Everyone has a bad night or two, but some people have more trouble fixing their sleep schedule than others. If you find yourself up past midnight too often, or just want to fall asleep in under 2 hours for once, these tips can help you on your way to a healthier and more consistent sleep for when you want to sleep.
1 - Blue Light
Every website tells you about the dangers of blue light, but what does it really do? Is it so much worse than red light? The answer is actually in our evolution.
Our brains are hardwired to be awake in the daytime, when it is bright and the sky is blue, and asleep at night, when it is dark. Exposing yourself to a lot of blue light will tell your brain that it’s still bright and blue out there, delaying the production of all those lovely sleep chemicals.
Doing things as simple as downloading a blue light filter to activate at night, and turning down the brightness of your devices, will help your brain shift into sleep mode earlier.
2 - Noise
There’s some conflicting opinions about how noisy it should be when you’re falling asleep. For about 30% of people, white noise (this can be anything from ambient sounds outside, a spouse snoring, or a fan on) helps them fall asleep, as the droning helps their minds relax.
However, having the sound continue through the night can cause problems for more sensitive people, making their sleep less restful. This isn’t true for everyone, but it’s good to consider if you’re having trouble.
3 - Temperature
One of the main reasons people get used to sleeping with the fan on, or the window open, is because they otherwise get too hot at night. Temperature can be the most difficult thing to control if you’re trying to relax, but there are some things you can do.
Simple things like opening the window or kicking off the blankets can help most people, others do things like use a cool cloth on their head to relax and regulate. The use of pillows and mattresses with cooling technology can help those who produce a lot of heat during the night from baking themselves.
4 - Routine
It’s often understated, but a steady routine is what makes things happen. Having a 10 minute routine leading up to bed time, every night, that ends in trying to sleep will prepare your brain for rest so it’s ready when you are. Doing things that disrupt the routine, like checking your phone, talking to people, or just listening to music can make the routine essentially pointless if it doesn’t lead to sleep. The point is to create a pavlovian response in your brain to sleep. If you do the same thing every time it’s time to sleep, doing that thing will cause you to fall asleep.
5 - Sleep aids
Not everyone can manage their sleep without help, but there’s plenty of options that don’t involve medication. Things like weighted blankets can offer a relaxing and grounding kind of stimulus that helps you relax. Sometimes it’s as simple as sleeping with an eye mask or earplugs to block out external things that might be keeping you up. There’s even a myriad of helpful apps that can help you track and manage your sleep, you can read about our favourites here.
6 - Medication
For some people, fixing their schedule and falling asleep on time is just impossible. Talking to your doctor can offer up some other options that are catered to you. Melatonin is well known and over the counter, since melatonin is just the chemical your brain produces to fall asleep, it’s pretty safe. However, it doesn’t work that well for everyone.
You can ask your doctor about prescription sleep aids, which can help you get back on track. Certain over the counter antihistamines can also serve as sleep aids, such as Benadryl, but you shouldn’t use it frequently unless your doctor recommends it.
Everyone has Gotta Sleep, but everyone's needs are different. See what works best for you, and get the rest for you.