Sleep is a pillar and absolutely fundamental to human health. Some experts would say that it’s just as important as diet and exercise. Sleeping impacts and supports many functions in the body some of the most important including healthy brain function, boosted immune system, reduced stress, and even supported heart health. While it is very evident that sleep is important, many people just aren’t getting enough of it. Statistics from the National Institutes of Health in 2023 show that 7%-19% of adults do not get enough sleep and 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders. There are multiple factors that can contribute to sleep conditions and deprivation, especially in the modern world we live in today. Artificial sources of blue light such as fluorescent light, LED TVs, computer monitors, smartphones, and tablet screens can all contribute to suppressing the secretion of the hormone melatonin. Drinking alcohol, medications, caffeine, and other factors can also contribute. If you’re dealing with sleep issues, there are things you can do to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Although it could take time, with the right habits in place you can definitely get to a place of feeling rested and restored.
Our Top Sleep Hacks
Sunlight exposure first thing in the morning:
You may have heard of the circadian rhythm before, essentially it is a 24-hour cycle which is part of the body’s internal clock. The circadian rhythm is integral in the sleep-wake cycle of the body and it is greatly impacted by light. One of the ways the circadian rhythm is being significantly impacting humans today is the lack of sunshine we are getting, especially when we rise in the morning. Scientific research proves that the onset of sunlight synchronizes the body’s internal biological clock. In fact, Andrew Huberman who is a popular neuroscientist said this on X, “Viewing morning sunlight increases morning cortisol levels by 50%, which is a good thing (early in the day) because it increases immune function, alertness, and “sets” a timer to fall asleep ~14-16 hours later. On clear days do 5-10min. Overcast days 20-30min. Don’t stare.”
This means that even if you live in a climate that isn’t always sunny, you can still benefit from getting exposure to overcast days first thing in the morning.
Find a relaxing nighttime routine
Are you potentially overstimulating yourself too close to bedtime and having a hard time winding down? It might be a good idea to implement a relaxing nighttime routine. Preparing for sleep will cue the body that it is time to wind down. Some activities that have been shown to promote relaxation include yoga, meditation, listening to calming music, and reading a relaxing book. Every body is different and when it comes to a establishing a nighttime routine that works for you it’s all about experimentation and trial & error. One thing is proven for sure – dimming the lights in the evening will cue the body for sleep. Try to avoid blue light if at all possible in order to signal that it’s time for sleep.
Try taking relaxing supplements
Many of us can’t always control the amount of stress or busy schedules in our day-today, but one thing we can do is make the best of those stress levels. Supplements are a great way to support your lifestyle and help you wind-down after a long day. At NutraChamps, we have a handful of supplements that can support a better night’s rest and some of those include tart cherry gummies, melatonin gummies, DreamRite, sleep gummies, CalmSense and Ashwagandha. All of these contain soothing nutrients and vitamins that will promote a sense of calm in the body. Some supplements, such as the ones that contain melatonin, should work more instantly in the body. Whereas supplements like ashwagandha take a bit more time to build up.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Sometimes, a contributing factor to sleep issues can be stress and anxiety. When our mind and body are in sympathetic state which controls the fight or flight response, you may feel that you’re on edge, have racing thoughts, shaky, or even dealing with a faster heartbeat. It doesn’t have to be this extreme, even thinking about the busy workday you have ahead of you tomorrow could be enough to trigger unease in the mind and body. One way that could help you relax and bring you into a parasympathetic mode of “rest and digest” is by practicing progressive muscle relaxation. This technique is used to promote a deep sense of relaxation within the body. It’s practiced by tensing and then releasing one muscle group at a time.
Here is how you can get started:
Find a Quiet Space: Choose a peaceful environment, sit or lie down comfortably, and close your eyes.
Tense and Release: Start from your toes and work your way up, tensing each muscle group for 5-10 seconds, then releasing and relaxing for 20-30 seconds.
Focus on Relaxation: Pay attention to the sensations of relaxation and relief as you release tension. Visualize stress leaving your body.
Deep Breathing and Reopen Your Eyes: After relaxing all muscle groups, take a few deep breaths, then open your eyes. You should feel more relaxed and centered.
Calm your senses
Engaging the senses can be therapeutic, especially when it comes to promoting relaxation and preparing for sleep. For example, it has been proven that scent has a significant effect on human emotional responses. One of the most popular aromas used to assist with sleep is lavender. This herb has been shown to work as a anxiolytic (anxiety relief) and increases calmness from within. Lavender has been shown to interact with the neurotransmitter GABA which helps to quiet the brain. Some other essential oils that may be useful for promoting relaxation are chamomile oil, bergamot, peppermint, cedarwood, and sandalwood.
Another way you can powerfully engage your senses to feel more at ease is through sound. Some people have found that white noise can make a solid impact in getting better quality sleep. If you live in an apartment or get easily awakened by outside noise, a white noise machine may help to block out that sound and keep you in a deep snooze.
If you’ve been dealing with sleep issues, hopefully these hacks can eventually make a difference in your life and allow you to relax and feel more at ease. Remember that stress and anxiety are a big underlying factor in sleep disturbance and managing those in the best possible could already make a difference in feeling more calm and relaxed. We’re curious to know, which one of these sleep hacks would you try first? Let us know by leaving a comment!