Everyone needs a good night’s rest to be at their best! Sleep is important for our circadian rhythm (our internal clock). Although there’s tons of scientific literature explaining the value of consistent, quality sleep, far too few Americans get a solid 7 to 8 hours of healthy sleep each night.
Work responsibilities, lack of a bedtime routine, bad wake cycles, sleep disorders, constant usage of electronic devices, light exposure, over-consumption of caffeine, and city living all can be combined to create an endless array of distractions. This can prevent us from sleeping soundly when heads hit pillows and mattresses. Sleep deprivation can make it extremely hard not to hit the snooze button when your alarm clock goes off.
If that sounds like you, don't worry – we've got seven effective methods you can try to fix your sleep routine tonight. It all starts with better sleep habits!
Set a Consistent Sleep Schedule
One of the first things you can do is set a consistent sleep schedule. Our bodies naturally benefit from healthy habits and, given enough time, you can train your mind and body to expect sleep at a certain time each night. A regular schedule will be key for your sleep-wake cycle and preventing sleep problems.
Why is this beneficial? In short, it could help you go to sleep even when you aren’t very tired or when your mind is buzzing with thoughts from the previous day. By setting a consistent sleep schedule, your body will be more likely to go to sleep at the same time every night and get the same total hours of sleep consistently.
Of course, this will require some discipline on your part. The best thing you can do is set a time to go to sleep, even if you have things you’d rather do. Set that time to get between seven and eight hours of sleep based on when you set your alarm in the morning.
It’ll be tough at first, but going to sleep every night at the exact same time will pay dividends in the future. Plus, eventually, it will become so second nature that you won’t even have to think about it!
Minimize Exposure to Blue Light In the Evening
Plenty of studies have shown that blue light triggers the release of certain hormones in our brains that cause us to wake up. In a nutshell, our eyes and minds have evolved to absorb blue wavelengths of light from the rising sun and early morning sky. As the sun rises, our brains release hormones that make us wake up more quickly.
Unfortunately, computer and cell phone screens both emit light close to the same wavelength as the early morning sunlight. Using blue light devices has side effects such as tricking your brain into thinking that it’s earlier in the day rather than later, halting the natural drowsiness process that makes you want to sleep when the sun goes down.
For the best results, try not to look at your phone for at least an hour before bed. You should also minimize your exposure to computer screens or TV screens if possible. This isn't always convenient in our modern world, but it's still a good goal to strive for.
Read a book instead to tire your eyes out, and sleep will be much easier to achieve.
Naturally, you’ll feel more tired in the evening when you need to get a full night’s rest if you don’t nap during the middle of the day. Even if it’s tempting, and even if you have a habit of taking a quick nap around noon or 1 PM, avoid naps and force your body through the afternoon drowsiness period instead.
Just like setting a consistent bedtime will take some effort, so will avoiding naps. But you’ll go to bed at a constant and relatively early time each night and get more full sleep cycles by not napping. Most naps aren’t a full 90 minutes long, so you don’t get deep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in a typical nap session.
Naps might make you feel better in the short term, but they aren’t truly restorative.
Try a Melatonin Supplement
Above, we mentioned that certain hormones could affect how alert or draws you feel throughout the day. When it comes to drowsiness, the hormone in question is melatonin.
Normally made by the pineal gland in your brain, melatonin regulates your sleep cycle and promotes relaxation. Fortunately, you can pick up melatonin sleep gummy supplements from a variety of qualified producers these days.
In the right dose, melatonin can help make you drowsy and counteract the effect of an exciting day or too much screen time at night. These sleep aids are available from companies like Hope Health.
Our Melatonin Gummy supplement is the perfect solution for anyone who just can’t fall asleep or stay asleep. With a basic yet effective formula combining natural and cruelty-free ingredients, Hope Health’s Melatonin Supplement is a great pick for a supplement if you want to fix your sleep cycles and promote a solid seven to eight hour sleep period each night.
Meditate or Relax Before Bed
A rattled brain is difficult to coax into a sleepy or restful state. Many people might find it beneficial to try meditation or relax right before bed. Whether you like to do yoga, listen to an audiobook, or simply listen to music, pick a relaxing activity that induces calming and meditative sensations for your brain.
This is much better than watching an exciting movie or playing a video game, both of which can cause your brain to wake back up and make sleep more difficult to achieve.
A healthy body is a healthy mind, and regular exercise will make you feel better and make you more fatigued at night.
You should try to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes, although longer exercise sessions of between 45 minutes and 90 minutes are ideal. Exercise helps you burn away calories, strengthens your muscles, and improves cardiovascular health: these are all excellent things for long-term wellness.
But if you exercise every day, you'll also be less stressed when you hit the sack every night. Exercise burns away cortisol, a stress hormone that builds up in the body since many of us have sedentary jobs.
Lower the Temperature of Your Bedroom
Lastly, try lowering the temperature of your bedroom before you go to sleep. Relatively cool temperatures between 60° and 67°F are ideal for getting a good night's rest. This is probably because humans evolved to go to sleep outdoors when the temperature normally dips with the setting of the sun.
While some days are hotter than others, our bodies are still used to sleeping in slightly cooler conditions than during the day. Plus, turning the temperature down will help your body dump excess heat and slow down its thermal activity.
As you can see, there are multiple strategies you can use to start fixing your sleep cycle tonight.
While a melatonin supplement is a good choice by itself, we recommend trying multiple of these strategies in conjunction if you have a lot of trouble getting enough winks every night. You might also consider alternative supplements if a dose of melatonin doesn’t seem to do the trick. You can also try earplugs, blackout curtains, a white noise machine, relaxation techniques, an eye mask, a floor fan, or finding the best mattress for comfort. Good sleep hygiene is important as well!
Check out the rest of our supplement list for more holistic, health-focused solutions you can count on. Even if it’s tough to go to sleep right now, you have to have hope – as we like to say, if you have hope, you have everything!