Do you ever find yourself feeling exhausted, despite going to bed early? It seems that as a society, we have become accustomed to that pre-coffee morning grogginess as if it's just a normal part of modern life. And it's not just you - your partner, siblings, friends, and colleagues likely share the same daybreak struggles.
Daytime fatigue and caffeine dependency aren’t something we should be taking lightly, however, as they are often the consequence of chronic sleep deprivation and/or poor quality sleep, which, over time, can increase the risk of long-term health problems.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help you to break the cycle of daytime fatigue and poor-quality sleep. We’re not talking about medication, but improving sleep hygiene naturally could be the key to restoring that much-needed rest and energy for your daily tasks.
Like most people, we have experienced periods of sleeplessness; tossing and turning in bed for hours on end. We accepted it as part of the hectic work-life balance for a long time… too long. Until we discovered that making a few small changes to our routine, and achieving better sleep hygiene, is key to getting the restful slumber that not only makes us feel more rested and productive but also helps our bodies heal from stress, illness, and injury.
The Significance of Sufficient Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is essential for both our physical and mental wellbeing. However, many people struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night, leading to a range of negative consequences, including fatigue, irritability, and poor concentration. One of the most effective ways to combat these problems is to improve your sleep hygiene, which refers to the habits and practices that influence the quality and quantity of your sleep.
In this article, we will discuss some essential tips (that are tried and tested by the slumber-loving team at Mission C!) for improving your sleep hygiene, including creating a relaxing bedtime routine, optimising your sleeping environment, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. With these simple changes, you can enhance the quality of your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energised each day.
Let us help propel you forward on your journey to better quality shut-eye with our 15 top tips to have you snoozing through those crucial 6-8 hours, night after night. A word of caution: introduce small changes to your current routine gradually for your best chance of lasting sleep success.
15 Tips for Healthier Sleep Hygiene
- Wake up at the same time every day.
Start your newfound healthy sleep hygiene schedule the moment you wake up. Take your typical weekday wake-up time and apply it to weekends and days off. Yes, this means that if you’re waking up at 6:30 am during the week for work, we’re suggesting you wake up at the same time on your days of rest! Many people believe that a weekend lie-in helps them to catch up on sleep; in fact, a lie-can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to get to sleep at night. Waking up at the same each day – even on weekends – will help you control your sleep cycle and get in sync with your body’s natural rhythms. This means you’ll find it easier to fall asleep at bedtime.
- Get exposure to natural light first thing in the morning.
This has been shown to help you sleep better at night as it encourages readjustment of your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to get outside in natural sunlight within an hour of waking up.
During the day, generally, the more active you are, the better your sleep-wake cycle. Your body expects plenty of activity during the day. If you're at a desk for much of the day, schedule in frequent breaks and go for walks. Exercise regularly, but avoid working out before bedtime, which sends signals to your brain that it’s time to remain alert and energised.
- Enjoy your coffee… before noon.
Did you know that it takes up to 10 hours for caffeine to completely clear from your bloodstream? If you desire a daily routine that’s conducive to good-quality sleep, avoid coffee and tea after midday (plus chocolate and some fizzy drinks. Sorry!). The good news is, decaf coffee and tea options have improved tremendously for the tastebuds in recent years – you’ll barely be able to tell the difference after a few cuppas, take our word for it.
- Introduce meditation.
But not necessarily at bedtime. Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t intended as a tool to help you drift off. However, regular meditation during the day has been proven to reduce stress levels, balance the mind and help people achieve deeper, sounder sleep at night. Not sure how to meditate? Check out a meditation app such as Balance.
- Nap for no longer than 30 minutes.
Afternoon siestas can be a great tool for perking up – and are certainly preferred over a caffeinated drink. However, limit your naps to 30 minutes maximum and try not to nap after 3 pm. Taking longer naps later in the day can disrupt your sleep cycle, thanks to a chemical known as adenosine. Adenosine builds up in the body during waking hours and increases our need for sleep. When you sleep, levels of adenosine decrease. Taking late, long naps interferes with adenosine levels and may reduce your chances of feeling ready for sleep at bedtime.
- Aim to have your evening meal around 4 hours before bedtime.
Your digestive system needs some downtime, too. If you’re feeling peckish before hitting the sheets, a light snack is okay – but avoid overly sugary or spicy foods.
- Say no to a nightcap.
Yes, alcohol may help you get to sleep faster, but if you’re still bleary upon waking, it’s probably because the booze is preventing you from achieving good-quality, deep and natural sleep. Even as little as one glass of alcohol can reduce sleep quality by 9.3%, according to the Sleep Foundation. Sleep is disrupted during the later parts of the sleep cycle as the alcohol is metabolised by liver enzymes. This can result in grogginess and concentration issues the following day.
- Use progressively dimmer lights as the evening advances.
This sends signals to the brain that it’s time to wind down. When it’s time to go to sleep, try to eliminate as much light as possible from your bedroom.
- Turn your bedroom into a screen-free zone.
From now on, the bedroom is for sleep and sex only. Turn off the TV and leave your laptop and phone outside. Replace your phone with a traditional alarm clock if you rely on it for waking up. If you cannot leave your phone outside the room, utilise Airplane or Sleep Focus mode if possible, or leave it out of arm’s reach to help you avoid the temptation of a late night social media scroll. If you want to go one step further, we recommend leaving your phone offline for 1-2 hours after waking, or until you have left the house for work, which is advantageous for a more mindful start to the day.
- Create an inviting, comfy and irresistible bed space.
One that you can’t wait to dive into… it’ll help you avoid sleep procrastination.
- Establish a regular bedtime.
See Tip 1. Your circadian rhythm will thank you!
- Ensure the room is well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
The ideal sleep temperature is approximately 18 degrees Celsius. This helps to reduce the risk of overheating, which can cause uncomfortable tossing and turning.
- Use an all-natural supplement such as high-quality CBD oil.
Sleeping pills have their uses in some circumstances. However, they are not a long-term solution for healthy sleep hygiene. Users rarely feel refreshed upon waking; long-term use can cause habit-forming, and cases of insomnia may return after stopping the drug. Natural supplements such as CBD can help relax you while enhancing the body’s endocannabinoid system – this is a system which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle – promoting healthier sleep and better energy the following day.
- Lose yourself in a good book.
There are many benefits of reading; it provides a break from screen time, improves cognition and enhances sleep quality (amongst others). A chapter or so before sleep can help you drift off into a deep slumber, and is far better for your sleep cycle than the blue light emitted from your electronic devices.
Sleep hygiene is an important part of overall health. By following these tips and making one small change at a time (remember, there’s no rush!) to improve your sleep hygiene, you’ll be well on your way to achieving better sleep and improved energy during the day.
Seeking a natural supplement to help you get a better night’s sleep? Try our dreamy Night + CBD Oil, available in 5%, 10% and 20% broad-spectrum CBD oil options.