Ten Tips For Better Sleep in 2023

Ten Tips For Better Sleep in 2023

Welcome to the new year. It’s a new year, which means ‘new me’, right? Well, we wish it was that easy. The truth is, the ‘new me’ part requires a little more work than some of us would like. The good news though, is that we’re making it easy to transform one area of your life this 2023. And if you haven’t worked it out yet, we’re talking about our favourite ‘s’ word. Sleep.

But not just any sleep, better sleep. And before you say it, we know, we’re not here to make miracles come true and promise you’ll get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night, but we are here to provide you with the right tools to enhance your sleep this year. Keep reading to find out more.

Why does good-quality sleep matter?

You probably know what it’s like to wake up feeling less-than-fresh after a long sleepless night. And you also probably know the general reasons why sleep matters for our general well-being and day-to-day functioning. Getting enough sleep helps reset, refuel and recover the mind and body, including assisting in the functionality of our hormones, circulatory system, metabolism, immune system, mental cognition and many other key functions.

So, if you are not getting a good night’s sleep you may find yourself foggy, sluggish, more susceptible to sickness, gaining weight, and more fine lines and wrinkles, among other telltale signs. This is because getting adequate sleep allows your body to perform tasks that are essential to your health.

One example includes the production of cytokines, which regulate immune function including fighting against inflammation and infection that enters the body (Krueger, J. 2008). Another example includes the regulation of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. When we are sleep deprived, our ghrelin levels can significantly increase, leading to more feelings of hunger and in turn, weight gain (Schmid, S et al. 2008).

Tip 1: Increase bright light

Now, hear us out. This may sound contradictory to getting a good night’s sleep, but in fact, it’s one of the best things you can do. Why? Because your body has a natural clock known as your circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep and wake cycle.

This means getting bright light, ideally natural sunlight, during the day can enhance your quality of sleep and the amount of sleep you get (Fetveit, A et al. 2003). In fact, studies have shown that for every additional hour spent outside, an additional 30 minutes of sleep can be achieved, with a decreased sleep-onset latency (Blume, C et al. 2019).

Tip 2: Avoid caffeine late in the day

You know that liquid gold that gets you through those mid afternoons slumps where you wish you where anywhere but work? We though so. We’ve all been there. But, if you’re struggling to get to sleep, struggling with anxiety or experiencing sleep distrubances, you may be consuming one too many cups of coffee late in the day.

While caffeine can enhance cognitive function, performance and alertness, it can negatively affect your circadian melatonin rhythms (Burke, T et al. 2015). One particular placebo-controlled study indicated that consuming a double shot espresso just 3 hours before bedtime, caused a 40 minute delay of the circadian melatonin rhythm (Burke, T et al. 2015).

Tip 3: Don’t snack just before bed

You’ve had dinner and now it’s about 20 minutes before your bed time. But, you’re craving a snack. Maybe it’s those chips sitting in your pantry that you’ve been eyeing off all week. While it sounds irresistible, it can negatively affect your sleep patterns.

Snacking late at night before bed can decrease the release of HGH and melatonin, meaning you may experience a delay in your ability to fall asleep. But it doesn’t stop there. Instead of resting, your body has to work hard to digest and metabolise the food and can increase the susceptibility to unwated weight gain (Kinsey, A et al. 2015).

Tip 4: Reduce long or irregular naps

We’re not saying don’t take a nap, but we are saying, take shorter naps. There is power in the ‘power nap’. But not just any power nap - one that is 30 minutes or less can avoid harm to your sleep routine (Dhand, R et al. 2006).

Long or irregular naps can contribute to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, as it can alter your internal body clock (Groeger, J et al. 2011)

Tip 5: Block out artificial light

It’s a no-brainer but blocking out any artificial light while you sleep is key to a good night’s sleep. Many of us live in urbanised areas under the phenomena called ‘skyglow’. Whether it’s the street light peaking through the gap in your blinds or your alarm clock on your bedside table, artificial light disrupts your internal body clock leading to a reduction in melatonin production (Gooley, J et al. 2011).

This hormone is responsible for our sleep wake cycle, making it critical that we protect its functionality. So to cut down on light pollution for a better night’s sleep, opt for a light-blocking eye mask and blue light-blocking glasses for any screen activity before bed.

Tip 6: Optimise bedroom temperature 

​​Many of us may know the importance of a good night's sleep, but not many people know that the temperature plays a crucial role as well. If your room temperature is too hot or too cold, you many experience sleep disturbances, decreased sleep efficiency and less time spent in REM sleep (McHill, A. 2014). Scientists have conclusively determined that the ideal temperature for even the best quality rest is between 17 to 20 degrees celsius (Sleep Foundation. 2022).

Too cold or too hot can both prevent you from falling asleep quickly and achieving the deep stages of sleep necessary for a truly rejuvenating night. Therefore, it's important to make sure that your bedroom is kept at this optimum temperature for an optimal slumber every night.

Tip 7: Keep consistent sleep wake times

Many of us find ourselves sleep deprived and fatigued, but we are often unaware that it is due to inconsistent sleep wake times. Having a regular bedtime can be helpful in promoting quality sleep as having an established schedule lets our bodies know how to prepare for rest.

Studies have shown that not only do people feel more rested when having a daily nighttime ritual, but they also experience less difficulties with concentrating on tasks during the day (Alhola, P et al. 2007). If you want to start seeing the benefits of quality sleep, it’s important to consider creating a routine and maintaining regular bedtimes. Consistency is key. 

Tip 8: Try sleep-inducing supplements

Taking sleep supplements can be a great way to improve the quality of sleep that you are getting each night. Natural, non-habit forming ingredients, such as melatonin, lavender, valerian and chamomile, are often included in sleep supplements and help to promote restful nights. When taken at the right time before bed, they can bring on drowsiness and ensure more hours of uninterrupted slumber.

Taking a sleep supplement is known to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, meaning less tossing and turning in bed. Sleep supplements can also help people stay asleep throughout the night, by providing support for healthy cortisol levels that are important for balancing moods and managing stress during the day (Shocat, T. 1998). With consistent use of sleep supplements over time, many people have experienced fewer restless nights and improved energy during their waking hours (Shocat, T. 1998).

Tip 9: Switch up your bedding

Everyday factors such as stress, technology, or improper bedding can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Changing your bedding may be one simple way to improve the quality of your sleep. Using pillows and mattresses designed to support your back, neck, and head can make all the difference in how well you rest as well as investing in high-quality sheets that are free from allergens or irritants could enable you to wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

You may have heard cotton, flannel, and bamboo are the most popular materials for bedding, but did you know that silk can actually be the most beneficial? Not only is it an incredibly soft and comfortable material to sleep on, but it can help regulate body temperature better than other fabrics. Silk provides a more even layer of insulation than a traditional duvet, so you won't get too hot or cold throughout the night.

Additionally, sleeping on silk helps keep your facial skin moisturised by reducing friction and irritation associated with more abrasive fabrics common in some sheets and pillowcases. Ultimately, making the switch to luxurious silk bedding can lead to a much higher quality of sleep - improving both the duration and depth of restfulness that you experience at night.

Tip 10: Exercise, exercise, exercise

Exercise is a great way to promote better sleep and can make a significant difference in the overall quality of sleep. It helps people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and feel more well-rested afterwards. For example, exercise releases hormones like serotonin which relax the body and help regulate your body's natural rhythm so that sleep comes easier (Young, S. 2007).

Additionally, consistent physical activity can reduce stress and anxiety which are two of the leading causes of insomnia (Young, S. 2007). By improving your overall emotional health, it may become easier for you to drift off into peaceful slumber. Exercise is an excellent remedy for promoting better sleep!

Reference List:

Krueger, J, ‘The Role of Cytokines in Sleep Regulation’, Curr Pharm Des, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2692603/ 

Schmid, S et al. 2008, ‘A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men’, J Sleep Res, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18564298/ 

Blume, C et al. 2019, ‘Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood’, Somnologie, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6751071/ 

Fetveit, A et al. 2003, ‘Bright light treatment improves sleep in institutionalised elderly - an open trial’, Int J Geriatr Psychiatry, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12789673/ 

Kinsey, A et al. 215, ‘The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating: Old and New Perspectives’, Nutrients, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425165/ 

Burke, T et al. 2015, ‘Effects of caffeine onthe humnan circadian clock in vivo and in vitro’, Sci Transl Med, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26378246/ 

Dhand, R et al. 2006, ‘Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults’, Curr Opin Pulm Med, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17053484/ 

Groeger, J et al. 2011, ‘Effects of sleep inertia after daytime naps vary with executive load and time of day’, Behavioural Neuroscience, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21463024/ 

Sleep foundation, ‘The Best Temperature for Sleep’, Sleep Foundation, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/best-temperature-for-sleep 

McHill, A et al. 2014, ‘Effects of Caffieine on Skin and Core Temperatures, Alertness, and Recovery Sleep During Circadian Misalignment’, Journal of Biological Rhythms, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0748730414523078 

Alhola, P et al. 2007, ‘Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance’, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/

Schocat, T et al. 1998, ‘Melatonin: the key to the gate of sleep’, Ann Med, accessed 22 Dec 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9556097/ 

Young, S. 2007, ‘How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs’, Journal of Pscyhiatry and Neuroscience, accessed 22 Dec 2022,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/ 

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