I’ve been getting a lot of questions about tips for sleeping better , AKA “cleaner”, so today we share tips for improving your habits nighttime wind-down habits.
MAKE IT A RITUAL
The key to making real improvements is about changing your habits – which in turn requires that you stick with it (consistency) and make a conscious effort (ritual). If you choose to adopt these tips, be intentional about completing the actions everyday. Make it a routine ritual, and with time your brain will associate these behaviors with sleep and help you get the best rest possible. Keeping that in mind, let’s dive in…
- Drink herbal tea. An hour before you want to sleep, calm yourself with a warm cup of unsweetened herbal tea. Chamomile is a longtime favorite of many, and we love Yogi’s Bedtime tea, which updates that classic with an infusion of Passionflower, Licorice, Cardamom and Cinnamon. Drinking it one hour before bed should allow you to pee before sleep, which is also key!
- Avoid meals and snacks within 2 hours of bedtime. Trying to digest food while also falling asleep often leaves you feeling bloated or unsettled, and makes it much harder to give your body a 12 hour detox window.
- No wine or booze before bed. The sugars will make your energy spike and interrupt your wind-down.
- No caffeine after lunchtime or early afternoon. It takes about 5 hours for the average healthy individual to metabolize caffeine, however some folks can feel the effects for up to 9 hours afterwards!
These suggestions will work best if you engage with the audio only when you are trying to fall / stay asleep. If you listen to the white noise machine or a particular playlist during the day, it prevents your brain from associating that noise exclusively with bedtime, which is counter productive.
- Ambient: If you typically try to fall asleep in silence, experiment with on a soft fan or white noise machine. Some folks also prefer earplugs.
- Music: Spotify has nice playlist options in their “Ambient Sounds” genre. My favorite is “Night Rain”. I do not listen to this at night (I prefer white noise machines) but I do listen to it at very low volume when I need to take a daytime nap. As a result of only listening to this particular playlist at naptime, I’ve effectively trained my mind to fall asleep quickly once it starts playing.
- Meditative audio: Sleep With Me Podcast is very soothing and progressively gets more boring until you fall to sleep. Jon Kabbat Zin’s body scan tracks as part of his Mindfulness Meditation Audiobook are amazing.
- Tension release head massage – Place your fingertips on the back, center area of your head near the hairline at the base of the skull. Apply moderate pressure and move fingers in small circular motions to release trigger points.
- Take a warm bath – Use soaking salts, dim the lights, apply sleep oil, and do whatever else you can to treat yourself and let the hot water soothe tense muscles.
- Aromatherapy – scent is extremely influential to our brains and essential oils are the most potential natural way to change brain activity.
- Essential oils diffuser – Diffusing a calming oil or blend at before and at bedtime is a powerful tool to send a signal to your brain that it needs to chill out and get some rest. Because we so quickly and strongly associate smells with specific actions, you should pick one or a couple scents that you only diffuse when preparing for sleep to maximize the cognitive effect. Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Cedarwood are my oil recommendations. Shop diffusers I love here:
- Put on soft pajamas – shop some of our favorite, most luxurious picks here:
These are some of the most commonly recommended supplements to take for improved ability to fall and stay asleep. As with all supplements, consult a doctor if you take prescriptions, are pregnant or have serious health ailments.
- Melatonin – A natural hormone the brain produces to regulate sleep and releases during the evening / pre-bed hours. Exposure to light at night blocks our bodies Melatonin production, but you can take it in supplement form to help get to sleep. Take it in capsule or liquid form.
- Magnesium threonate – An easily digestible form of Magnesium that is believed to improve memory, assist with sleep, and enhance overall cognitive function. Consume in capsule form.
- L Theanine – This amino acid (building block for proteins) is found in green tea and used to treat a range of health problems including anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure. Theanine has a chemical structure similar some of our bodies naturally occurring amino acids that help transmit nerve impulses in the brain. Consume in capsule form.
- Lithium orientate – Wellness practitioners recommend taking low doses of this to help calm the mind in preparation for sleep. This supplement is an organic form of lithium, the essential mineral that helps our bodies perform and regulate key neurological functions. Consume in capsule form.
- Cannabis – We recently discovered and fell in love with dosist’s ‘Sleep’ vape pen. The device vibrates once you’ve taken a perfect 2.25mg dose, so you can use it without feeling too loopy and it puts me right to sleep.
Our devices are useful connectivity tools but they seriously confuse our brains with bright, stimulating blue light – which is the opposite of what your brain needs before bed. If you’re a self described tech addict, start with just one of these practices and add a new one into your pre-bed routine each week. By the end of a month of this practice, it’ll feel like second nature and you will rest better!
- Set your screens to dim and warm in color as bedtime approaches – I use f.lux (free program) on my computer and the “Night Shift” setting on my iPhone.
- Don’t bring any technology into your bedroom – This includes your phone! It’s a reason to buy a fun alarm clock, like this modern one or this retro one.
- No screens one-hour before bed – If you must look at a screen close to bedtime, wear orange glasses. These may sound dorky, but they effectively counteract the stimulating blue light emitted from laptops, iPads, etc. and reduce eye overactivity and fatigue.
What about you? Comment any other tricks you’v found helpful below!
Images by Deiji Studios (maker of incredible sleepwear), Debby Hudson, Anthony Tran, Jessica To’otoo and Nicole Honeywill.