Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene
Good sleep hygiene is so important for a better night’s rest. If you’re struggling to go to sleep, or stay asleep, on most nights, there are a few tips for improving your sleep hygiene, and your quality of rest along with it.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is the practice of preparing for sleep, as you would when stretching your muscles ahead of exercise.
With our busy lives, it’s often difficult to get a good night’s rest, because we’re so wired right up to the time we go to bed. This is because of something called brain waves. Our day-to-day lives are mostly spent in a beta wave state. This is how we think, problem solve, plan and, yes, at the higher wave levels, even stress out!
However, good sleep happens in the theta and delta wave states – these are the brain waves which allow us to get a night of deep, restorative and recharging sleep.
And to be able to switch from the two types of waves – from beta to theta and delta – is where good sleep hygiene comes in.
Tip #1: How much caffeine do you drink?
One of the best ways to improve your sleep hygiene is to reduce your caffeine intake during the day. It’s really difficult to get into the theta and delta states when your body is still wired from processing the effects of caffeine. We personally don’t drink any caffeine after 4pm, and don’t drink coffee in the afternoon at all.
This is because caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours. So if you drink 40mg of caffeine, you will have 20mg in your system after 5 hours. Different caffeine products have different levels of caffeine. On average, a cup of coffee has 95mg and tea has 47mg. This is why we stop drinking coffee for the day long before tea. If we drink a cup of coffee at 4pm, come 9pm we would still have a whole cup of tea’s worth of caffeine in our systems!
Which is why we created a range of caffeine free blends. We love to have tea with milk right into the evening, and our Rooibos Infusions and Herbal Blends allow us to have a good cup of tea, without missing out on sleep.
Tip #2: Reduce your screen time
Not only does blue light from devices and phones reduce melatonin production, which is essential for good sleep, but it’s also difficult to switch from the elevated mental states that social media and apps are designed to produce, to the theta and delta wave states that are essential for sleep.
We stay off our phones after 9pm, and try not to have any technology in the bedroom. Instead, we’d recommend a sunlight alarm clock, which helps wake you to a natural sunlight and noise, as well as devices like Morphee, which prepare your mind for good sleep.
We like to make a ritual out of having our Bedtime Blend every evening. We put our phones away, make a cup of Bedtime Blend in our clear glass teapots, meditatively watch the leaves unfurl and then sit and mindfully drink the cup. By the time we’re finished, we’ll have relaxed our brain waves into the slower state, and be ready for sleep.
Tip #3: Drink Clarity Blend
If you are going through a period of poor sleep, it might be worthwhile cutting out caffeine altogether. This will allow your body to regain its natural rhythm, without caffeine interfering with its production of sleep hormones. Plus caffeine can put a strain on an already tired system.
We created Clarity Blend for those periods when you’re avoiding caffeine, but still need to reduce fatigue, increase alertness and brain performance, and feel more awake. With a combination of Rosemary, Sage and Peppermint, as well as a potent dose of Gingko Biloba and Gotu Kola, functional herbs which mirror the positive effects of caffeine, we are able to replicate the benefits of caffeine without it affecting our sleep.
Tip #4: Reading before bed
Studies have shown that reading a book before bed results in less disturbed sleep. Reading a physical book can improve sleep quality, reduce stress and even improve creativity. The trick is to find a book which helps relax you, by immersing you into its story. We find for this reason that fiction books work best for us, but really any book which fully captures your attention, and allows you to redirect your thoughts into whatever you are reading would work well.
Tip #5: When you sleep matters
Lastly, when you go to sleep matters for sleep hygiene. The hours of sleep before midnight are deeply restorative for the body. This is because the body goes through more cycles of REM sleep as we approach daylight, meaning that those going to bed later in the night miss out on the crucial cycles of non-REM sleep that our body uses for deep rest and restoration. So trying to get to bed at some point between 10pm and midnight can be crucial for good sleep.
Top Tips Overview
Drink less caffeine during the day
Reduce your screen time before bed
Periodically swap caffeine for Clarity Blend
Read a book before bed
Go to sleep between 10pm and 12am