Cracking the sleep code isn’t easy. If it was, we’d probably never hear phrases like “I had a rough night” ever again. But, if we haven’t cracked the code yet, are we destined to remain a sleep-deprived population? Is there something we can do?
Well, significant leaps always start with small steps. So, if you want to improve your sleep and start building healthy habits that can last a lifetime, test out these 7 tips.
Tips to Uplevel Your Snooze
1. Minimize your pre-bedtime blue light exposure.
Electronic devices, and much of the inside lighting we use in our homes and offices, emit high-intensity blue light that gets misinterpreted as daylight. Your eyes send a message to your brain that the sun is still shining, even if it already set long ago. This is okay in the middle of the day when you are trying to stay alert, but it prevents melatonin production at night when you should be winding down for bed.
2. Prepare your internal clocks for Daylight Saving.
Like you, your internal clocks need time to adjust to Daylight Saving Time. Plan ahead, and start going to bed 10-15 min early. Your phone might update automatically, but your body takes a bit longer.
3. Help your body initiate sleep with a cooler room temperature.
Warmer? Colder? Somewhere In The Middle? Regardless of your temperature preferences, physiology and science both point to the ideal nighttime room temperature being around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). Your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep, so a cool room can give you a head start.
4. Avoid that late-night meal or snack.
If you chow down on a late-night snack, it confuses your internal clocks. The one in your brain sees that the sun has set and is primed for sleep. However, the clocks in your digestive system kick into high gear, actively digesting at the very moment your other clocks are preparing for bed.
5. Pause the caffeine in the PM.
Caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 7 hours. That means if you have a cup of coffee at 3pm, by 8pm, you’ll have only metabolized half of its caffeine — the other half is still in your system. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, avoid that PM caffeine boost. Keep in mind that soda, tea, and chocolate can also contain enough caffeine to disrupt sleep.
6. Avoid that nightcap — it may do more harm than good.
While a pre-bedtime drink may make you feel sleepy, your sleep quality takes a hit. Alcohol before bed disrupts your circadian rhythm, elevates your resting heart rate, and more. Try to give your body at least 3 hours before bed to metabolize the alcohol in your system. Hydrating works wonders, too.
7. Wind down with some tunes.
Listening to music can help your body wind down and engage your rest-and-digest system. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try making a “wind-down” playlist with some of your favorite relaxing songs. You can also relax with the Oura App’s “Moment” feature, which offers you a few ways to check-in with your body.
Start by tapping the plus (+) icon on the Oura Home tab, and choose a moment that works best for you.