The Circadian® Sleeping Guide - 10 Tips to Improve Your Sleep and Recovery

Why is Sleeping so Difficult in the Modern Age?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) delcared an epidemic of poor sleep, with fewer than one third of adults in the west getting enough good quality sleep.

Despite being the most vital function as part of a healthy lifestyle, few of us are actually any good at falling asleep. We've put together some key tips that won't just help you fall asleep faster, but will keep you asleep longer, and have a deeper night of rest. It would be no exageration to suggest that embedding these into your routine can be life changing.

Here are the tips in a nutshell:

  1. Consistency is Key.
  2. Avoid late-night cardio workouts.
  3. Cut back on caffeine and nicotine intake.
  4. Limit alcohol intake before bedtime.
  5. Choose light nighttime meals.
  6. Consult your doctor about your medication schedule.
  7. Allocate time for relaxation before bed.
  8. Enjoy a hot bath or shower before bed.
  9. Create a gadget-free sleep environment.
  10. Avoid prolonged periods in bed.

    To understand the reasoning behind these 10 sleep essentials, please read on...

     

    Consistency is Key.

    Your body's internal clock relies on a specific sleep-wake cycle, and disrupting it by staying up late or waking up early can lead to circadian rhythm imbalance. Trying to compensate for missed sleep over the weekend may not always be effective and can result in physical and mental fatigue. Therefore, maintaining a daily sleep schedule can significantly benefit your overall health and well-being.


    Avoid late-night cardio workouts.

    If you find yourself feeling fatigued in the morning, your late-night treadmill session might be the culprit. For some individuals, engaging in intense exercise or a late-night yoga session close to bedtime can hinder the brain's ability to wind down. Aim to complete vigorous exercise two to three hours before bedtime and explore how exercise affects sleep quality.

     

    Cut back on caffeine and nicotine intake.

    Caffeine temporarily blocks adenosine, a vital sleep-inducing chemical in your brain, leading to a subsequent crash. Caffeine has a half life of approximately 8 hours, meaning after 8 hours half of the caffiene is still in your system. A simple piece of guidance is to limit caffiene to the morning only. Nicotine, another stimulant, can result in shallow sleep. Reducing consumption of these substances can contribute to improved sleep quality.


    Limit alcohol intake before bedtime.

    While alcohol may initially help you relax, excessive consumption can interfere with REM sleep, essential for optimal brain restoration. Heavy alcohol intake can also disrupt breathing during the night, leading to multiple awakenings even if you're unaware of them.


    Choose light nighttime meals.

    Opt for small snacks rather than heavy meals before bedtime to avoid indigestion that may disrupt your sleep. Refrain from consuming fluids a few hours before sleep to prevent frequent bathroom trips that can interrupt your sleep and lead to fragmentation.


    Consult your doctor about your medication schedule.

    Some medications, including those for heart and lung conditions or over-the-counter cold and allergy drugs, can disturb sleep patterns. If you experience difficulty sleeping, inquire with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about potential medication-related issues and whether adjusting the timing of medication intake is possible.


    Allocate time for relaxation before bed.

    Establish a calming pre-sleep routine, such as reading, listening to music, or light stretching. Consider maintaining a worry journal to process challenging emotions before bedtime. We have no affiliation, but the Calm app is something we use often, they have numerous mediations that help you relax and drift off into a deep sleep.


    Enjoy a hot bath or shower before bed.

    Despite seeming counterintuitive, taking a hot bath before bedtime can lower your body temperature once you're in bed, promoting a sleepier and more relaxed state. Your body tempetature needs drop c.1 degree celcius to fall into a deep sleep, and a hot bath or shower can help this.


    Create a gadget-free sleep environment.

    Imagine your ideal bedroom as a tranquil, prehistoric cave—cool, dark, and free of electronic devices. Charge your phone in another room, eliminate noise-producing electronics, and remove the alarm clock to minimize hyper-awareness of time passing.


    Soak in natural sunlight.

    Expose yourself to sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day to regulate sleep patterns. Aim for morning exposure to boost alertness as you begin your day, and dim the lights before bedtime to support melatonin production.

     

    Avoid prolonged periods in bed.

    Lying in bed for extended periods, hoping to fall asleep, can lead to anxiety and frustration. If you cannot transition into sleep after about 25 to 30 minutes, engage in a relaxing activity until you start feeling sleepy.