine to early in the day
Everyone has a different tolerance for caffeine. But for the vast majority of people, caffeine’s stimulating effects disrupt sleep cycles and shunt sleep. Based on the half-life of caffeine, a safe rule of thumb is to cut it out after noon.
4. Avoid screens 90 minutes before bedtime
Electronic devices like cell phones and computers are exposing us to tons of extra blue light, which is a high-energy, short-wavelength color in the visible light spectrum. Research has also shown that extra blue light (especially at night) significantly suppresses melatonin production and alters circadian rhythms. Worse, many of the screens we stare at contain stuff that stresses us out.
5. Limit alcohol
Though alcohol may help you fall asleep, it suppresses REM sleep – an important restorative stage of sleep our bodies need. This can leave you feeling tired the next day, no matter how long you stay in bed. Alcohol is also a diuretic and makes it more likely you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
6. Keep your room dark
Your brain and body take their cues from the amount of light in the environment around them. The darker and quieter your room, the clearer the message that it’s time to sleep.
7. Keep your room cool
Your body needs to drop its core temperature by about two to three degrees Fahrenheit to fall and then stay asleep, and it’s the reason you’ll always find it easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold than too hot. Most people should aim for a bedroom temperature of around 65ºF.
8. Don’t stress if you can’t sleep
Anyone who’s ever had kids can tell you that it’s absolutely possible to still function even if you’re not getting a full night’s sleep. Stressing is pointless. It leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy and makes it less likely you’ll sleep well the next night.
9. Be consistent
The brain and body love predictability and settling into a rhythm, and this is especially true with sleep. Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, no matter whether it’s the weekday or the weekend. Try not to vary either bedtime or waking time by more than an hour. Regularity is king!
10. Take magnesium, theanine and apigenin
If all else fails, studies have shown a popular combination of 3 supplements – colloquially named the Huberman Sleep Cocktail – can significantly improve sleep quality. They are:
• 300-400mg of magnesium (threonate, bisglycinate, or orcitrate)
• 100-200mg of L-theanine
• 50mg of apigenin (optional; found in chamomile)
If you are new to magnesium supplementation, you may want to slowly dial up the amount you take (start with 100mg) as it can cause stomach discomfort.
Pain keeping you up at night?
Not getting enough sleep because you’re in pain? Here’s your wakeup call: there’s zero excuse when study after study shows that chiropractic care is far and away the best solution to correct musculoskeletal problems, reduce pain and start living optimally.
Ascent Chiropractic is just a phone call away. To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.