Evidence shows that compared to people just 20 years ago, we are getting less sleep and this is a huge problem. Not getting enough sleep affects your concentration, your ability to train or recover as well as you should, and even your waistline. Contributing factors can include how busy we all are at work, our nutritional habits, and that phone you’re glued to all day and night. Sometimes ever with a nice room and fresh air, we just can’t get to sleep. Rest assured, these sleeping tools and tips will have you drifting off in no time.
Regardless of the cause of our social insomnia, it needs a solution. Sleep is vital for a long, happy and healthy life.
5 Tips for Improved Sleep
If you want to make your transition into dreamland an easy and pleasant one, you’ll want to consider the following tips:
1) Put the Phone Away Earlier
You might be putting the phone down once you’re in bed, but it needs to start even earlier. Your phone emits a ton of bright “blue” light which tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime. And if it’s still daytime, there’s no need for sleep. It’s a hormonal thing, not your imagination, so don’t ignore this one.
If you absolutely must have your phone on in the hour or so before bed, turn the screen’s brightness down or use an app to eliminate the blue light that keeps you awake.
2) Avoid Sugar, Eat More Protein
We don’t need to tell you why eating sugar before bed is a bad idea. Eating more protein, however, is smart if you want a restful night’s sleep. Your body does most of its repairing when you sleep, and you need protein to heal up. Eat more protein and you’ll grow lean muscle while you sleep and prevent midnight snacking.
3) Find the Right Supplements
Luckily, scientists have combined the most useful sleep supplements into one handy product. Our favorite supplement for sleep, which is especially helpful for those of you who do intense exercise on a daily basis, is ZMA. ZMA is a combination of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6, which work together to aid sleep and recovery while reducing muscle soreness.
Note: If you need further relief from sore muscles the Groom+Style review team has compiled a list of the best handheld massagers.
4) Eliminate the Light
Just like it’s a good idea to turn the phone down or off before bed, it’s also a good idea to block out any light coming from the windows. Street lights and ambient light from other rooms all play havoc with your brain’s efforts to get you to sleep (and to helping you stay asleep).
Try installing thicker curtains in your home. If you’re really extreme, go for full blackout curtains and a towel under the door. You can always switch back if it’s not to your liking.
5) No Caffeine After 5:00 p.m.
You don’t want caffeine after 5:00 p.m. Caffeine’s has a half-life of around five hours, which means if you have a coffee at 5:00 PM, half of that caffeine is still in your body at 10:00 PM. If you want a more restful night’s sleep, you really need to cut back on the afternoon coffee. Instead, replace caffeinated drinks with herbal teas and infusions. You’ll just want to avoid green tea, as it does contain caffeine.
7 Sleeping Tools for More Rest at Night
1) ZMA Supplements
We’ve already mentioned these, but ZMA supplements are right at the top of our list for a good reason. ZMA not only helps you to fall asleep in the first place, it also helps make your sleep more restful and reduce muscle soreness from exercise.
2) Alaska Bear Sleep Mask
Made from premium silk, the Alaska Bear Sleep Mask is one of the most comfortable around, and its simplicity is wonderful. Block out excess light and signal to your brain that it’s time for sleep.
3) CozyPhones Sleep Headphones
Comfortable sleep headphones can be extremely difficult to find, being either too big or not providing enough sound-filtering. CozyPhones are one of the few brands we’ve come across which are lightweight and soundproof enough to work on planes, at home and on long road trips. They make a variety of styles for kids and super-lightweight lycra material is a joy to wear.
4) White Noise Machines
Noise machines are, as any new parent will tell you, a lifesaver. They produce gentle rolling soundscapes of static frequencies, ocean waves, wind and rain, and even steam engines. The choices are endless, and they’re great for both adults and kids. We’ve done a whole piece on the best noise machines on the market.
5) Sleep-Friendly LED Light Bulbs
Blue light suppresses your melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Phone screens, laptops and other electronics do the same. In addition to putting your phone away long before you plan to go to bed, we also recommend switching out your bedroom light bulbs. The difference in sleep quality can be dramatic.
6) Breathe Right Extra Clear Nasal Strips
If blocked airways are the reason you can’t get to sleep or stay asleep, then fortunately there’s an easy fix. Breathe Right strips fit snugly across the bridge of your nose and can help to open up your nasal passages, making it easier for you to breathe.
7) Herbal Teas and Infusions
Plenty of people need a cup of something hot to help them drift off, but the amount of caffeine in tea and coffee (even green tea) could be sabotaging your slumber. Fruit infusions and those with sleep-friendly herbal extracts such as chamomile are a better choice for evening and night-time drinking.
Sleep affects your entire life, from your mood and concentration to how well and how quickly your muscles recover after exercise. Not getting enough sleep is counterproductive and detrimental to your health, so relax (cut back on the electronics) and get an early night tonight. No amount of good living and self-care can compare with getting a good eight hours every night.