Just dropping by to remind you that Daylight Saving Time ends this Sunday, November 4. And you know what that means—fall back, baby! In other words, we’re getting one more glorious hour to sheet mask, eat pasta, avoid Monday by scrolling through dog memes, or if you’re really responsible, catch some early z’s.
While there’s plenty of upside to that extra hour, some might find that the time change actually disrupts their sleep because it throws their body clock out of sorts. To proactively get ahead of any slumber woes, we sourced better sleep tips from certified health practitioners who know a thing or two about recommending seven to eight hours of nightly rest. See their tips on how to get uninterrupted beauty sleep, ahead.
This way to more restful sleep:
According to Dr. Ian Stern, a chiropractor and certified clinical nutritionist based in New York, one key to biohacking your sleep is mediation. “Meditation has been shown to reduce cortisol, which helps facilitate a better night’s sleep. As cortisol declines throughout the day, your body can increase GABA and melatonin production, two hormones produced in the brain that increase relaxation—thus giving your body the ability to fall and stay asleep.”
If meditation isn’t your thing, Dr. Stern recommends using herbal support to decrease cortisol. “Two of my favorite cortisol lowering herbs are holy basil and magnolia bark. Try not to rely on melatonin. While melatonin is important for a great night’s sleep, it is a hormone produced by the body naturally. If supplemented, it will reduce your body’s natural production of it.”
Dr. Stern also stresses the importance of having the same bedtime and wake-up time throughout the week. “This practice helps regulate the body’s internal clock, allowing for more consistent sleep.”
We could all probably guess that scrolling through our phones before bed isn’t great for sleep, but research in fact shows that exposure to blue light before bedtime makes it harder to fall asleep and reduces sleep quality. Itamar Shatz, PhD candidate at Cambridge University, posits that, “This is because blue light signals to your body that you should remain awake by suppressing the production of melatonin. One way to solve this issue, aside from not using any electronic devices in the hours before bedtime, is to turn on blue light filters on our devices. Most modern devices have dedicated settings for this (with names like night mode or blue light filters), but if your device doesn’t, you could try downloading a relevant app instead.”
Dr. Whitney Roban, clinical psychologist and family sleep specialist, suggests implementing a brief and consistent pre-sleep routine. “This signals to the brain that it is time for sleep, and when the brain is calm the body will follow suit. Some recommendations for pre-sleep routine activities are journaling, meditation, deep breathing, yoga stretches, reading (not on an electronic device), and listening to relaxing music.”
Dr. Roban also notes that daily exercise should end at least two hours before bed. This is because working out increases cortisol production (which increases alertness, thus making falling asleep more challenging).
There’s certainly been plenty of buzz around CBD oil and its suggested uses and health benefits. Medical nutritionist Dr. Sarah Brewer has found CBD oil to be personally successful before bed. “[When I take it] I sleep deeply and wake feeling refreshed. CBD is one of the best supplements to help you relax, lift your mood, and promote general feelings of well-being. It helps you achieve a good night’s sleep by reducing muscle tension, reducing restlessness and anxiety, and by supporting a normal pattern of REM sleep.” If you’re one of the 29 states (or D.C.) that has it legalized, it could be something to consider adding to your bedtime routine.
While Dr. Roban recommends getting at least one hour of sunlight per day to help with circadian rhythms, she also notes that sleep comes more naturally in a cool, dark, and quiet place. “Bedrooms should be kept at a temperature of approximately 68 degrees and black out shades should be on the windows.” Other often overlooked tips include experimenting with different sheet textures and types to find the one most suitable to your comfort needs, and testing out different diffuser essential oils to find one that is most calming to you. Finally, to ensure the bedroom is a true sanctuary for sleep, avoid bringing work into the room.
Ali Cody, a certified holistic nutritionist advises clients who have trouble sleeping “to eat eight to 16 sweet dark cherries (fresh or frozen) before bedtime because they contain melatonin, which helps calm our mind for a restful night’s sleep.” She adds, “What’s great about eating the cherries (as opposed to taking a pill or supplement) is that we benefit from all of the many nutrients in the whole food more than we could ever benefit from a man-made pill. Cherries also contain fiber, which aids in digestion, lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugar, and helps with weight loss. Cherries also contain vitamin C, calcium, protein, and iron.”
Laura Federico MS, LCSW, says, “It can feel incredibly challenging to slow down our thoughts at the end of the day, and to find a sense of calm. Our bodies and minds are interconnected, and when our minds are busy, our bodies are not relaxed. Add a body scan to your nightly routine, as a way to calm your body and mind. Start at your feet and work your way up your body, gently paying attention to each part. As any thoughts of the day work their way into your mind, simply redirect your attention to your body. This is an easy way to decompress and ease your way into sleep.”
Shweta Shyamani, therapist and mindset coach, found a few lesser-known methods that worked for her clients. “One is taking a stainless steel spoon and running the back of the spoon along the bottom of your foot. We have pressure points and energy centers on the bottoms of our feet and the metal spoon helps you open them up and ground our energy to settle down an overactive mind.”
She also found success with the safe mode pose, which she describes as “placing a flat hand on your forehead and the other hand flat on the back of the head opposite the front. Hold your hands here and breathe. You can do this sitting up or lying down, so it is perfect if you’re asleep and then awakened with your mind racing in the middle of the night. Stay there and breathe deeply holding your hands in the front and back positions on your head. You will either fall back asleep with your hands there or will instinctively release your hands once the nervous system is relaxed. Your hands are sending an electromagnetic signal to the hypothalamus and brain that it is safe to relax.”