Do you suck at sleeping?
Do you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get enough sleep?
You’re not alone if you do.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about “40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year and an additional 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems.”
By now you know sleep is absolutely critical for health. Sleep affects nearly every part of our wellbeing, from appetite, mood, cognitive functioning, and energy levels.
We all could probably use more sleep, but what if we really don’t have the time to get in the recommended 7-8 hours each night? Are we doomed to a life of sleep deprivation and consequential bad health?
Of course not!
Interestingly enough, it’s not really the number of hours we sleep each night that is important, it’s the number of REM cycles we get.
Research suggests we need around 4-6 REM cycles each night. Each REM cycle takes about 90 minutes.
Times 90 minutes by 4, 5, and 6 and you get about 6-9 hours. It’s in this deep sleep where the magic happens. This is where recovery takes place and where those wacky dreams about old crushes occur. (I know you’ve had them too.)
So how do we improve our sleep quality and make sure we get the deep sleep we need each night?
Check out these 8 better sleep tips from Casper and myself.
8 Hacks for Better Sleep
Struggle with anxiety? Meditation will be your best friend. You can get free meditation tracks on Happify. Try listening to one before you go to bed or do some deep breathing. This will help take your mind off your worries and calm your heart. Literally.
2. Keep it cool
If the temperature in you room is too hot, you’ll have a much harder time falling asleep and staying in deep sleep. Cooler temperatures keep your body at an optimal temperature for deep sleep, so don’t be afraid of keeping it cool.
3. Wind down
Read a book, meditate, color, or write in your gratitude journal to start bringing your heart rate down and to calm your busy mind. This one is often the biggest problem I have, I swear I get my best ideas at night!
4. Invest in your sleep
Sleep is important, so you should invest in it! If your mattress is uncomfortable, get a new one. Get sleepwear you feel cozy in and sheets that make you feel like royalty. Your health is worth it!
5. Have a bedtime snack
Carb lovers rejoice! If you struggle with late night hunger, carbs are going to be your best friend. A small carb loaded snack before bed boosts serotonin, the hormone responsible for sleep cycles. Just keep in mind this doesn’t mean you get to eat a whole pint of ice cream before going to bed. 😉
6. Reduce noise
Have noisy neighbors? Does your roommate or spouse snore or sleep talk? I’ve had my fair share of both snoring and sleep talking. As entertaining as the later is, It makes it hard to sleep. Ear plugs or sleeping with white noise like a fan can drown out distracting noise and help lull you to sleep.
7. Put away your phone
This one can be hard, but if you just don’t feel tired around your bedtime your phone’s blue light might be the culprit. Try avoiding your phone 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep (you’re glued to it all day anyway) or at least install a red light dimmer to reduce the blue light. Blue light halts your bodies natural melatonin production. Melatonin is what makes you feel sleepy!
8. Keep a schedule
I love weekends. It means I have the blessed opportunity to SLEEP IN. But guess what, I’ve found that when I sleep in on the weekends, waking up early on Monday mornings is a BEAST. On the other hand, when I keep my regular sleep schedule on the weekends, Monday is much less of a drag. This ends up being a blessing for me and those around me because I can get pretty slangry. (Angry due to lack of sleep.)
There you have it! Try out any or all of these hacks for better sleep, your body will thank you. You can take advantage of the hours you do have time to sleep by getting to sleep faster and by staying in a deeper sleep longer.