‘Tis the season to get restorative sleep every night!Winter is upon us and in full swing, and with it comes plenty of holiday-related stress that can cause us to neglect the proper care and feeding of our bodies (including our nighttime rituals).
For many of us, stress directly manifests as sleep loss, which more than anything else keeps us from feeling joyous and present. Rather than rushing through the season, feeling overly stressed, and even ending up sick, focus on getting the deep, restorative sleep you need.
Sleep can make all the difference in truly enjoying this time of year with friends and loved ones. While you can’t make the season any less hectic, there are things you can do to get the regenerative sleep you need every night.
Here are 8 hacks for better zzzz’s that’ll significantly reduce fatigue in 2019:
1. Settle for nothing less than complete darkness when you sleep
Many people don’t realize that sleep doesn't come easily when artificial light is present in your sleeping area. Streetlights, moonlight, the neighbors light, and light coming from digital devices all interfere with melatonin production... You can remedy this by simply installing blackout shades or curtains in your bedroom. Especially if you work odd hours or a night shift, experts agree that some quality blackout curtains can make a world of difference in how you sleep. our bedroom should be as dark as possible without being dangerous of course. Some strategically placed nightlights (that can be turned on when needed) can help keep you safe during late night trips to the bathroom.
2. Send instant signals to your body to naturally produce melatonin
We’re bombarded with artificial light every day that disrupts our circadian rhythms. The sun is the only source of natural blue and green light, so when your brain sees artificial blue and green light, it thinks it’s daylight outside. Blue and green light emitted from screens, LEDs, or digital or electronic sources will affect your sleep negatively. It ’s simple to counter these effects and take back your sleep by wearing night glasses for two to three hours before bedtime every night. Sleep glasses make great gifts, especially for that hard to buy for person in your life who has everything.
3. Avoid eye fatigue by minimizing “junk light” during the day
Just like certain frequencies of light at night can throw off your body’s clock, artificial blue light during the day can also negatively affect circadian rhythms. Even if you use blue blocking apps on your screens and devices, you’ll still get blue light from any number of artificial sources during the day – like overhead lighting and even the checkout screens at the drugstore. Wearing blue light blocking glasses during the day will adequately protect you from this, and have you (and your eyes) feeling much more relaxed when the day is done.
4. Consider using cannabis for sleep
Safe access to legal cannabis has become the norm for more and more people, and many are finding it to be a great sleep solution. With advances in testing, breeding, and research, it’s now safer and easier than ever to find cannabis products that fit your needs. Cannabis isn’t just for smoking anymore: there are a wide variety of edibles, tinctures, oils, and topicals that are dosage-regulated for safe, reliable results. If the idea of a smoke-filled room and coughing fits turns you off, talk to a doctor or cannabis dispensary near you to learn more about today’s cannabis product options.
5. Get the sleep promoting benefits of cannabis without the “high.”
While cannabis contains hundreds of chemicals, only a relative few have psychoactive compounds or physiological effects. Of these, the most well-known psychoactive ingredient is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). But there’s another prominent ingredient called CBD (cannabidiol), that provides many of the health benefits of cannabis without the unwanted “high.” CBD is directly associated with relief from pain and stress, and no, you don’t get high — not even a little. CBD is safe, natural, and CBD products are regulated for purity and quality. Like other cannabis products, CBD is available in many forms, and your local dispensary or your doctor can help you decide what’s right for you.
6. Engage in exercise that positively impacts circadian rhythm
Circadian rhythms respond primarily to light and dark, both of which heavily influence our sleep-wake cycles. A large number of studies have explored exercise’s positive effect on circadian rhythm. Exercise appears to make the body more aware of when it should be resting and when it should be active. The jury is still out, though on what time of day is the best time to exercise; however, what most experts can agree on is that regular exercise can benefit sleep and vice versa, sleep can benefit your exercise routine as well!).
7. Find caffeine free substitutes for your favorite night time beverages
Caffeine can really do a number on your sleep. Even six hours after consuming caffeine, there are measurable effects, and studies have shown that caffeine at night can cost you up to seven hours of sleep a week. For many of us, that’s a whole night’s sleep! There are so many caffeine free options available that actually promote sleep. Try Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Hot Cacao with Reishi, and Reishi Elixir, both of which are special blends with reishi mushrooms to support occasional stress and restful sleep.
8. Avoid long or irregular naps in the afternoons
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a little afternoon snooze, but long or irregular naps can have an adverse effect on a quality night’s sleep. Our bodies are designed to get sleepy in the evening hours. While there’s nothing wrong with a power nap, long naps can keep you up longer at night, throwing the intended system out of whack. A power nap is typically 20 minutes in duration, which is just short enough to prevent you from entering REM sleep. Any naps longer than that can leave you feeling more tired and “out of it.”