10 Tips for a good nights sleep

Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm.

“Sleep is the best meditation.” — Dalai Lama

Expose Yourself To More Natural Light

Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep. Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.

In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83% (Source). A similar study in older adults found that 2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80% (Source). How amazing is that?

Reduce Blue Light Exposure & Disconnect In The Evening

Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect. Again, this is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it's still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get a deep sleep.

Blue light - which electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit in large amounts - is the worst! Here a re a few ways you can reduce your exposure to blue light at night.

1. Wear glasses that block blue light.
2. Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
3. Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
4. Stop watching TV and turn off bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
5. Charge your phone in another room.
6. Read a book instead of scrolling through socials.

Stick To A Sleep Routine

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 (Source). One study noted that participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep (Source). So if you want those big nights out on the weekends, you have to have a big night every night lol

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 (how superhuman would you feel if you could get to that point?).

Lay Off The Booze

It may be very tempting to have those 1 or 2 beers/wines to help you get into the sleepy mood, however having a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. It’s known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns - Yikes! (Source).

Create The Ultimate Bedroom Environment

Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night’s sleep. This can include temperature, noise, external lights, and even furniture arrangement!

To optimise your bedroom environment, try to minimise external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable comfortable place to get your z’s.

Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly affect sleep quality. As you may have experienced during the summer or in hot locations, it can be very hard to get a good night’s sleep when it’s too warm. One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise (Source). So if you’re wondering if it’s worth splashing out on aircon or a fan, the answer is most definitely yes!

Also, it’s worth spending the extra money on quality bedding… Create the ‘hotel experience’ at home and prioritise snuggling up in soft, clean sheets on a comfy mattress.

Eat Earlier In The Evening & Say Goodbye To Late Night Snacks

Eating late at night may negatively affect both sleep quality and the natural release of HGH and melatonin (Source). That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well.

In one study, a high carb meal eaten 4 hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster (Source). Note, carbs don’t necessarily mean pasta and bread… Fruits and vegetables are considered complex carbs :) 4 hours might be asking a bit much, but I would recommend eating your dinner at least 1-2 hours before hitting the hay.

Take It Easy On The Caffeine

When consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. In one study, consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality (Source).

Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping (Source).

If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, stick with decaffeinated coffee or try a yummy herbal tea alternative. We recommend Chamomile tea for its calming properties.

Enjoy A Relaxing Bath Or Shower

A relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better. Studies indicate that they can help improve overall sleep quality and help people — especially older adults — fall asleep faster (Source). In one study, taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep (Source). Better yet! Add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to your bath/shower for the ultimate relaxation experience.

Move During The Day

It’s super important for you to find time to move during the day. Daily exercise has across-the-board benefits for health, and the changes it initiates in energy use and body temperature can promote solid sleep. Although, most experts advise against intense exercise close to bedtime because it may hinder your body’s ability to effectively settle down before sleep.

Create The Ultimate Bedtime Ritual

Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.

Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia (Source). Some of these techniques include listening to relaxing music, gentle stretching, diffusing essential oils, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualisation.

O-Connect offers a number of classes and practices that would make the ideal addition to your bedtime ritual, here’s a few to get you started:

Restorative Yin Yoga For Deep Sleep with Hassan (44-Minutes)

Bedtime Yoga Nidra with Dawn (20-Minutes)

The Yogi Breath with Alysa (8-Minutes)

Remember to try out different methods and find what works best for you.

Happy Sleeping!