8 QUICK POINTS TO BETTER SLEEP
PRE-BED DAILY ROUTINE
Studies have shown that a daily nighttime routine is one of the most important factors for the best sleep (1, 2). Make sure to go to bed within a one-hour window every night. This ensures that the body is prepared to go through the various sleep cycles in an optimal way.
Natural sunlight has an important role for a balanced biorhythm, telling your body if it is daytime or nighttime. As a part of this, it is regulating the production of serotonin, the direct precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin (3, 4, 5, 6). Make sure you get a healthy 15- to 30-minute dose of sunlight without sunglasses in the morning and later when the sun is close to its peak, for sufficient melatonin levels at night.
Blue light is downregulating the body’s melatonin levels via specialized photoreceptors in the eyes (7, 8, 9). Due to the modern world’s transition to LED lights emitting large amounts of blue light, it is important to filter out this kind of light close to bedtime. If you want to continue working on your computer or watching TV, it is recommended that you use blue light blocking glasses.
Studies indicate that magnesium positively affects sleep via its connection to melatonin and stimulation of benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Effects such as increased relaxation, stress reduction, and better sleep quality have been observed (10, 11, 12, 13). Zinc is another important mineral that has been shown to regulate sleep and improve memory (14).
Studies suggest that the brain washes away toxins by circulating fluid during sleep (15, 16, 17). It is reasonable to believe that a good supply of blood supports the nightly brain detox process; therefore, make sure to restrict eating three to four hours before bedtime, in order to keep digestion shut off. In addition, several studies also have shown that late nighttime eating correlates with various types of sleep disorders (18, 19).
Studies show evidence for a strong connection between light exposure and melatonin regulation (20, 21). For the best sleep, make sure to prepare a pitch-dark sleeping environment. Make sure there are no artificial light sources in the bedroom, including electronics like phones or alarm clocks.
Noise can make your adrenal glands release cortisol with reduced deep sleep and lower overall sleep quality. Sounds loud enough are likely (from about 40 decibels) to activate the brain's threat vigilance and, therefore, become aroused and potentially fully awakened (22, 23). Make sure to have a silent sleeping environment using earplugs if you see disturbances in your sleep.
The body's thermoregulation is strongly connected to the sleep quality, with lower body core temperature during the night. Studies have found a connection between rated sleep quality and colder bedroom temperature (24, 25, 26).
To see good results, aim for a bedroom temperate between 60°F (15.5°C) and 67°F (19.5°C).