Did you have trouble sleeping last night? So did over 300,000 people who tweet about it on a daily basis. An estimated 164 million Americans struggle with sleep at least once a month. Falling asleep at night may be more common than you thought. (2)
A good night sleep requires more than just a bed and a cool pillow and the marketplace has taken note of this. The products/services for people who can't sleep range from mattresses to white-noise machines, sleeping pills to sleep coaches.
Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies in 2015, and that’s expected to grow to $52 billion by 2020.
So what are some solutions/products that may help you stop counting sheep at night?
Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect.
This is due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep (3). Scrolling the internet on your phone and watching TV should cease two hours before heading to bed.
Don't Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
Caffeine has several benefits and is consumed by 90% of the US population (4)
A single dose can enhance focus, energy and sports performance.
However, when consumed late in the day coffee has a stimulating effect and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
Caffeine can stay in your body for around 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended.
If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, stick with decaffeinated coffee.
Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps
While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night.
In fact, in one study, participants ended up being sleepier during the day after taking daytime naps (5).
Another study noted that while napping for 30 minutes or less can enhance daytime brain function, longer naps can negatively affect health and sleep quality (6).
However, some studies show that those who are used to taking regular daytime naps do not experience poor sleep quality or disrupted sleep at night.
If you take regular daytime naps and sleep well, you shouldn’t have to worry. The effects of napping depend on the individual seem to vary on the individual.
Try to Sleep and Wake up at Consistent Times
Your body's circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality (7).
One study noted that participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep (7).
Other studies have highlighted that irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep (8).
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm. Just don't risk it on the days you have to get up for work!
If you still struggle to get out of the bed, Daylight Sun Lamps have been shown to help with those groggy mornings. The sun lamp emits a bright light that is meant to emulate sunlight. Early mornings seem to become easier when your room is flooded with warm light. Shop For our Daylight Sun Lamps here.
Don't Eat Late in the Evening
Late-night eating may negatively impact both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH and melatonin (11). The quality and type of your late night snack may play a role as well.
In one study, a high-carb meal eaten four hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster (12).
Interestingly, one study discovered that a low carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs are not always necessary, especially if you are already used to a low carb diet.
Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower
Another beneficial way to go to sleep is by taking a relaxing bath before bed.
Studies indicate that they can improve overall sleep quality and help people — especially older adults — fall asleep faster (13).
In one study, a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep (13).
If you don't want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in hot water can help you relax and may improve sleep as well.
Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night's sleep.
These factors include temperature, noise, external lights and, furniture arrangement.
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place.
Study's have shown the effectiveness of using essential oils to sleep (9). We suggest adding a diffuser to your nightstand decor and use Lavender or Jasmine to calm the air before going to bed. We recommend our 2-1 Cool Mist Humidifier and Essential Oil Aromatherapy Diffuser.
Exercise Regularly — But Not Before Bed
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your sleep and health and has science to back it up.
It can enhance all aspects of sleep and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia (15).
Studies show that it can halve the amount of time it takes for adults to fall asleep and can add up to 41 minutes of sleep at night (16).
To sum it all up
Sleep plays a key role in your health. It is a necessity and is a key factor in your health and overall well-being.
Lack of sleep has been linked to increased obesity and developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes (17).
If you are interested in optimal health and well-being, then you should make sleep a top priority and incorporate some of the tips above.