Here’s How To Sleep Better At Night And Wake Rested

What is the best time to exercise to improve sleep?

Studies show that getting your blood moving for at least an hour with a solid exercise routine  such as brisk walking, running or weight lifting in the morning can improve sleep quality at night. Additionally, higher intensity cardio and exercise in the afternoon and no more than 2 hours before bedtime can really add to sleep quality. It should be noted that there is no proven time of day per se for promoting sleep as this likely depends on the individual such as your chronotype, your age, and any underlying health conditions.

Take a warm shower or bath

Try a warm shower or bath pre bedtime to get the body in sleep mode and down regulate the nervous system. Why? It will help lower your core temperature, and trigger a circadian sleep signal to promote deeper sleep. As noted here , “ In the hours before bedtime, a human’s core body temperature naturally cools, while skin temperatures of the hands and feet increase. Scientists hypothesize that immersing the body in warm water aids this natural temperature regulation process, improving sleep as a result. Researchers have dubbed this phenomenon the “warm bath effect.”

Substances, vices and more

I’m sure we are all well aware that caffeine intake effects our sleep. Over Caffeination as mentioned here, “ The results of this study suggest that 400 mg of caffeine taken 0, 3, or even 6 hours prior to bedtime significantly disrupts sleep. Even at 6 hours, caffeine reduced sleep by more than 1 hour. This degree of sleep loss, if experienced over multiple nights, may have detrimental effects on daytime function. Try to limit caffeine and if you do drink it cease and desist before 4pm. 

Similarly alcohol and other substances can reduce REM sleep and cause sleep disruptions. Alcohol may help you fall asleep but it is not uncommon to wake in the middle of the night and have trouble getting a restful nights sleep. 

However sleep aids like high dose CBD -N, melatonin, GABA and l-theanine have shown to improve sleep quality and regulate the circadian rhythm. 

Red, white and blue; light that is

Put a red light in your bedroom for better sleep cycle regulation, red light has been shown to have a neutral effect on circadian rhythms and can even start to down regulate the body to prepare for sleep. Animals react to these as well so consider putting a red light on the porch. Exposure to white light and the sun has positive effects especially when exposed in the early daytime before 11 am.  Blue light wavelengths or those emitted from screens and artificial lights have the strongest impact on interrupting our natural circadian rhythms, see here: 

Our advice; read a paper book and put down the phone or wear blue blocker glasses if you must be on your screen. Making sure to avoid blue light exposure 2 hours before bed. 

Fun fact: Did you know that light can even be sensed through your ear canals thus affecting your brainwaves, check out this study that explains it all.

Think cave like. Sleep in a cool room that is dark with no light. Consider black out curtains and an eye mask. 

What happens if you sleep with your mouth open?

Sleeping with your mouth open has been linked to all sorts of sleep disturbances. Nasal breathing is best when sleeping because your body can filter out viruses, bacteria and particulates. Moreover, opening your jaw causes the tongue to slump backward, obstructing the airway. ” Even if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea, this can cause a mild sleep apnea affect. The brain stem attributes chronic mouth breathing to a fight or flight response therefore learning how to breath through the nose while sleeping, such as mouth taping  training, will ultimately put your brain and body into a deeper state of sleep and relaxation. 

Is 7 hours of sleep enough? 

This is debatable! Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night to be functional. The caveat being if your quality of sleep is at its best than some people can get away with as little as 6! Most of us need between 7-9 to feel rested, wake refreshed and have a strong immune system. 

So be sure to try out this list tonight and be on your way to a refreshed nights sleep. Sweet dreams. 

Written by Kileen Swenson LAc practitioner of Chinese and Herbal Medicine at WellBalanced Center For Integrative Care