Nothing like the harsh sound of your alarm clock in the morning to leave you feeling groggy all day long. No matter what time I go to bed, I struggle to wake up well-rested, especially with the stress of the pandemic looming over me. Getting a good night’s rest can feel like a battle at times, which is why we need the help of experts – sleep experts, that is! Keep reading for their top sleep hacks, supplement recommendations and keys to combating anxiety at nighttime.
What is the most common reason people get poor sleep?
Christine Hansen, sleep expert, author of “Sleep Like A Boss: The Guide To Sleep For Busy Bosses”: ‘There isn’t just one answer to that. Simply put, it is stress and its impact on our mind and body. From there, the issue I frequent[ly] [see] most often that makes the biggest impact is the gut, including leaking gut and bacterial imbalances and parasites that cause inflammation at night. This leads to a cortisol and adrenaline rise that creates unrest.’
Why do most people have a hard time falling asleep?
CH: Having issues falling asleep is usually an indicator to me that there is a high amount of undigested stress from the day that the mind needs to deal with and what better time to do so than when there is nothing else to do but lie quiet in the dark.
My tip is therefore to notice what is triggering you during the day and instead of ignoring it just taking a second to acknowledge it, maybe even quickly writing it down in a notebook so that it is out of your system and doesn’t come haunting you at night. Another step would be to set a timer an hour before you go to sleep so that you have enough time to get ready and take steps to wind down properly. Falling asleep is a process and not an on and off switch, and some people need prep time.
What is a common mistake people make before bedtime?
CH: Alcohol is a huge saboteur when it comes to good sleep. Even if you fall asleep and stay asleep, it effects your deep sleep and you will be more tired in the morning than if you didn’t have any booze.
What can we buy to get better sleep?
CH: A mattress that is right for YOU is crucial, and I would also advocate for an air conditioner in the summer.
View this post on Instagram
Minerals and Metals are super closely linked to how you feel and how you sleep. They are responsible for cell absorption and so many more processes. Have look or listen and let me know if it was helpful. #sleep #sleepandminerals #sleepexpert #sleepcoach #sleepconsultant #sleepspecialist #sleepeducation
A post shared by Christine Hansen (@sleeplikeaboss_) on
What are your thoughts on supplements or sleeping pills like melatonin?
Ingrid Prueher, pediatric and adult sleep and nutrition consultant: I recommend consulting with a healthcare provider to see if there is a supplement deficiency before taking any supplement. Melatonin should be taken under a doctor’s supervision and for a short period of time. Research has shown that long term use of melatonin can affect hormone balance.
View this post on Instagram
Do you create routines that help you attain better sleep? Establishing a new habit/new routine doesn’t come naturally for most people. It takes some deliberate planning to follow through on a daily basis. You can create triggers like setting a reminder on your phone to alert you as to when you want to incorporate that new habit. I have a reminder to tell me it’s time to begin my bedtime routine. That’s because I want to make sure that as often as possible I don’t allow distractions to keep me awake more than they should. I know sleep is the foundation of health and I don’t want to compromise my mind and body by denying it of the goodness sleep gives it. I use a checklist as a tool to help me establish new routines that I want to make a part of my daily life, including what I want to do during my bedtime routine. I am not 100% consistent with it, but most nights I am and that is why my sleep is pretty blissful. When I get off track, I reflect on what did not work during my day and improve on it the next so I don’t get to a point of becoming sleep deprived. One of my health goals was to write in my journal nightly. So I purchased a journal that I love to look at and a super cool LED pen. This allows me to write my thoughts if I want to write in the dark. I want to do that to get the creative juices flowing since I want to put out more content. There is a lot of helpful Wellness information in this brain 🧠 (ha!) that I know will help so many of you 😀 What new habit/routine do you want to create in your life and how are you making it happen? #holfithealthyhabits💕💕💕
A post shared by Sleep & doTERRA Essential Oils (@ingridbabysleepwhisperer) on
What are some sleeping hacks?
- Taking a 20-minute shower an hour before bed will increase the melatonin in your body, which will make you sleepy.
- Drinking half your weight in ounces of water during the day will help clean your organs, which will promote better sleep.
- Waking up and going to sleep around the same time daily. Ideally, no more than half an hour of your typical schedule to help set your biological rhythm.
- Engaging in an outdoor activity for a minimum of half an hour daily to promote better sleep.
- Invest in performance bedding that will keep your body cool while you sleep and keep moisture away from your body.
How do we combat anxiety at nighttime?
Zoe Chu, baby and child sleep expert, author of “Sleep Baby Sleep: Sleep Supernanny’s 5 Simple Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep for You and Your Baby!”: ‘Do some bedtime routine such as reading a book which is more relaxing, or have a nice bath to wind down. Avoid having heated/emotional discussions in your bed. Or exercising, because before bedtime it will cause your heart rate to rise and make it harder for you to fall asleep. There are plenty of sleep coaches and sleep specialists out there who can formulate the best plan for you to get better sleep. And invest in blackout curtains to keep the room completely dark.
What are the best supplements to sleep better?
ZC: Taking probiotics such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG will help with giving you good bacteria for your gut, which will slow down inflammation and thus reduce the level of cortisol, which will help you sleep. Other supplements like calcium, magnesium and B-complex help you wind down as well.
View this post on Instagram
As promised this is Part 2 of my overtired series. Start prioritizing your sleep. Most of us need 7-8 hours of quality sleep to function well. It’s time to sleep well! So many of us have neglected our sleep for productivity, entertainment and also the lack of awareness. Let this pandemic teach you to make Sleep your number 1 priority because it’s the foundation of your health and well-being. Like if you agree and comment below if you want to start making this commitment. 🙌🏻🤩 . . Check out the Part 1 video – for signs your little one is overtired. #sgsupernanny #sleepexpert
A post shared by Zoe Chu | The Sleep Expert (@sgsupernanny) on
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original publication in Sunday Edit Sleep Journal in September 2019.