07 May Protips on How to Sleep Better at Night, Part 2
Hope you slept well this past week! If you’re still struggling to get a good night’s sleep, we’ve got more protips for you — and in case you missed last week’s article, here is Part 1.
And now, here’s Part 2 of our Protips on How to Sleep Better at Night series.
6 Take a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed. Often used to treat insomnia, melatonin may be one of the easiest ways to fall asleep faster.
In one study, 2 mg of melatonin before bed improved sleep quality and energy the next day and helped people fall asleep faster. Another study found that half of the group fell asleep faster and had a 15% improvement in sleep quality.
Melatonin is also useful when traveling and adjusting to a new time zone, as it helps your body’s circadian rhythm return to normal.
Start with a low dose to assess your tolerance, and then increase it slowly as needed. Since melatonin may alter brain chemistry, it is advised that you check with a medical professional before use.
Protip: Take 1–5 mg of melatonin around 30–60 minutes before heading to bed.
7Take Another Type of Supplement
There are several other supplements that can induce relaxation and help you sleep, including:
- Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with many benefits, it may aid in sleep, relaxation and stress reduction, but the evidence is limited. Take 250 mg 30–60 minutes before bed.
- Glycine: A few studies show that 3 grams of the amino acid glycine can improve sleep quality.
- Valerian root: Several studies suggest that valerian can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality. Take 500 mg before bed.
- Magnesium: Responsible for over 600 reactions within your body, magnesium can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality.
- L-theanine: An amino acid, l-theanine can improve relaxation and sleep. Take 100–200 mg before bed.
- Lavender: A powerful herb with many health benefits, lavender can induce a calming and sedentary effect to improve sleep. Take 80–160 mg containing 25–46% linalool.
While they are no magic bullet for sleep issues, they can be useful when combined with other natural sleeping strategies.
Protip: Only try one of these supplements at a time! Playing scientist with your body chemistry could do more harm than good.
Contrary to popular belief, downing a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring. It also inhibits the body’s ability to enter REM sleep — the sleep of dreams.
It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.
Protip: Much like caffeine, alcohol can have a majorly disruptive effect on your sleep. Try to avoid alcohol before bed.
9Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly impact sleep quality. As you may have experienced during the summer or in hot locations, it can be very hard to get a good night’s sleep when it’s too warm.
In some cases, bedroom temperature affects sleep quality more than external noise. That means a blazing-hot room can disrupt your Z’s more than the busy highway outside your bedroom window!
Around 70 degrees seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people, although it depends on your preferences and habits. Keep in mind that the body produces a lot of heat during sleep, so aim for colder temperatures to help you fall asleep.
Protip: Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. If you need to colder or warmer, fiddle with the thermostat until you find that sweet spot. If you’re sharing the bed with someone, you should probably have a conversation about your experiment first!
10Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
Many people find that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good night’s sleep. These factors include temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement.
Setting up a proper sleep space is especially important for those who work nights or shifting schedules, when the sounds of an active household or the noises outside your window can easily disrupt sleep.
- Experiment with bedroom temperature (as noted above).
- Try blackout curtains to shield yourself from intrusive outside light. Many types of these curtains are also insulated to keep your room cool in the summer and warm in the winter!
- If your sleeping environment is particularly noisy, try earplugs, or invest in a white noise machine.
- Place objects in front of your alarm clock — sometimes those glowing numbers can create a lot more light than you’d expect.
- Cleanliness of your sleep space might help, too. Some find it hard to relax in a disorganized space. Give your bedroom a good clean before going to bed; the calming effect of a cleaned-up room may help.
Protip: When you’re trying to sleep, your sleep space is yours, so make it yours!
That’s it for Part 2 of our Protips on How to Sleep Better at Night series. Stay tuned for more in the future — and have a good night’s rest!