Sleep Habits Tips


In this section, you will discover some proven, tested ways to sleep like a baby – starting tonight.


Your body has an internal clock called your “circadian rhythm.” Primarily influenced by light exposure, it signals to your body when it is time to sleep by altering various hormones (e.g. cortisol and melatonin).

To optimise the secretion of these hormones, you must follow the light exposure rhythm in which humans have evolved. This means exposing yourself to bright light during the day while minimising light exposure at night. This does wonders for your sleep.

In the daytime, it is best to expose yourself to the light of the sun for at least 30 minutes a day. If that is not possible, consider investing in a daylight lamp (also known as a full-spectrum lamp). When strong enough (2,500 lux or more), it mimics sunlight and improves sleep.

A 10,000 lux lamp is ideal and only requires 20 to 30 minutes of exposure to be effective. However, 2,500 lux can be as effective if you are exposed to it for two hours. Just have the light on throughout the day or upon awakening to enhance your sleep at night.

At night, limit (blue) light exposure because it prevents the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin.  Do so by sleeping in a pitch-dark room, the “I can not see my pillow” kind of dark. You can purchase black-out curtains to create total darkness in your bedroom at night.

If you want to watch TV or use the computer at night, invest in a pair of blue-light blocking glasses. Since blue light is the main circadian disruptor at night, these glasses increase melatonin secretion and boost sleep quality.

Both cold and heat can affect sleep quality. To optimise your bedroom temperature, set the thermostat at 19°C (66.2 F). If you do not have a thermostat, go by feel. Keep in mind, however, that it is better to have the room a bit too cold than too hot when it comes to improving sleep quality.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day enhances sleep quality. The reason is that it supports your circadian rhythm. It is important to maintain this consistent schedule throughout the week, meaning the weekend as well. 

The caffeine in coffee has numerous benefits. A single dose can enhance focus, energy and sports performance according to a meta-analysis study.

However, when coffee is consumed late in the day, it stimulates parts of your autonomic nervous system. This may stop your body from relaxing at night. One study showed how, consuming coffee up to six hours before going bed negatively affected sleep quality. [23]

Levels of caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for up to 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended — especially if you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping 

If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, choose decaffeinated coffee.

While short naps, often referred to as ‘power naps’ can be helpful in regaining energy and focus, napping for longer than 25 minutes during the day can negatively impact your sleep at night.

Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, resulting in a struggle to sleep at night.  In fact, in one study, participants ended up being sleepier during the day after taking daytime naps.

If you like napping during the day, set an alarm for 25 minutes. This short power nap should not affect your sleeping pattern during the night.

The way your bedroom looks and feels can affect your quality of sleep. Making your bedroom a place that invites sleep, will help you get a better night’s sleep.

Factors which can improve your bedroom environment include the room temperature, noise level, lighting and furniture arrangement. 

Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues.  In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished.

To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.

Develop a pre-sleep routine before you go to bed that helps you relax, as this can enhance your quality of sleep. Stop any work that is taxing on your brain, at least one hour before you go to bed as this will enable your body to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are a common technique used to treat insomnia.  Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing and visualization.

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