By a show of hands: Who among us feels like they’re getting enough sleep? By that, I mean they’re sleeping as soundly as they’d like, for as long as they’d like? OK – this exercise would be more effective in a classroom setting, but I’m guessing there’s not too many hands raised. A recent survey of 25,000 people by SleepScore labs found that 75% of people get less than 7 hours of sleep at night.
I realize that “life” – work, kids, social – has a huge impact on our struggle to get enough sleep. We’ve put together some tips that help maximize the time you DO have.
Be smart about your caffeine use.
I word it this way as I realize “eliminate” is a big ask. Even for myself, a pre-workout serum first thing in the morning is a great way to manufacture energy for the gym, a jog, bike ride, or whatever activities I am up for. That said, I specifically looked for a pre-workout mix that is lower in caffeine but still does the job. I settled on Transparent Labs and am happy with the results, particularly the fact that I get no “jitters” after using it, my concentration on work is strong after, and it doesn’t interfere with my sleep. You can find that product here.
Many of you prefer coffee, soda, tea or the like for an early “jolt.” A new product called MUD/WTR provides that energy boost 1/7th of the caffeine. Instead it is filled with ingredients like Cacao, Masali Chai, Chaga & more. Check it out here. AllWell does not have a working relationship with either Transparent Labs or MUD/WTR – these are just my suggestions to caffeine-intensive alternatives.
Also, I’d institute a hard cutoff on caffeine for whatever time you can live with. Noon works for me. Go strictly caffeine free after that, and you’ll find your mind to be more willing to “wind down” at night when your body is already requiring it.
Specifically, there are 3 beverages that studies have shown can help you sleep before bedtime.
Warm milk is believed to be associated with the effects of tryptophan on the brain. That is a chemical building block for the substance serotonin, which is a building block for the sleep-wake transition.
Chamomile tea, unlike other teas, is caffeine free. It also has flavonoids that interact with the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. This assists in transitioning your mind to be sleep ready.
Tart cherry juice is shown to create the natural production of melatonin, which in turn aids your sleep cycle.
Skip the screens.
BIG ASK – I am aware! People have long been falling asleep to television. With social media being so prevalent now, many may think it’s harmless to crash while scrolling through Twitter or Instagram.
Not so. “The light from these devices — and the emotions that can result from checking email or social media sites — can make it harder to unwind and fall asleep,” says Richard Blackburn1, PhD, sleep psychologist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. Blackburn explained that the blue light from your computer or phone actually blocks the release of melatonin. A practical suggestion is to put your phone into “night mode” – but really what is best is to skip the electronics all together. Reading a book is a great substitute to relax your brain.
Additionally, we’d recommend skipping that late night glass of wine or beer. For many, this is a nighttime ritual – and it does help you get sleepy. But those effects are short-term. According to Dr. Blackburn, “Alcohol depresses the nervous system, so a nightcap may help some people fall asleep. But this effect disappears after a few hours and may lead to waking up throughout the night.”
Finally, it is scientifically proven that exercise does assist with sleep. There are Yoga workouts and other exercises under the Mindfulness tab on the Allwell.io app that can have practical, sustainable effects of helping you achieve regular sleep. I particularly like two of the “Sounds” options – Campfire & Waterfall – as the soundtrack to my night’s sleep. Try them, and let us know in our Community section how it goes!
– Johnny Premier, COO of Allwell
1 Richard Blackburn, PHD, “16 Ways To Get A Better Nights Sleep Without Pill Popping” – https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/16-ways-get-better-night-s-sleep-without-popping-pill-ncna756311