4 Ways to improve your sleep

Have you ever woken up after a deep sleep and thought “ahh, that was the best sleep I’ve ever had!” ? Sometimes life gets in the way of our good sleep habits and we start sacrificing deep, restful sleep for spontaneous nights out or Netflix marathons. The good news is, it’s never too late to have better rest. This can change your life – I promise! Sleep is more important than you think, and many people are not getting enough of it. Let’s take a look at 4 ways you can improve your sleep.

Why is a good night’s rest so important?

Depression, poor concentration, fatigue, weight gain, hormone disruption, and diabetes are just a few of the effects of poor sleep over a long period of time. Busy schedules and the overuse of screens have contributed to the prevalence of poor sleep habits. In fact, one-third to one-half of the population have some level of chronic insomnia disorders and 10-15% of those people also experience impairment. Lack of sleep can be caused by:

  • Unhealthy habits and sleep patterns
  •  Anxiety, depression and mental health 
  • Chronic disease
  • Chronic pain
  • GI issues like heartburn, IBS/IBD, Gallbladder and SIBO
  • Hormone changes, menstrual cycle, menopause, thyroid diseases, blood sugar changes
  • Neurological diseases 
  • Sleep apnea and restless legs

Tips to catch some z’s

  1. Choose a bedtime and stick to it

Pick a practical time for bed that allows 7-8 hours of sleep. Setting a time and sticking with it encourages rest and relaxation because your body and mind will start to anticipate it. This also means waking up at the same time every day.

Turn off screens one hour before your designated bed time. TV, laptops, and phone are too stimulating for the brain to relax. This hour is time for your body to decompress after the stress, to-do’s, and decision making of your day.

Set a timer or alarm to remind you to turn devices off. Proceed with your normal nighttime tasks; washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc. The body thrives on routine so remember, consistency is key.

     2. Space matters

Your bedroom should be dark and quiet- no tv’s or radio. Studies show ideal sleeping temperature is 68 degrees. Keep extra blankets handy if this is chilly!

In the last 10-15mn before closing your eyes go use a guided sleep meditation to assist you into a relaxed and restful space. 

     3. Cut back and cut out

The next thing to do may not be easy, but it is worth the challenge to improve sleep. It involves cutting down on caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.

Avoid caffeine in the afternoon, especially within 4 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake; therefore it is best to avoid it late in the day or early evening when trying to get a good night’s rest. Typically the caffeine and sugar cycle starts by eating junk food for lunch or including a treat with lunch. Later, the sluggishness kicks in and we need a pick-me-up in the form of a coffee or energy drink. Eating a balanced meal containing whole foods will give your body the energy it requires to get through the afternoon and kick caffeine and sugar to the curb.

Many people believe a night cap is needed to help them fall asleep. While a drink before bed may assist with falling asleep, alcohol will disrupt your ability to stay asleep. It’s best to rely on your newfound routine to fall and stay in rest.

Another point to keep in mind is exercise. Exercise during your day is important but should not be done within 4-5 hours before bed; it is too stimulating and will lead to sleep issues.

     4. Supplements

Certain nutritional supplements will aid in falling and staying asleep, but are not a magic pill to fix bad sleep routines. The most common supplement for sleep is melatonin, but it is also a little tricky. Melatonin is most effective when timed with sleep cycles and sunlight because it is naturally triggered when our eyes start to recognize the sun setting. For example, melatonin should be taken at 4:30PM in the Minnesota winter months, which means you would have to go to bed around 5PM. While melatonin works wonders for falling asleep, it’s not the cure-all for staying asleep. Finally, anyone consuming melatonin should not exceed 9 mg as studies have shown an increase in nightmares.

CBD, CBN and CBG are cannabinoids that have been associated with improved quality of sleep.  These are hemp derivatives and are safe in most people, are associated with sleep quality improvement, better stress response, and higher gut function. Look for a high quality resource such as CBDistillery.

L-Theanine promotes relaxation and helps with sleep by reducing the excitatory compounds in the brain and increasing a few hormones associated with relaxation.  It has been shown to improve alpha brain waves that are associated with restful relaxation and improvements in REM sleep. It has been shown to help with stress and anxiety without sedation.


Take these simple steps to improve your sleep and you will find yourself waking refreshed with more energy, which is not only vital to your physical health but also important for productivity. Everyone has a busy schedule; which is exactly why sleep should be a priority.

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