Quality sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. After just one night of tossing and turning, you soon realize how the lack of quality sleep can affect just about every area of your life—including your mood, job performance, relationships, and even success in weight-loss or maintenance goals.
Developing a healthy relationship with sleep is one of the best things you can do for your physical, emotional, and mental health. But it’s not always easy, so here we offer five of the most effective, science-backed strategies for you to get the best possible sleep every night.
1. Stick to a schedule (that promotes sleep). Sticking to a daily routine is an important factor when it comes to quality of sleep (1-3). Your body becomes used to these daily routines, or social rhythms, allowing for the development of time cues that help regulate your biological clock. Regular exercise, school or work, and social activities can all be perceived as time cues to the body.
Keep your daily schedule as consistent as possible. Move your workouts to first thing in the morning, as late-night workouts may keep you up at night. Create bedtime rituals like reading or journaling. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Yes, even on weekends—it may be hard at first and things may come up here and there, but having a day-to-day schedule will train your body to recognize times, making it easier to wake up and fall asleep at those hours.
2. Avoid bright light before bed. Bright light in the evening delays the release of melatonin, the hormone in the brain that regulates your sleep cycle. Lack of melatonin can delay sleep even if it’s late. Some research suggests that the “blue light” coming from electronics is the most detrimental to melatonin release (4).
Shut off any light-emitting electronics like tablets or smartphones at bedtime to not interfere with your body’s natural release of melatonin. An app or filter that blocks blue light could also be an effective tool, but it‘s best to shut off or dim all sources of light as night approaches.
3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as bedtime approaches. Even if you don’t necessarily have a problem falling asleep with a little caffeine in your system or after an alcohol-infused nightcap, consuming these drinks close to bedtime may hurt the quality of your sleep, even interfering with your body’s ability to engage in deeper sleep necessary for better post-workout recovery (5-7).
Plan to stop consuming caffeine as early as your schedule allows. Switch your afternoon coffee to an herbal tea or if you’re still lacking energy, Adaptogen-rich t+ Chai. In the evening, have your glass of wine a few hours before bed instead of just before.
4. Be sure you are meeting your daily magnesium requirement. Magnesium is essential to sleep quality and studies have also found that the majority of U.S. adults fail to meet the recommended daily allowance (8-9). One study on older adults suffering from poor sleep found that magnesium supplementation led to significant improvements across a range of measures including sleep time and efficiency (10). Another study found that the nutrient helps the body to better adapt to rhythms of night and day (11).
Enjoy plenty of magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, and dark chocolate. If you aren’t eating enough magnesium-rich foods, consider adding a supplement like IsaFlush® (and maybe a dark chocolate IsaDelight® or two) to help meet recommendations.
5. Supplement with melatonin. While our bodies make melatonin, natural production declines with age. Unfortunately, tart cherries are one of the only foods in a normal diet to have enough to have an effect on the body (12). But studies have found that melatonin supplementation around bedtime can reduce sleep latency and improve sleep time and efficiency (13).
Get extra melatonin just before bed—start with a smaller dose and gradually increase over time to find how much you require for restful sleep. Because Sleep Support and Renewal™ comes in spray format, it makes it easy for you to have ready for use on your nightstand and it allows you to better control the dosage each time you use the product. Sleep Support and Renewal™ also includes ingredients like L-theanine, valerian, tart cherry, and chamomile that promote quality sleep.
Moss TG, Carney CE, Haynes P, Harris AL. Is daily routine important for sleep? An investigation of social rhythms in a clinical insomnia population. Chronobiol Int. 2015 Feb;32(1):92-102. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2014.956361. Epub 2014 Sep 4.
Carney CE, Edinger JD, Meyer B, Lindman L, Istre T. Daily activities and sleep quality in college students. Chronobiol Int. 2006;23(3):623-37.
Monk TH, Reynolds CF 3rd, Buysse DJ, DeGrazia JM, Kupfer DJ. The relationship between lifestyle regularity and subjective sleep quality. Chronobiol Int. 2003 Jan;20(1):97-107.
Chellappa SL, Steiner R, Oelhafen P, Lang D, Götz T, Krebs J, Cajochen C. Acute exposure to evening blue-enriched light impacts on human sleep. J Sleep Res. 2013 Oct;22(5):573-80. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12050. Epub 2013 Mar 20.
Drake C, Roehrs T, Shambroom J, Roth T. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Nov 15;9(11):1195-200. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.3170.
Clark I, Landolt HP. Coffee, caffeine, and sleep: A systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. 2016 Jan 30. pii: S1087-0792(16)00015-0. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2016.01.006. [Epub ahead of print]
Ebrahim IO, Shapiro CM, Williams AJ, Fenwick PB. Alcohol and sleep I: effects on normal sleep. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2013 Apr;37(4):539-49. doi: 10.1111/acer.12006. Epub 2013 Jan 24.
Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.
Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. J Nutr. 2003 Sep;133(9):2879-82.
Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B.The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9.
Kevin A. Feeney, Louise L. Hansen, Marrit Putker, Consuelo Olivares-Yañez, Jason Day, Lorna J. Eades, Luis F. Larrondo, Nathaniel P. Hoyle, John S. O’Neill, Gerben van Ooijen. Daily magnesium fluxes regulate cellular timekeeping and energy balance. Nature, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nature17407
Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7. Epub 2011 Oct 30.
Monti JM, Cardinali DP. A critical assessment of the melatonin effect on sleep in humans. Biol Signals Recept. 2000 Nov-Dec;9(6):328-39.