Do you have trouble sleeping? Whether you experience occasional sleep disruptions or suffer from chronic insomnia, you aren’t alone. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are afflicted with some type of sleep disorder, and that number has only increased in recent years.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important for your emotional and physical wellbeing. A precursor to energy production, you cannot properly function in your day-to-day life without adequate sleep. If you are one of an ever-growing population of individuals who suffer from sleep disruptions, read on for some tips to help you get your sleep schedule back on track.
One: Maintain a consistent sleep pattern
Consistency is key, especially when it comes to maintaining healthy sleep habits. Whenever possible, wake up, get ready for bed, and lay down for sleep at the same times each day. Try to uphold your personal sleep schedule on the weekends, as well.
Developing a consistent bedtime routine can be especially helpful. Emphasize calming activities like drinking a warm cup of tea, taking a relaxing bath, or lounging with a comforting book, and avoid situations that may overstimulate you physically and mentally.
Focusing on stressors like work or school can induce the production of stress hormones like cortisol that alert your senses and make it difficult to calm down. Additionally, late night screen time and blue light exposure likewise promote cortisol and norepinephrine production.
You may think that scrolling on your phone or browsing you favorite social media apps before bed are harmless activities, but studies like this one find that electronic usage within two hours of sleep significantly decreased sleep quality and increased the frequency of sleep disturbances.
Two: Reevaluate your dietary habits
Diet is central to wellness, influencing everything from cardiovascular health and immune status to respiratory function and, you guessed it, healthy sleep. Although a hearty diet is fundamental to good sleep, many are unaware of the link between the two.
Nutrition directly impacts not only energy output, but also the quality of the energy produced. Some foods act as a precursor to a good night’s rest, whereas certain others can lead to insomnia, sleep disturbances, and persistent fatigue.
This study linked inadequate intake of key nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K to significant sleep difficulties. In addition, this study found that junk food such as fast foods and carbonated soft drinks appear to increase the likelihood of sleep disturbances in adolescents.
Researchers recommend foods like walnuts, almonds, fatty fish, kiwis, bananas, oatmeal, and white rice to promote better sleep. In addition, several studies caution against junk foods, high-salt products, processed meats, and caffeine for optimal sleep performance.
It’s important to pay close attention to the foods you eat; however, it’s equally important that you time your food intake properly. Spicy foods and caffeinated beverages consumed several hours prior to bedtime can throw off your sleep schedule, for example. In fact, eating anything directly before you lay down for the night can boost your energy and hinder your ability to fall asleep.
Three: Introduce CBD to your everyday routine
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a popular non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from the legal hemp plant. Its versatility of uses owes to the compound’s mainstream appeal: CBD treats a wide range of ailments, including pervasive sleep disorders.
CBD influences sleep by triggering the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that regulates homeostasis. The hypothalamus contains CB1 endocannabinoid receptors that modulate circadian rhythms, metabolism, and energy accumulation, amongst other important functions. By triggering these receptors, CBD helps the body progress through sleep cycles without interruption.
This study concluded that CBD use significantly increases sleep scores while decreasing anxiety scores in patients diagnosed with sleep and anxiety disorders. This additional study similarly concludes that CBD improves both sleep disturbances and overall sleep quality substantially.
Innovative products make integrating CBD into your daily routine easy and even fun! We love these Dream Gummies from Bee’s Knees Wellness, formulated with 50mg of Full Spectrum CBD, 5mg of CBN (cannabinol), and 3mg of melatonin per gummy to promote better sleep.
Four: Emphasize daily physical activity
Do you find yourself restless after a particularly uneventful day? Our bodies produce energy with the expectation that we deplete that energy by the time we engage our next restful period. When we neglect to expend those energy stores, we are left feeling fidgety and sleepless once bedtime rolls around.
To make matters worse, insufficient sleep one day leads to poor low energy levels the next. A lack of energy makes it difficult to complete everyday tasks and even reduces basic cognitive functioning.
This study concluded that regular exercise increased overall sleep quality and duration across all age groups. Researchers here also found that exercise reduced fatigue, including the ongoing fatigue that accompanies chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis.
Incorporating exercise into your daily schedule can seem like a daunting task; however, your physical routine doesn’t necessarily equate heavy lifting. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day and consider gentle activities like yoga, light stretching, swimming, or a brisk walk to get started.
Five: Prioritize stress management
Stress and lack of sleep go hand in hand. Elevated stress levels prevent meaningful sleep, and frequent sleep disturbances increase feelings of stress and anxiety.
Occasional stress is healthy and natural: it activates the natural fight-or-flight response and helps the mind and body react quickly and intelligently to danger. Chronic, ongoing stress, however, can damage your health and more specifically, hinder your sleep patterns.
When you experience chronic stress, your body releases consistently elevated levels of cortisol, which dysregulates the normal sleep-wake cycle. Overwhelmingly, studies find that daytime stress leads to difficulty falling and staying asleep, reduced deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and overall poor sleep quality at night.
Identifying stress triggers in your life and implementing management strategies can greatly improve your quality of sleep. Some helpful techniques include meditation, journaling, deep breathing exercises, aromatherapy, stress-relief supplements (e.g., CBD or ashwagandha), or positive self-talk. It may also help to assess your priorities and eliminate known stressors in your life.
Difficulty sleeping is no trivial complaint. Foundational to our everyday functioning and wellbeing, good sleep is a necessity that is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of busy modern lifestyles.
If sleep disruptions plague your physical and emotional health, we hope that you consider implementing these steps and find some much-needed relief in your daily sleep routine.