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Catching Zzz’s

Catching Zzz’s

Tips for a Better Night's Sleep- MP Edition 016


The quality and length of sleep is usually the first thing to suffer when things get busy. It’s why so many people struggle with how to sleep better and faster. We get it - life gets in the way sometimes but sleep is crucial to overall health. You can eat well and exercise frequently, but neither will do much good if you don’t get proper sleep.

Sleeping well directly affects both your mental and physical health, as well as your quality of life. Research shows that poor sleep has negative effects on:

  • Exercise performance

  • Brain function

  • Weight

  • Risk of disease

  • Energy

Tips for a better night’s sleep

During the day

Try incorporating these daytime tips in your regular routine to help you sleep better at night naturally.

  • Exercise: Exercise is one way to quickly improve your sleep. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise either. Even light exercise such as walking for half an hour a day or yoga helps you snooze.

  • Get a massage: Studies have found that massage therapy not only helps improve sleep, as well as reduce feelings of pain, anxiety, and depression.

  • Keep to a consistent schedule: Going to sleep and getting up at the same time each day helps set your body’s internal clock. A consistent sleeping pattern keeps you more refreshed and energized than if you slept the same number of hours sporadically. If you can, keep the same schedule even on weekends.

  • Get that vitamin D: Your body has a natural time-keeping clock (known as the circadian rhythm) that helps you stay awake and tells your body when it's time to sleep. Natural sunlight helps keep your circadian rhythm in check. A study showed that increased natural sunlight reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%. If getting natural sunlight is not possible, try an artificial bright light.

  • Avoid long naps during the day: We’ve all been there - you take a long nap and wake up unsure of what time, day, or year it is. Long or irregular naps during the day confuse your internal clock and make it harder to sleep at night.

At night

There are a few low-effort, high-impact changes you can make to your nighttime routine that can help you sleep better and faster.

  • Reduce light exposure: Your body naturally produces a hormone called melatonin that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark (making you drowsy) and less when it’s bright. While getting light during the day is good, light at night, especially blue light, does the opposite. Blue light (from devices such as smartphones and computers) tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime, reducing melatonin.

  • Take a bath or shower: A relaxing bath or shower can improve overall sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster. Alternatively, if you don't want to take a full bath at night, try soaking your feet in hot water for the same effect.

  • Clear your head: So often, anxiety from the day cripples sleep. Clear your mind of worry as much as possible when trying to sleep. Try meditating or closing your eyes and take deep, slow breaths.

Optimize your bedroom environment

There are a few factors that you can control to help ensure you can fall asleep as quickly and easily as possible:

  • Temperature: Cooler environments facilitate better sleep, typically around 70°F (20°C). Test varying temperatures to find the one that’s most comfortable for you.

  • Noise: Reduce as much external noise such as traffic or noisy neighbours as you can. If you can’t minimize the noise, try using earplugs or a white noise machine.

  • Light: Try covering the display of devices such as alarm clocks, wearing a sleep mask, and installing blackout shades to block out all light.

  • Bed: Make sure you have a mattress and pillows that provide enough support for your head and back and change your bedding at least every 5 to 8 years.

Home remedies for good sleep

Getting better sleep can be as simple as reaching into your pantry or using essential oils.

  • Warm milk and honey: Warm milk and honey is a very popular sleep aid. Milk helps increase serotonin (a natural sedative), and carbs like honey help get serotonin to your brain faster.

  • Tea: Having a hot cup of tea before bed may help you catch more zzz’s. Try chamomile which has a calming effect on the brain or passion fruit tea which has been shown improve sleep quality.

  • Essential oils: Lavender is widely known to provide a calming effect. Try spraying some lavender mist on your pillow or adding a few drops of lavender oil to your nighttime bath. Lavender is the most popular, but other aromatherapy oils that help with sleep are chamomile and ylang-ylang.

Take supplements

While there are many natural home remedies to help you get better sleep, there are also supplements available. Supplements such as melatonin, magnesium, and glycine have been known to increase relaxation to aid better sleep but you should always consult with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.

Things to avoid

  • Coffee: Before you java junkies get out your pitchforks, we’re talking coffee only in the latter half of the day. When consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and hinders you from naturally relaxing at night. If you can’t stay away from coffee, switch to decaf in the late afternoon.

  • Water or food right before bed: Drinking lots of water before bed leads to multiple trips to the bathroom at night, disrupting sleep. So although hydration is importing, try not to drink any fluids a couple of hours before going to bed. And try to eat dinner earlier in the evening, and avoid eating food within two hours of bed.

  • Sugar and refined carbs: This one is not easy to hear, we know! But eating lots of sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day can mean a restless night.

Proper sleep is key to your overall well-being. Hopefully these tips help you catch some quality Zzz’s so that you’re able to feel your best all day long.