Sleep issues are incredibly common among Americans, especially in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. A September study published in the journal Sleep Medicine revealed 25% reporting that their sleep quality was worse, due to stressors related to COVID-19. Another study used data from cell phone usage to analyze sleep patterns and found that people in the US had delayed bedtimes since the pandemic began and slept longer than usual.
If you are having trouble getting normal and high quality sleep as a result of the past year, you are not alone. We’ve put together a list of healthy habits you can partake in to sleep better. If you’ve always suffered from poor sleep, this is definitely for you as well.
1. Set Up A Sleep Schedule
The best place to start is establishing a sleep schedule with specific times you aim to go to bed and wake up. We know having a bedtime sounds silly, but creating and sticking to a routine really makes a difference.
When you have a sleep schedule, you’ll not only get enough sleep but you will also improve the quality of your sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will regulate your circadian rhythm, and you won’t have trouble sleeping at bedtime or waking up on time once you can make it a regular habit.
Schedule a bedtime when you usually feel sleepy or tired, and an appropriate wake-up time that will give you at least 7 hours sleep. Rather than sleeping in on weekends, take a power nap in the afternoon, for 20 minutes at most.
BONUS TIP: To ensure consistency, set an alarm for when to go to bed and wake up, so you can sleep on a schedule. If you don’t have a traditional alarm clock, you can use the iPhone sleep schedule or Android bedtime schedule on your mobile device clock application settings.
2. Organize, Ask, or Hire
Prioritizing what needs to be done is a great way to ensure important tasks are not getting in the way of your sleep schedule. If your finding life is getting a little too hectic, take advantage of the help available around you. Try ordering groceries online if you just can’t find the time to get to the store. Ask your partner, spouse, or a trusted adult to take care of the kids for 2 to 3 hours a week to allow you to organize.
Make a list of all the tasks that need to be done daily and weekly in a notebook or using your mobile device note/calendar app. Then, finish the most important tasks first, asking for help from a partner, family member, or hired helper if needed.
3. Make Time To Exercise
Maintaining a regular exercise schedule is quite challenging, especially for a busy parent, student, or professional. But regular exercise, particularly in the morning or afternoon, can impact your sleep quality by raising your body temperature a few degrees. Later in the day, when your internal thermostat drops back to its normal range, this can trigger feelings of drowsiness and help you drop off to sleep. Additionally, if you exercise outdoors, you’ll be exposed to natural light, an important element in helping your body establish a good sleep-wake cycle.
BONUS TIP: Make time for an aerobic or anaerobic workout session 2 to 3 times a week. As a daily routine, try to squeeze some body movement activities. It can be as simple as taking the kids for a stroll around the block or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
4. Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
The comfortability of your sleep environment can determine both the amount and the quality of sleep you’ll get. Does your bedroom have adequate ventilation? Is your mattress the right firmness? How about noise? In order to sleep better, your bedroom should be quiet, relaxing, and clean. Visual obstructions like “clutter” can cause unnecessary anxieties that can lead to sleeplessness.
BONUS TIP: Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary by keeping it dark and cool, quieting the noise, finding the right beddings and eliminating clutter. Adjust your bedroom temperature higher or lower, depending on the weather. Also, replace a lumpy mattress and scratchy sheets, and ensure your bed covers don’t hinder you from stretching and turning.
5. Watch What You Eat & Drink
What you eat and drink directly affects the amount and quality of your sleep. While a well-balanced diet may vary from person to person, eating clean and healthy food is universal. Instead of dessert, you can have nuts or other healthy snack choices at night. More importantly, avoid consuming heavy meals and large amounts of liquids before bed.
In addition, you should replace caffeine and carbonated drinks with water or lemon tea after lunch, and have dinner at least 3 to 4 hours before bed. A warm cup of Chamomile or “sleepytime” tea an hour or so before hopping into bed can help soothe your mind and body into a relaxing state.
Lastly, take your last sip of water 1 hour before turning in for the night to avoid going to the bathroom multiple times during the night, which affects your sleep quality.
6. Cut Out All Screen Time An Hour Before Bed
We all feel the urge to reply to those “emergency” emails before bed or catch up on social media. But it’s important that you stop staring at a screen with blue light before bed. This includes your smartphone, laptop, and even the TV.
Research has shown that the blue light emitted from these devices reduces the sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps you relax. It also tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thereby affecting your internal body clock and preventing you from falling asleep. Putting away your phone before going to bed will enable you to truly unwind.
Set your iPhone or Android mobile to Do Not Disturb or Sleep Mode 1 to 2 hours before bedtime, and keep it out of reach to avoid temptation. You can allow calls from specific people for emergency purposes in your settings. If you have to watch TV or use your laptop, ensure you dim the backlight or use photochromic glasses.
7. Have Relaxing “Me-Time”
Having your “me time” can never be overemphasized. Do something for yourself at least once a day. However, ensure that your me-time activities won’t hinder your ability to fall asleep. While binge-watching late-night TV shows with a glass of wine sound like a whole lot of fun, it’s not the best way for you to relax without hindering your quality of sleep.
This is because exposure to the TV’s blue light will affect your body clock, and taking alcohol right before bed can cause sleep apnea and disrupted sleep patterns. Some relaxing me-time activities you can indulge in without hurting your sleep quality include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to a podcast.
BONUS TIP: Order some bath bombs or soaking salts and put on some calming music as you soak in the tranquil aromatic bath water. If you still have time before your bedtime, you can curl up with a book or find some other relaxing me-time activity that will help get you in the mood to sleep more comfortably.
8. Go to Bed To Sleep
It’s crucial that when it’s your bedtime, you go to bed and lay down to sleep – not get into bed and scroll endlessly through social media, or reply to emails, or watch TV, or brainstorm ideas. All of these things should be done well before bedtime or postponed till the next day. Add your big ideas or reminders in your organizer or note pad and leave it for the next day. By removing those distractions, you are associating your body’s inherent action of falling asleep with your physical bed.
Also, don’t try to force yourself to stay awake in order to do just a little more work or complete a chore. If you’re tired, go to bed and sleep. After a good night’s rest you’ll perform whatever you were working on better the next day.
Only get into bed when you’re ready to sleep and don’t do so with your phone in hand. If you have a TV in the bedroom, remove it from the room, permanently. Also, turn off the lights at the same time each night. If your partner/spouse has a different sleep schedule, provide them with an adequate lighting option that doesn’t illuminate your side of the bed.
9. Shut Off Your Mind
Sometimes, just when you lay down to sleep is when your mind starts to race – analyzing situations and finding solutions to problems. Before you know it, you’re worried about something new and can’t sleep due to the stress. Shutting off an active mind can seem quite challenging. So, finding a way to calm your mind at bedtime will be imperative to a good night’s rest.
After lying in bed, close your eyes and perform a deep breathing exercise to clear your head and calm your mind. We recommend consciously breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth slowly until you feel relaxed. Repeat as needed.
10. Take A Natural Sleep Aid
When you’re finding it difficult to fall asleep, you may consider taking a supplemental sleep aid. However, some of these products could leave you feeling groggy the next day, or “knock you out” completely. You can take supplements that contain natural relaxation ingredients, such as ginkgo biloba, lavender, or valerian roots.
You can also try Cannabinol or “CBN” the new natural supplement that is taking the sleep supplement market by storm.
CBN is a powerful hemp-derived cannabinoid that is showing signs of being an effective, natural remedy that can help you manage stress and sleeplessness. You can try this natural solution with our 30-day money back guarantee.
How to Use CBN Tincture for Sleep
To use CBN Tincture, simply fill your dropper and hold under your tongue for 30 seconds and swallow. You can also take CBN in combination with other natural ingredients that improve your sleep quality, like chamomile tea or lavender oil. Learn more about how to find your Right dose.
Good night and good luck!
We hope these tips help you finally catch those very sought after Z’s. Sweet dreams.