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    5 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster

    5 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster
    15 May 2022 Stephanie Drax
    5 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster

    5 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster

    How many times have we hit the hay only to find ourselves staring at the ceiling for hours on end? Stress and anxiety too often stall our dreams, and – as we often say at Leapfrog Remedies – sleep is the bedrock of the immune system. The health benefits of sleep are myriad: it’s the time when our cells repair and regrow, and when our immune system produces infection-fighting cytokines to keep us well (1). So here are some tips on how to fall asleep and stay asleep so that you can be better prepared for the day ahead.

    1. Get Natural Light First Thing

    It’s common knowledge that regular waking and sleeping times are king when it comes to optimal sleep. Every cell in our body has a 24-hour clock and if we interfere with this circadian rhythm we’re in for some restless nights. To set ourselves up for success we should get outside within the first hour after waking, ideally spending 20 minutes soaking in some photons. This triggers a cortisol pulse that generates focus and activation for the day. It also sets a 16-hour timer before the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. Avoid screens first thing and get natural light into your eyes to give your body the correct cues for optimal day and night functioning.

    2. Get The Right Bedroom Temperature

    The bedroom environment plays an instrumental role in the quality of our sleep (2). Our bodies have an internal heat distribution system – thermoregulation – and this affects our sleep cycles. We need to drop our core body tempertature by 1 degree to initiate sleep and to stay asleep. A hot or freezing cold room can interfere with our natural process of circulating heat and can disturb the conditions for slumber. A stuffy room is never a nice thing (and if there are germs, you’re sitting in viral soup – so fresh air is always a good idea). The Sleep Foundation suggests that the optimal temperature for sleeping is approximately 18.3 degrees Celsius. It can be a little warmer – up to 21 degrees Celsius – for babies, children and the elderly. It is a personal preference of course, but a cooler room can improve sleep quality. Your body goes through a natural cooling process at night, signalling bedtime to the brain, so a cool room facilitates that.

    3. Avoid Caffeine 7+ Hours Before Sleep

    The health benefits of coffee are now widely appreciated, but we need to be mindful of when we drink it. Not first thing on waking, as it clashes with our natural cortisol release that wakes us up and makes us alert – save your caffeine until an hour after waking. The stimulating effects of caffeine that we know and love can also reduce the amount of deep sleep that we get. Caffeine reaches a peak level in the blood between 30-60 minutes after drinking and has a half-life of 6 hours (the time it takes for half of the caffeine to get out of your system) and a quarter life of 12 hours. Meaning a cup of coffee at noon, and you’ve got a quarter of coffee in your brain at midnight (and coffee with dinner can reduce your deep sleep by as much as 20%). One study also shows that caffeine can delay your circadian clock by 40 minutes, so all-in-all avoid coffee 12-14 hours before bedtime if you can (3).

    4. Avoid Blue Light At Night

    This is possibly the worst culprit in the quest for good sleep – exposure to your computer, phone or TV. Light is the way that our body keeps in synch with the world – it controls our cortisol and melatonin levels, to wake us up and wind us down. Screens wreak havoc with our circadian rhythm, and while we’re not suggesting you ditch the box set, you could invest in some blue blocking glasses (or screens for computers/phones) to minimize the blue light emitted. Blocking out the blue for two to three hours before bed can have a profound effect. You can dim the lights in the your bedroom for extra brownie points.

    5. Try An Evening Bathing Ritual

    Taking a bath is a great way to counter the stress and anxiety of the day and get you into the right frame of mind for sleep. The magnesium in Epsom salts may help reduce anxiety, stress and depression and has been suggested to increase serotonin, the happiness hormone. So, consider sprinkling some into water to dissolve – it will also make you more buoyant as you relax. A meta-analysis of 17 studies into the effects of warm showers and baths 1-2 hours before sleep concluded that and increase in body temperature facilitated by the warm water significantly shortened the time it takes to fall asleep (4).

    Note: If you continue to have trouble sleeping, do speak to your GP who may be able to unlock the issues causing the insomnia. Check out the NHS for advice too.

    Here’s The Science…
    (1) Effects of poor sleep on the immune cell landscape

    (2) The Effects of High-Temperature Weather on Human Sleep Quality and Appetite

    (3) Effects of caffeine on the human circadian clock in vivo and in vitro

    (4) Before-bedtime passive body heating by warm shower or bath to improve sleep

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