In an ideal world, we would sleep for close to one-third of our lives. Seems like a lot huh? But when you think about everything that happens in our sleep and how we are essentially recharging our batteries to function as a boss babe for the next 16 hours, we’re going to want to make sure that every minute of shut-eye counts.
If you think back to when you last had an iffy night’s sleep, chances are the next day was not ideal. We feel irritated, crave sugar, and maybe even a little fluey.
Less-than-ideal sleep happens for a number of reasons. Some are the classics like scrolling on TikTok till 2 am when you need to be up at 6. Others are less obvious and have a lot to do with our internal chemistry and our external environment. In those cases, and in order to hack our sleep, we need to know what exactly is preventing a dreamy night of Zs.
In almost all cases, we can do something about it (yay!) so let’s dive in. We’ll keep it short in case you’re tired.
1. Lean into the routine
Just like when we were babies, our bodies thrive on a regular sleep routine. Having a set bedtime and wake time helps our body get in the rhythm of knowing when it’s time to wind down and when it's time to wake up.
For those who do this, you might be familiar with the sometimes-frustrating phenomenon of waking up minutes before your alarm. This is a good thing! It means our body knows what we need and when.
Once in the habit, there’s an element of ‘set and forget’ but getting there can be hard.
Try: As tempting as it can be to stay up late and sleep in on weekends, try keeping your sleep time and wake time as consistent as possible. Morning Person is great for getting you up and going in the morning and Chill Pills work wonders for lulling you into sleep at night.
2. Practise good sleep habits
You know what we’re going to say, don't you. Say sayonara to your screens. We don’t mean forever but the last hour (or two, or as much as you can manage) before bed should be screen-free. That blue light that’s given off by our devices is a sleep nemesis and wires us up when we should be winding down.
There are tonnes of benefits to taking a break from the screen before bed that have nothing to do with sleep, either. If you’re an office worker, spending all day on a screen just to come home and spend the rest of your waking hours on a different screen can feel a little samesy.
When we instead pick up a book, have a bath, play a game or just hang out with friends and family, it’s like claiming back time from the day that’s just for you and gives our brain a break from screen stimulation.
Try: Saying goodnight to your screens early and reading for 20 minutes before going to sleep.
3. Go easy on the caffeine
The half-life of caffeine is six hours which means it takes 12 hours for coffee to leave our system once we ingest it. So, if we have our final cup of coffee at 2 pm, caffeine will still be rattling in our system at 2 am. Yikes.
To help with this, try to stop drinking coffee 12 hours before bedtime or, opt for coffee alternatives. Tea, decaf, and a big mug of cacao are our favourites but, of course, we love our latest supp Morning Person. It gives us energy in a non-jittery way, it’s adaptogenic meaning it supports stress management, and it helps prevent brain fog.
Try: Some coffee alternatives to find your favourites. Too much too soon? Stick to one coffee a day and have it earlier rather than later.
4. Calm your mind
If you’ve ever felt tired, only to jump into bed and have your mind race at a million miles per hour, this one’s for you. While avoiding stimulants like coffee does help, sometimes we need a helping hand to quieten our mind and body and relax into a restful sleep.
Magnesium is a mineral that supports relaxation in our bodies. In times of stress, our cells actually dump magnesium to rev up our sympathetic nervous system - making it a common nutrient deficiency in the fast-paced modern world we live in. Having enough magnesium on board is essential for activating our ‘rest & digest’ parasympathetic nervous system and having deep, restorative sleeps.
For more acute, take-the-edge-now herbs - look at Kava. It’s been used for generations as a near-instant sedative but taken in smaller doses, has the effect of mellowing you out without sending you to sleep. Our Chill Pills are 100% Kava and taken individually, can ease a busy mind, when taken in triplicate (and when ready for bed) they can encourage a juicy night’s sleep.
Try: A natural relaxation aid like our good friend Kava.
5. Get hormone happy
Our hormones are our communication system, firing messages around the body including those about mood and feelings. Notice an increase in anxiety and difficulty falling asleep before your period? You’re not alone.
Progesterone is our relaxing and soothing hormone that helps us feel calm and balanced in the second half of our cycle. If your progesterone levels are on the lower side, you may experience increased PMS-type symptoms before your period. This includes increased feelings of anxiety, irritability and difficulty sleeping. Sound familiar?
Trying to take charge of your sleep can feel a little overwhelming. There’s a lot at stake and changing our habits isn’t always easy. So start with whatever feels easiest for you.
- Avoid screens for the last hour of your day
- Stick to one coffee in the morning
- Treat yourself and spend a week sampling caffeine alternatives to find your favourite
- Opt for nutritional support: magnesium, kava from Chill Pills, and Morning Person
- Set yourself a bedtime and a wake time and stick to it for a week without snoozing.