9 Tips for Better Sleep (and Immune Support)
November 8, 2022
Go to bed. Toss, turn … zzzz. Wake up … toss, turn … zzzz. Wake up … toss, turn … zzzz.
Sound familiar? You’re not getting enough sleep, and that’s not healthy.
A good night’s sleep is as essential to our physical and mental wellness as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Optimizing the length and quality of that sleep can make a big difference in a variety of ways, from improving motivation at work the next day to enhancing your overall health and happiness.
We know what you’re thinking – how can I sleep better? And, just how much sleep is enough in today’s fast-paced world? According to Statistics Canada, it's recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. That said, about a third of Canadian adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep due to parenting responsibilities, work schedules (night-shift employees), sleep disorders, medical conditions, and evening habits – like using screens, watching TV, and drinking coffee.
Luckily, we’ve compiled our top tips for sleeping better so you can finally discover how to fall asleep, stay asleep, and give your body the rest it deserves.
When sleep suffers, the repercussions can extend beyond crankiness and persistent yawning to more serious ailments. For instance, the CDC reports that today’s sleep-deprived are more likely to be obese and report chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and depression, compared with those who get enough shut-eye.
Jillian Dowling, a certified sleep consultant and owner of Sleep Wise, a holistic sleep solutions provider, notes a common problem interfering with improving our sleeping habits: “We don’t value our sleep until we’re not getting it,” she says. Prioritizing sleep and investing in healthy routines—even when you feel rested enough—is crucial.
Before we jump into our tips on how to sleep at night, it’s important to first understand how sleep can affect our health.
Learning how to sleep at night and getting consistent (and adequate) rest is a vital part of every person’s overall health and well-being – right up there with regular exercise and eating a balanced diet. Adequate sleep can support your immune system, not to mention benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Why, you ask? Shorter sleep durations may cause your body to release more inflammatory cells, which can decrease immune function. When we get at least seven hours of sleep a night, our bodies can release proteins and antibodies that help fight infections and inflammation – all while we’re at rest.
When our daily routines are forced off track, catching zzz’s can be nothing but a dream.
But don’t worry. You’re not doomed to toss and turn all night. Make sleep a top priority and try some of these tips on how to sleep at night and get back to a healthy place.
Would you believe us if we told you that one of the easiest ways to help sleep better is by unplugging your devices before bed? Sending a quick email on your smartphone before turning off your lights may seem harmless, but that last-minute message could stand in the way of a solid night of sleep. “That light emitting from your phone, laptop or television is actually suppressing the release of melatonin,” warns Dowling. “Without that melatonin, you’re not able to fall asleep.”
Because the hormone melatonin plays such a critical role in the natural sleep-wake cycle, Dowling recommends avoiding exposure to electronics for at least one hour before bedtime.
Snoring sleep partners? Noisy traffic? Loud neighbors or roommates?
Consider a white noise machine or a loud fan to drown out the racket and whir you to sleep.
You could also investigate soundproof curtains to keep the outside noise outside and carpeting to muffle noise from below. And, rearrange your bedroom to place your bed the farthest away from any noise sources.
The lowest cost solutions are earplugs and having a friendly but direct conversation with your neighbors about being considerate. (No, bongo drums at 2 a.m. on a weekday are not OK, even if they did invite you to the party.)
Are some ways of sleeping better than others? Actually, yes – at least when it comes to your environment. Keep your bedroom tidy, cool, dark, and quiet.
If outside noise isn’t a problem, open the window for fresh air. If it is a problem or outside is filled with allergens, consider an air purifier like the Atmosphere Sky™ Air Treatment System to ensure the best air quality for sleeping.
Fresh, clean bedding helps, too, especially if it’s scented with your favorite laundry detergent.
And while mattresses can be a major investment, if you haven’t purchased one in a while, your bed may be doing more harm than good.
“Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep,” says Dowling. Although this may mean different things to different people, there are some hard-and-fast rules. Banish electronics. Keep your bedroom clean. “It sounds simple,” says Dowling. “But research shows that a messy home triggers anxiety.” And keep the temperature cool—between 60 and 67 degrees—which can help with sleeping better at night.
Occasional stress can be the thing that keeps you up at night, but restful sleep can help regulate your emotional stability and decrease anxiety.
Just like your light switch, shut off your brain at night with calming activities. Clear your mind and promote better sleep using relaxation techniques, like meditation and breathing exercises or a warm bath, shower, or foot bath.
Wrap your mind around rest with the help of lavender, a natural herb that helps create a calming effect. At bedtime, grab lavender essential oil and apply to your pulse points, including the insides of your wrists, behind your ears and at your temples.
Worries still on your mind? One of the easiest tips for sleeping better is to keep a notepad near your bed to get nagging thoughts out of your head and down on paper. Revisit the next day to organize, prioritize, and delegate.
That cup of joe is a definite no-no past 2 p.m. “Caffeine has an effect on you whether you notice it or not,” warns Dowling. “Although you may not feel it at first, and be able to fall asleep without any problem, caffeine disrupts your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which typically comes in the second half of the night,” she says.
Cutting fluids off about 90 minutes before bed helps minimize the chances of that annoying, middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom.
You should also avoid alcohol or large meals right before bed.
More than soft pillows and eye masks, following a routine is a critical component in identifying how to sleep better at night naturally.
Maybe washing your face and brushing your teeth followed by the application of something that smells soothing can help calm and relax you.
If you’re looking for other ways to help sleep better, put on your pajamas and enjoy some soft music, reading, or meditation. Consider creating a playlist (like this one created by n* by Nutrilite™) or using a meditation app.
It’s also very important to turn off your cell phone, laptop and tablet or switch them to night mode. The artificial blue light from these makes your brain think it’s daytime. That decreases melatonin, and less melatonin makes it harder to fall asleep. Helping your mind settle down after a long day is one of the simplest ways to help sleep become even easier to achieve.
This also means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Doing this for an extended period can set your body’s internal clock so it starts to learn when and how to fall asleep. Case in point: Dowling wakes up promptly every morning—sans alarm clock. Another trick to consider from Dowling: Establish a 30-minute bedtime routine that involves “winding down with a good book or a crossword puzzle.”
Physical activity that you do during the day is one of the most important ways of sleeping better at night. “The healthier we are, the better we treat our bodies during the day, which can have a direct impact on how we sleep at night,” says Dowling. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation reports that a mere 10 minutes of aerobic exercise not only benefits your physical health but can also help you sleep better. Timing is key: Exercising too late in the day can affect cortisol and melatonin levels as well as body temperature—all factors that determine how easily we drift off. Although figures vary based on the individual, the American Council on Exercise offers a simple tip for sleeping better: Avoid exercise three to six hours before bedtime.
Regular exercise helps your body learn how to sleep at night and should be part of your day, but don’t do it just before bed. It has an energizing effect that will hinder sleep.
Although naps shouldn’t be a part of your regular schedule, the National Sleep Foundation reports that a well-timed, midday slumber can “help to improve mood, alertness, and performance.” The downside of a daytime snooze? “If you nap too long, you’ll enter into a deep sleep and wake up feeling terrible,” says Dowling. The sweet spot is 20 to 30 minutes, according to some experts. And, one of the most important tips for sleeping better: try to avoid napping too close to bedtime.
A solid night’s sleep is within reach by committing to a routine and doesn’t need to require a trip to the drugstore. Learning how to sleep better at night naturally means you can reap the physical and emotional benefits of a deep snooze.
Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body and promotes good sleep. Passionflower is a botanical traditionally used to promote a good night’s sleep. You can find both in n* by Nutrilite™ Sweet dreams, blueberry lavender flavored gummies.
Another option is taking a valerian supplement. Nutrilite™ Sleep Health includes a proprietary blend of valerian, hops, and lemon balm to help you relax so you can fall asleep.
Hopefully some of these tips for sleeping better will help, so you have more zzzzzs and less tossing and turning.
Getting started with ways to help sleep better at night can be as simple as committing to a routine and doesn’t need to require a trip to the drugstore. Not to mention, learning how to sleep better at night naturally can create the environment and conditions required to reap the physical and emotional benefits of a deep snooze.
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