The Ultimate Sleep Guide
You’ve tried everything. From weighted blankets to white noise to ear plugs that block out your roommate’s snoring. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to get that peaceful beauty rest you need!
You’re not alone. 30% of adults claim they suffer from occasional insomnia 3 and consistently have trouble getting to sleep (3). This number is concerning, since sleep plays an important role in our cognitive functioning and overall health!
We know how important it is for you to get those zzz’s, so we’ve collected 7 methods researchers have used to help their participants get the rest they deserve.
7 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster
1. Your Bed is for Sleep. Period.
Our brains build powerful associations. For example, you don’t sit in your chair at home the way you do at a work meeting. If you care about impressing your boss, you’ll automatically fix your posture without even thinking about it. This is because your brain associates your work environment with the need to be attentive, awake, and ready.
Now, let’s say you work from home. With a portable work laptop, you can work just about anywhere. Of course, it would be quite comfortable to work underneath your bedroom covers; however, those same associations with work, being attentive, awake, and ready, are now being associated with your bed, a place for rest, relaxation, and sleep.
See the contradiction here?
That’s why we recommend you only use your bed for sleep. Researchers call this method stimulus control therapy. The goal is to re-associate the bed with sleep by decreasing behaviors that encourage you to stay awake (3). This includes watching TV in bed.
So, try working outside your bedroom at a desk or table. Limit your screen usage to the living room and preferably turn off all screens three hours before bedtime! Why, you may ask? Read on to our next tip!
2. Turn Off Screens Before Bed
Your phone, tv, laptop, and monitor all have something in common.
They emit blue light.
Too much blue light exposure can result in negative health outcomes, which can be found on our "Tips to Protect Yourself from Blue Light" blog here. However, we’re going to focus on how it affects your circadian rhythm a.k.a sleep.
Blue light is great for you during the day. Exposure to blue light makes you more alert and increases wakefulness. These are good things when you’re awake and active. However, blue light also inhibits the release of the sleep hormone melatonin (5). Melatonin helps you wind down and prepares your body to fall asleep.
So, if you’re scrolling through social media or streaming shows late at night, you are delaying the release of melatonin in your body, thus causing you to fall asleep much later than you’d like. To combat this, we recommend you avoid screen-time at least 2-3 hours before bed.
Take up a non-screen hobby! Pick up drawing, journaling, or read the latest memoir! There’s lots of activities you can do without a screen. Who knows? You might even develop a new skill!
3. Establish a Sleep Schedule...and Stick to It!
Let’s say you work at 8am every weekday. Once Saturday comes around, you’re excited to finally sleep in! Though it’s not too bad to sleep in an extra hour or two, you run the risk of changing your circadian rhythm!
Researchers recommend you wake and sleep at the same times every day (3, 1). Your body loves routine, so following a sleep schedule and sticking with it can greatly improve the quality and duration of your sleep!
4. Reinforce Positive Sleep Behaviors... and Eliminate Bad Ones
It’s nine o’clock at night and you’ve just finished the latest episode of your favorite TV drama. You’re devastated. The female lead chose your least favorite contestant for a date! As you peel yourself off the couch and start heading to bed... it hits you. Suddenly, you have a hankering for a bowl of ice cream... should you indulge?
If you’re hoping to sleep well tonight, then, no. Enjoying a delicious bowl of ice cream before bed only rewards the behavior of staying up late. To get a full night’s rest, researchers recommend reinforcing positive sleep behaviors.3
Instead, establish a regular bedtime routine. For example, maybe your routine begins with a soothing bubble bath or calming face mask! By making it fun, you’re more likely to follow through each night. Over time, your body will associate the routine with the beginnings of sleep, giving you that much needed beauty rest!
5. Manage Your Anxiety About Sleep
If you suffer from anxiety, you may be prone to catastrophic thinking. This can cause you to have unrealistic expectations around sleep. For example, on a sleepless night, you may think to yourself:
“I have to get my 8 hours! I’m going to fail my interview tomorrow for sure because I can’t fall asleep!”
These thoughts only make you more anxious and make falling asleep even harder. Therefore, we recommend you reevaluate your expectations about sleep, challenge their validity, and replace them with ideas that are grounded in real world experience, instead of fear. This process has shown the strongest improvement in treating chronic insomnia (3). If your anxiety is severe, we recommend you seek out a therapist to help walk you through this process.
6. Drink Lavender Herbal Teas
There are plenty of inexpensive herbal teas that claim sleep-inducing effects. For me, chamomile teas with lavender are at the top of my list!
As mentioned in our "5 Scents that Promote Mental Wellness," lavender is well-known for treating insomnia, in addition to relieving headaches, nervous tension, and symptoms of depression (4). One study of 42 college students found that lavender helped ease their sleeping problems significantly. This study also acknowledges other studies in which lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood before dental treatment (4).
7. Take Melatonin
Known as the “sleep hormone” of the body, melatonin is a hormone made by our brains to help us fall asleep at night. As we get older, our bodies produce less melatonin, which makes it harder for us to get the sleep that we need. Taking the right amount of melatonin can help you get to sleep faster and wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the day!
That’s why we created our Tru-Melatonin + gummies with 1 mg per bear. A safe and effective dose without grogginess in the morning is between 1-5 mg, so you can customize based on how much you need! Our gummies also contain vitamin B6 and passionflower extract to help calm the mind to relax and get a full night’s rest without stress.
We hope these research-based tips can help you get the rest you deserve! We understand how exhausting dealing with sleeplessness can be. If you have a severe case of insomnia, we highly recommend you seek a doctor’s help.
Did any of these tips work for you? Let us know on Instagram at @livetrulyfe! We’d love to hear your story!
- Ashbrook, L., et al. World Psychiatry. 2019 Oct; 18(3): 337–352. DOI: 10.1002/wps.20674
- CDC. Last reviewed: 2020, May 28. Retrieved from: www.cdc.gov/sleep/features/drowsy-driving.html
- Saddichha, Sahoo. (2010, Apr-Jun.). Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 13(2): 94–102. DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.64628
- Sowndhararajan, K., et al. Scientia Pharmaceutica. 2016;84(4), 724–751. doi.org/10.3390/scipharm84040724
- TruLyfe Supplements. 2020, Dec. 22. www.trulyfesupplements.com/blogs/body/ways-to-protect-yourself-from-blue-light-exposure-1