Sleep is THE number 1 self-care habit you should absolutely go for. Getting the right amount of sleep will keep you energized throughout your entire day and it will also improve your mental health.
In this post you will get my ultimate, in-depth guide to better sleep and why sleep is important to your mental health. I will be giving you some extremely actionable steps to implement into your own routine in order to start sleeping better.
Please note, that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission of no extra cost to you. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
How much sleep do we need?
You have probably heard it before, but I will mention it again just in case. All human beings need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. The hard part of this is to figure out exactly how much you need.
Personally, I need somewhere between 8 and 9 hours. If I sleep for only 7 hours, I will be tired throughout the day, but if I sleep more than 9 hours, I will be drowsy and lazy, which is not good for productivity either. Getting just around 8 hours of sleep works perfectly for me.
This, however, varies from person to person. You need to figure out exactly how much sleep you need.
However, if you get less than 7 hours of sleep it can lead to serious mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. This is why getting enough sleep is so enormously important.
Action step 1: In order for you to figure out how much sleep you need, you can go to bed at 11 pm every night for a week and wake up whenever you need to in the morning.
If, after this week, you feel tired throughout the day, you might need more sleep. Try to change your bedtime to 10 pm instead of 11 pm and see if it makes a difference.
Why blue light is bad for you sleep
If you know how to use and manage light correctly, light exposure can be a mood booster, it can improve your sleep and increase your energy.
However, what you have probably heard of as blue light, can trigger sleeplessness, which in turn can lead to mental health problems as mentioned above.
Too much sleep interruption because of blue lights is one of the classic causes of major depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety, etc (source).
The reason why blue light can be extremely problematic is that it affects your levels of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone in your body, that has an important effect on your sleep-wake cycle.
Your melatonin levels rise in the evening and will make you more tired, and it falls in the morning, which helps you to become more alert and energetic during the day.
A couple of hours before your bedtime, your brain begins to release melatonin in order to make you feel tired and sleepy. If you use your phone, laptop or tv right before bed, the blue light from your electronics will keep your brain activated, which increases your melatonin levels (source).
You really don’t want this to happen, when you are trying to go to sleep. This is why you should turn off all your electronics 2-1,5 hours before bed. This way your brain will not be kept awake by the blue light from your electronics.
Action step 2: Make sure to turn off all of your electronics at least 2-1,5 hours before bed.
Learn how you can reduce anxiety with my bedtime rituals right here.
Use blue light blocking glasses for better sleep
Action step 3: Buying a pair of blue light blocking glasses can help you control your melatonin levels during the evening before you go to bed. You can find some pretty cool ones at Amazon:
Download Flux for sleep mode
Action step 4: Switch on night/evening mode on your phone and laptop
You can also download “Flux”. Using flux you will be able to choose and set a time for your computer to start turning from that incredible white light to a warmer light that won’t disturb your sleep.
On your phone, you can choose to switch on night mode from a specific time. Mine is set from 10 pm to 7 am.
Setting the right temperature
Several studies suggest that the most optimal sleep temperature is between 15 to 19 degrees Celsius or 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. While you are asleep your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest. This means that a cooler bedroom can help you fall asleep faster.
Action step 5: Make sure to set the correct temperature for your bedroom every night.
Supplements for your sleep
Works directly on your nervous system to help you relax before bed. It can be consumed as tea or a supplement and is generally described as a plant herb.
Chamomile is a sedative that works on your nervous system like valerian root. It works wonders for relaxing your mind right before bed.
As mentioned above, your brain naturally creates melatonin, which impacts your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin can be a powerful supplement, which means that you don’t want to overdo it.
Melatonin is also typically used for patients who have trouble falling asleep or has trouble staying asleep.
Magnesium helps your body produce melatonin. This will help you fall asleep faster and also improves your quality of sleep.
Action step 6: Do your own research on supplements for your specific sleep, if you think you need them. Make sure to check with your doctor, before you do anything.
Creating an optimal space for sleep
Even the smallest amount of light from outside can have a huge impact on your sleep.
Action step 7: Blackout curtains are a great investment for better sleep.
Action step 8: An eye mask is a great way to block out the last light. I personally use one every night.
Books I recommend
Sleep is one of the absolute most important aspects of our lives. It is also one of the least understood aspects. In the books, I recommend, important questions about sleep are answered. Questions like: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and how do common sleep aids affect us long term.
If you want to learn more about why sleep is so important for us I highly recommend these books below:
And there you have it! My ultimate, in-depth guide to better sleep and how you can fix interrupted sleep.
Do you have any tips and tricks for better sleep? Let me know in the comments below…
If you found this post helpful or inspirational, please share and save it on Pinterest and Twitter, and share it with your friends.
- How to calm your anxious mind and get some sleep
- My fall nighttime routine that will soothe anxiety and depression