Improve Your Sleep Using These 6 Methods

How to optimize your sleep for improved health and a happier life.

Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash

1. Keep a consistent schedule

I recently wrote an article about the importance of maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. While length of sleep is important, what is even more important is going to bed and getting up at the same time. This will allow your body to get accustomed to going to sleep at a certain time, and waking up at a certain time, allowing you to maintain a regular circadian rhythm.

2. Reset your circadian rhythm every morning

Even if you engage in a consistent wake/sleep schedule, your circadian rhythm may still need to be reminded regularly that it is time to be awake. This is especially important if you’re unable to keep a consistent sleep and wake up time, and even more important when you’re traveling across time zones.

Photo by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

3. Engage in grounding

This practice is beneficial at any time of day and I highly recommend that you do it as often as possible. But it has increased effects when done in the morning. In fact, in my very first article on Medium, I wrote about grounding.

4. Improve the air quality in your bedroom

This may be a less obvious one. But we breathe 12–15kg of indoor air per day, so it’s vital that this air is of good quality. I recently got a schefflera plant for my bedroom, and have had an aloe vera plant for years. Both of these are among the dozens of plants you can keep in your house which will purify the air. They remove toxins from the air, as well as converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. You can see NASA’s list of air purifying plants from their Clean Air Study here.

5. Stay active all day

Starting your day with morning movement, and engaging in low level activity throughout the day will have myriad benefits, not only for your sleep but also for your health in general. I recently wrote an article about hacking your fitness, and regular low level activity was one of the three tips I gave.

“A sedentary life causes you to breathe only shallowly, and this strains the heart and starves the brain… You think you are fatigued or bored at the end of a day of sitting, but it’s really more than that. Your brain is starved of oxygen, and so are the tissues in your body.”

Exercise has consistently been shown to improve sleep quality, by decreasing time to fall asleep, increasing time spent asleep, and increasing the amount of deep sleep.

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

6. Supplement

There are numerous supplements you can take to support your sleep quality.

Magnesium

One of the better known supplements is magnesium, known for its effects on stress and tension. Being sleep deprived and chronically stressed can actually decrease magnesium levels in the body, making it even more important to supplement with it. Supplementing with magnesium can increase deep sleep and decrease cortisol levels (the stress hormone). It will help you wind down and lower anxiety levels, making it a lot easier to fall asleep.

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid which is a precursor to melatonin, so is important to have in your diet if you want to sleep well. Eat foods high in tryptophan before bed, such as turkey and chicken, eggs, nuts and seeds, and seafood.

L-Theanine

Another amino acid, L-Theanine promotes feelings of calm and helps you fall asleep. It’s also a good remedy for anxiety. L-Theanine increases alpha brain waves in the brain, the kind that occur during meditation.

Adaptogens

An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps your body adapt to stress and return to, or maintain, baseline physiological levels.

Functional mushrooms

Functional mushrooms are great. While technically considered an adaptogen, I think they deserve their own category. Functional mushrooms have so many benefits, from immunity to increased physical and cognitive performance. Something else they are good at is helping with sleep. Reishi, a type of functional mushroom, is especially helpful with sleep. It has been shown to increase total sleep time and sleep quality. Again, I use the brand Four Sigmatic.

  • Reset your circadian rhythm every morning with light and movement,
  • Engage in grounding as often as possible,
  • Improve your bedroom air quality with plants and ventilation,
  • Stay active all day long,
  • And use supplements to take your sleep quality even further.

I write about daily practices for optimizing health and happiness. Free newsletter: https://momentumhabits.substack.com/

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