5 HACKS For Better Sleep

Circadian Rhythms are biological clocks that signal to our bodies what functions should occur when. They influence lots of different areas of our lives, such as our metabolism, immune system and our sleep cycle. As our circadian rhythms are influenced by external factors we can enhance those factors that signal to the body that we need to sleep, to increase our quality and amount of sleep we get. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Light

Light is a big factor in when we fall asleep and wake up - when it’s light we feel more awake, and when its dark we are more sleepy. We can utilize this by reducing light input as we get closer to the time we want to fall asleep. For example, instead of switching off the main light as we try to go to sleep and turning on dimmer lamps up to two hours before bed can influence our bodies to start preparing to sleep.

2. Food

The food you eat can also impact the way you sleep, as certain foods inhibit rest. Caffeine is obviously a big no if you are looking to get to sleep earlier - many professionals suggest cutting out any caffeinated drinks or foods (including chocolate!) even from lunchtime. Alcohol is also important to avoid before bed, as while it can make you sleepy, it can make your sleep lighter, and mess with the natural cycles of levels of sleep you experience throughout the night. Avoiding alcohol within four hours before bedtime will ensure that you are getting the deep sleep you need to feel rested in the morning.

3. Diet

If you are interested in making changes to your diet to help with your quality/amount of sleep, increasing certain foods in your diet can help. Foods high in magnesium, zinc and melatonin are great enhancers for sleep, and this can include:

  • Kiwi
  • Tart cherries
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • White rice
  • Fatty fish

4. Warm Showers and Baths

Utilising warm showers and baths can help you feel sleepy as they influence your body’s core temperature, but possibly not in the way you would think. When you are in a hot shower or bath, your heat from your body is expressed from your hands and feet. This in turn lowers your core body temperature as your body works to regulate the temperature so you don’t overheat. A drop in core temperature is one of the changes your body makes towards the end of the day so it is associated with falling asleep- enhancing this with a hot shower in turn should strengthen the sleepy feeling.

5. Subconscious links

Subconscious links between being in bed and needing to be alert may be what is stopping you from falling asleep as quickly as you would like. For example, if you are constantly checking emails or taking calls while in bed, you are subconsciously creating an association of your bed and working/socialising, when you should be forming an association with sleep. Making sure you try to keep your bed for mostly sleeping can help to break any associations you may subconsciously hold about needing to be alert while in bed.