In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, Peach Vitamins is bringing you our best sleep tips. Check out our recent blog post about herbal sleep remedies. In addition to taking herbs, there are also plenty of things you can do to improve your sleep without buying a single supplement. Read on for the best completely free things you can do to sleep better.
1. Make your room completely dark
Any amount of light from charging devices, streetlights, or an alarm clock can negatively impact your sleep. The light suppresses melatonin, your body’s sleep hormone. Close your blinds before bed, or pin a sheet over the window if light still seeps through. Turn your alarm clock away from you. Put your phone or tablet face down, or under a piece of dark fabric if necessary to block any light they emit.
2. Create a bedtime routine
Having a regular routine that relaxes you prepares your body for a good night’s rest. For the best results, begin your routine at the same time every night so you get your circadian rhythm on a regular schedule. Try one or any combination of the following activities in an order that suits you: drink a cup of caffeine free herbal tea, take a hot bath or shower, smell a sleep sachet or calming essential oils, meditate, do some calm yoga or light stretching, read a book, or journal (either writing down what you have to do the next day to get it out of your head and onto paper, the highlight of your day, or a few things you are grateful for).
3. Avoid alcohol or heavy meals at night
Alcohol might temporarily sedate you, but it actually disrupts your REM cycle, meaning it will interfere with the later part of your sleep cycle. Heavy meals also take energy and effort for your body to process, so they will make it harder to get deep sleep. If you are hungry before bed or in the middle of the night, eat a light snack (think 100-150 calories) that have a combination of complex carbs and protein.
4. Try meditation or breathing exercises
Download a free meditation app on your phone or subscribe to a podcast on your computer for calming guided meditations (like this free one). Alternatively, just sit and try to be present, not letting yourself follow the trains of thought running through your head. You can even do something as simple as counting your breaths. Notice the pace of your breathing. Then, try to match the length of your breaths in and out, and slow them down. If you started breathing in 3 counts and out 4 counts, extend your breathing so you are breathing 8-10 counts in and out, keeping them even.
5. Exercise in the morning (especially outside)
Getting exercise first thing in the morning will wake you up, give you energy for the day, and later will help you sleep better. By the time your day is over, your body will crave some recovery time, and you will sleep great. Bonus points if you get out and get some natural sunlight at the same time! Sunlight helps set your circadian clock for the day (and you’ll get some of your RDA of vitamin D too).