Sleep is a foundational part of wellbeing. Your body needs deep, quality sleep to recover and restore your cells after the stresses of a long day. Sleep is especially important for your brain; it’s during sleep that you consolidate memories and repair your neurons.
If you have trouble relaxing at night, or you feel like you’re not rested, even after a full night’s sleep, these four simple steps to get better sleep can help. Start them tonight; you’ll be amazed by the difference they make.
1) Black out your room
Blacking out your room is the simplest and most effective way to improve your sleep.
Your brain gets confused when you expose it to light at night. Keep in mind that artificial light is a very new phenomenon; throughout the vast majority of our evolutionary history, humans have not had much light after sunset. More specifically, we have not had blue light after sunset. Fire, our sole artificial light source for thousands of years, is almost entirely red light — and interestingly, red light does not impact your ability to fall asleep . Perhaps we evolved to be able to fall asleep next to a fire.
Blue light is a different story. Nighttime blue light exposure degrades melatonin , a hormone that you synthesize in the evening to help you sleep, and blue light exposure after sunset also shifts your circadian rhythm — your body’s internal clock that tells you when to sleep and wake up.
Block every bit of light, especially blue light, from entering your bedroom at night. You want your room dark enough that you can’t see your hand when you hold it in front of your face. Even a small amount of light — from your internet router or computer power button, for example — will affect your sleep.
Get blackout shades for your windows, and use something to cover up every little light source in your room, from your WiFi router to the flashing light on your smoke alarm. Electrical tape is a great way to cover small light sources. You’ll be amazed by how much more deeply you sleep when you black out your room.
And since I mentioned it, make sure that internet router is at least 10-15 feet from your bed!
2) Limit blue light before bed
You want to block blue light while you sleep. You also want to limit blue light before you sleep, for the same reasons. Turn off bright artificial lights for the couple hours before bed, switching instead to lights with amber bulbs, like night lights. Doing so will help your melatonin production stay on track and normalize your internal clock, so you can fall asleep at a good hour.
Your phone and computer are also major sources of blue light. If you’re going to use your computer at night, download f.lux; it’s a great free app that syncs with the sunset and replaces all the blue light in your monitor with amber light. It looks a little weird at first, but it’ll improve your sleep.
You can do the same with your phone. Most smartphones have a “night mode” option in their settings that filters out blue light.
3) No caffeine after 2PM
Coffee is great for you in moderation, but for the sake of your sleep, keep your caffeine consumption to the morning. Research shows that having coffee 6 hours before you go to bed still disrupts your sleep . Aim for at least 8 hours between caffeine intake and bedtime. A good rule of thumb is to stop drinking anything caffeinated after 2PM.
If you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine, you may want to cut it out entirely, or switch to something with small amounts of caffeine, like green tea.
4) Take the right sleep supplements
The right supplements can make a world of difference in your sleep quality. I made East West Sleep Savior to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep without waking up, and get more deep, restorative sleep. It has a combination of three potent sleep supplements, all in the right doses:
- Magnesium is an essential mineral and one of the best things you can take for sleep. Magnesium stimulates GABA, your brain’s main calming neurotransmitter. The increased GABA quiets excessive brain activity, which helps you relax and eases anxiety and stress at the cellular level .
People who took magnesium an hour before bed saw a major increase in deep, stage 4 sleep . Another study found that women who took magnesium before bed fell asleep faster and woke up fewer times throughout the night .
Magnesium also plays an essential part in muscle contraction and release. Taking magnesium helps your muscles let go and relax . The decrease in physical tension can help you wind down at night.
Nearly 80% of people are deficient in magnesium , so it’s probably a good idea to take it even if you don’t have trouble sleeping.
- Melatonin is another invaluable sleep supplement. You produce melatonin naturally at night, but if you have trouble falling asleep, supplementing with melatonin can make a big difference. Melatonin decreases the time it takes to fall asleep and helps you stay asleep longer . It also increases REM sleep (that’s the deep sleep when you dream) .
- Magnolia bark is a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it’s been used for centuries as a way to promote healthy, natural sleep. A study of 89 women found that magnolia bark helped them fall asleep faster and decreased sleep disturbances .
East West Sleep Savior will ease you into deep, restorative sleep. Combine it with blacking out your room, avoiding blue light in the evening, and limiting your caffeine to the morning. You’ll be amazed by how much better you sleep, and how good you feel when you wake up.