Seeking 3 tips for better sleep and a more restful night? We took it for granted as kids – Falling asleep anywhere and sleeping through anything.
Those were the days! Now we chase after it with sleep apps, cooling pillows, noise machines, blackout curtains…you name it, we’ve bought it.
If sleep still eludes you, check out these 3 tips that will get you back on track to better sleep.
Better sleep: are you an early bird or night owl?
Our body’s 24-hour internal clock – our circadian rhythm – is triggered by exposure to light, which activates melatonin production. Your brain increases melatonin when it’s dark and shuts it down when exposed to light.
We all have a slightly different circadian rhythm, but generally, you’ll fall into one of two categories:
- you are either up with the sun or
- you enjoy staying up late.
To keep your circadian rhythm in sync, get up and go to bed at the same time (this means no sleeping in or Netflix marathons!), avoid screens an hour or so before bedtime and try to get into the sun when you wake up or get yourself a sun lamp if you live in the dark in winter!
So how much sleep should you get?
We all know the person who not only gets by on 5 hours of sleep, but thrives on it. For the rest of us, 7-9 hours per night is ideal.
It’s important to make a distinction between sleeping and laying in bed.
Nine hours in bed may not feel like enough because you actually only slept for six. Shorten your time in bed (sleeping or not) to 7 hours and see how you feel in the morning.
You might be surprised that less time lounging in bed can mean more energy because you’re helping reset your circadian rhythm!
Remember, sleep is when your body repairs and restores itself, so don’t short change yourself. You may get by for a while, but over time lack of sleep will damage every organ of your body.
If you are struggling to sleep, I recommend that you find a collaborative functional medicine health partner.
How much caffeine can you get away with?
It’s not really about how much you’re having (unless you’re an anxious mess or have heart palpitations – and in that case, back off!), it’s about how late in the day you’re having it.
Caffeine’s half life is 5 hours and it takes 10-15 hours to clear your body, so nix that afternoon cup or late-night chocolate.
Caffeine really does affect you getting better sleep.
A morning cup of joe is America’s favorite way to caffeinate – the best part of waking up, right?
Brewing yourself an 8oz cup gives you around 95mg of caffeine while picking up the equivalent at Starbucks will double your caffeine to 180mg (almost half the daily safe amount of 400mg).
Bean type and roast (lighter = more caffeine) affects the amount of caffeine per cup.
What about other caffeine sources?
- Green tea (8oz) – 7mg-48mg depending on brand
- Black tea (8oz) – 47mg
- Chai (8oz) – 20-100mg depending on brew style
- Chocolate (1oz) – 12mg
- Energy drink (8oz) – 80-150mg depending on brand
- Soda (12oz) – 30mg
Side note: – don’t forget about the sugar load you may be getting with your caffeine choices. Sugar increases cortisol and adrenaline levels, which will hurt your sleep.
The better sleep takeaway?
So there you have it – your 3 tips for better sleep.
- Keep your circadian rhythm in sync
- Get your zzz’s in accordance with your biological needs
- Caffeinate early.
Looking for more functional health tips?
Download our Functional Health Starter Guide for ideas to help you live your healthiest life!