All seasoned sleep strugglers will know that there are bedtime habits that can either help send you on an express train to Snoozeville, or plunge you deep into the valley of Wide Awake.
So what are they? Here are 6 of the most important do's and don'ts:
DO keep screens away
Many would argue that this has become the most important part of getting good sleep in the modern world. The blue light that phone and computer screens emit can delay your ability to fall asleep, as well as affect the quality of your sleep by causing spontaneous awakening in the night and disrupting your sleep cycle.
DON'T consume caffeine or alcohol
Caffeine blocks the release of the hormone adenosine, which makes us feel fatigued and groggy. This means it builds in our brains all day so that when we attempt to sleep, adenosine doesn’t get released. And when alcohol is metabolised by the liver, the withdrawal of its sedating effect can also cause nighttime awakening and suppress REM sleep. Try to limit caffeine intake to 8 hours prior to bedtime, and stick to just one evening drink.
DO follow a bedtime ritual
Just like children, adults greatly benefit from a calming bedtime routine, as doing the same things at the same time every evening signals your brain that it's time to start winding down. A warm, relaxing soak is a popular pre-sleep tool, so your ritual can be the classic "bath, book, bed", or could include things like putting on a face mask, lighting a specific kind of incense and making a To Do list for the following day to avoid these thoughts swirling in your head instead after the lights go out.
DON'T make the room too hot
In the evening our bodies naturally experience a spike in melatonin - the hormone regulating our sleep/wake cycle (AKA our circadian rhythm) that is triggered by both the darkening sky and the cooling temperature outside. Keeping your core temperature cool before bed will help your body to know to stay on track for sleep time, and once lights are out a cool (but not cold) room will help you settle into and maintain sleep throughout the night.
DO plan for sufficient sleep
Even if you always struggle to sleep - don't ever behave like it's an inevitability. Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for adults, so always be sure to set this time aside even if you doubt you'll be snoozing all the way through. In doing so you set a serious intention for a solid amount of sleep, and if you go to bed around the same time each night it can also help your body find a sleep rhythm that will eventually help it to know automatically when it’s time to unwind.
DON'T take long naps in the day
A brief nap can be refreshing and restorative, especially if you are sleep deprived. But long daytime naps can negatively impact your sleep quality and duration at night - so the key to a successful nap comes down to timing. Most sleep experts recommend an ideal nap should last 10-20 minutes and be taken no later than 2pm. The later in the day it is, the deeper the sleep stage we enter - so napping after 2pm can leave you feeling groggy and affect your ability to fall asleep at a reasonable time later that night.
And remember - if you'd like to find out more about how CBD can help you get a good night's rest, read our article on CBD for sleep issues here.