Five Better Sleep Tips From the Experts. Sleep Aids and Sleep Hygiene to Celebrate Sleep Awareness Month

 

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

Sleep is one of the most important things for quality of life.  

Well, it turns out, you can dramatically increase your sleep quality or what is coined recently as sleep hygiene with a few small tweaks.  In fact, these same sleep hygiene tweaks took my sleep score from a 57 to an 89 in a matter of days.  

We are not alone in your challenging relationship with sleep.   It is estimated that roughly 30-40% of the population experience bouts of insomnia, with 10-15% suffering from chronic insomnia. Those who suffer from insomnia are more likely to develop chronic illnesses and mental health issues, to be injured or involved in an accident, to underperform at work, to report a lower quality of life, and to utilize the health care system more. 

Our dysfunctional relationship with sleep is a Public Health Issue and March has been designated National Sleep Awareness Month and March 15, 2021, is world Sleep Day all with the purpose of drawing our attention to the issue.  

So we are.  We have consulted with the experts to learn how to implement important changes to our wellness routine and to learn what their favorite sleep aids are for improving our sleep hygiene and our relationship with this important part of our wellbeing.  

Develop a Pre-Sleep Gratitude Practice

Inna Khazan, Ph.D., health and performance psychologist, faculty member at Harvard Medical School specializing in sleep, and author of Biofeedback and Mindfulness in Everyday Life recommends a gratitude practice prior to bed as a sleep aid.  “Studies show that practicing gratitude, particularly at bedtime, improves quality of sleep. Here’s what you might do: Keep a notebook and a pen on your bedside table. Every night before going to sleep, write down three things you’ve been grateful for or have appreciated that day. It is particularly helpful to think about small things you’ve appreciated or been grateful for, such as someone holding the door open for you when you had your hands full.” 

Take a Hot Bath

Hot baths are a well known sleep aid.  Katherine Duggan, Ph.D., assistant professor of social and health psychology at North Dakota State University, specializing in sleep and health says her “favorite science-backed sleep tip is to take a hot shower or a bath immediately prior to bedtime because the sudden drop in body temperature is a physiological signal for sleep. Plus, baths and hot showers are relaxing, and they’re breaks from screen time too!”  

This 2019 study titled Before-bedtime passive body heating by warm shower or bath to improve sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis indicated that a bath 1–2 hours before bedtime for as little 10 min significant shortening of Sleep Onset Latency (the time based on objective scoring factors that a person took to fall asleep).  These findings are consistent with the mechanism of PBHWB (Water-based passive body heating  effects) which are that a bath actually decreases the core body temperature due to resulting blood flow mechanisms which cause heat dissipation.   

Our favorite addition to any bath time regime, but especially one geared at preparing you for an incredible sleep, is our AAAH CBD Bath Bomb.  As we discussed in our article Top Tips for Calming the Mind the positive benefits from a hot bath are only amplified with an AAAH CBD bath bombAAAH is packed with sleep inducing essential oils that immediately penetrate your senses for a positive relaxing and mind calming effect.  Our happy customers have found that not only the concentrated CBD in  AAAH CBD bath bombs calms their minds and and prepares them for healthy sleep at the end of the day but the essential oils for sleep help relax their bodies and minds.  

Pay attention to Your Bodies Cues that You are Ready to Sleep

Part of developing good sleep hygiene is listening to your body's cues.  Eti Ben Simon, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science  says that in order to make sure he gets to bed on time, he pays attention to his body’s temperature. “Every night when it is time to fall asleep, our body lowers its temperature by two to three degrees Fahrenheit. To lose that excess heat, our feet and hands act as radiators to dispense heat from the body out to the environment around us. This process happens every night and it is our body’s way of telling us it is time to go to bed. I often use this signal — feeling extra heat in my hands and feet — as a reminder to stop what I’m doing and call it a day.”  

Missing these cues can cause us to get a second wind.  Second wind (or third wind, fourth wind, etc.), a colloquial name for the scientific term wake maintenance zone.  A Second wind is a sleep phenomenon in which a person, after a prolonged period of staying awake, temporarily ceases to feel drowsy, often making it difficult to fall asleep when exhausted.  According to the University of North Texas Health Science Center of Fort Worth our master clock wants cues for it to stop promoting wakefulness. “It says ‘Oh, we’re not going to sleep right now! Let me help you stay awake.’ And we get that second wind,” Dr. Roane, a sleep expert said.

If we miss those cues by not listening then it becomes harder to fall asleep and we have poor sleep hygiene.  

Red Light Therapy

 

At Madrigal Creatives it is no secret that we love red light therapy almost as much as we do baths.  In our article How to Amplify the Beneficial Effects of Red Light Therapy for Muscle Recovery - Near and Far Infrared for Muscle Recovery we discuss the the mechanism of Red Light Therapy.  The biochemistry involved with red light is complex and many researchers like Dr. Hamblin have dedicated their entire career to researching the effects of Red Light therapy on our bodies.   

Red light therapy is extremely calming and relaxing and functions as a powerful sleep aid since there is evidence that it can boost serum melatonin levels.  Melatonin is important for sleep quality and is a sleep aid as a regulator of the sleep wake cycle.   It also has the added benefit of increasing your energy throughout the day by optimizing ATP production, which can counteract many of the effects of lack of sleep, such as drowsiness and lack of focus. It is also thought that Red Light mimics a sunset providing a cue to your body that it is time to sleep as opposed to the sunrise which has more blue tones.  

We also discuss in our article  Four Things You can Do Today to Increase the Benefits of Red Light Therapy the use of magnesium body spray like Soothe Magnesium CBD Body Spray prior to Red light Therapy.  Magnesium in and of itself is a sleep aid with its own pre-sleep benefits but used with Red Light Therapy, it penetrates the skin with the near and far infrared light replenishing this important mineral.  At the same time while the lights penetrate deep they can increase the penetration of anti-inflammatory plant powered ingredients, like CBD that further support sleep.  

Integrate CBD Into Your Sleep Routine

 

CBD is a well research sleep aid.  We discuss the basics of what Cannabidiol is in our FAQ and many other learning Resources.  In short, CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, a prominent naturally-occurring cannabinoid component found in hemp or cannabis plants.  CBD is by far the most studied natural cannabinoid, especially when it comes to medical benefits and addressing issues such as insomnia and anxiety and according to many researchers, CBD may be the single most important cannabinoid ever discovered says health expert Ben Greenfield.  We focus on CBD and how it supports sleep in our video on CBD and Relaxation  here most notably CBD is a powerful sleep aid since it assists the increase of serotonin and melatonin enabling normal sleep patterns.

What most fail to consider are the many forms of CBD available that can assist with sleep.  There is both ingestible and topical forms.  Many people do not consider that topical CBD can support them with sleep but at Madrigal Creatives we also understand that magnesium, CBD and essential oils all are supported by research to contribute to healthy sleep and have combined them in our Soothe Body Magnesium Body Spray.  Soothe combined with our water soluble hemp spray in our Sanctuary Bundle is a powerful way to use CBD to support sleep.    

 

If you have insomnia or are sleep-deprived already, you could see decreased performance, concentration and memory during the workday, which is common to sleep-deprived individuals.  You also may experience fatigue and daytime sleepiness. All of these are more likely if you consume alcohol, blue light or caffeine late in the evening.  

Celebrate Sleep Awareness Month with us by considering how you can improve your sleep by using the strategies above including hot baths, red light therapy gratitude, a consistent sleep schedule, and using CBD along with improving your sleep hygiene by reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine to get the sleep you need to experience the benefits of Living More.