Sleep. We want it, we need it, and as life gets busier and we start putting some serious mileage in the rearview mirror, it becomes one of the most elusive five-letter words in the English language. Today we want to share three strategies for sleep improvement that are relatively easy to implement. We’ll credit one of our favorite no-frills-good-stuff health and wellness podcasts, The Huberman Project, for the wisdom, and we’ll keep this short and actionable:
Strategy #1: Get some sunlight in the early morning. On bright days, 5-10 minutes outdoors may be enough; on overcast days, 20-30 minutes would be better. If outdoors isn’t an option, exposure to bright indoor lights is the next best choice. Light exposure early in the day works to retrain our circadian clock.
Strategy #2: Consider cutting off caffeine by mid-afternoon. If you are struggling with sleep onset and quality, Dr. Huberman suggests at least 8 hours before bedtime, though some may do better with an earlier cutoff. This is pretty individual, to be sure, so it’s worth some experimentation. We all know that person who can drink a double espresso and drop off to sleep five minutes later!
Strategy #3: Minimize bright light in the evening. By now we’ve probably all had it beaten into our heads that too much light at night–especially blue light from our devices–can keep us up longer. Many of us have probably had that tired but wired feeling at 10 or 11 at night, sitting and scrolling through our phones. Taking steps to minimize bright light exposure in the evening, including using apps like Twilight which shift the lights on our phones to a softer red tone, can help with sleep onset and quality.
These are suggestions and not prescriptions, to be sure, but we like these as first-line options because they’re relatively easy to implement (maybe #2 is a litttttle bit harder) and you can ease your way into all three. If you’re struggling with your sleep, consider one or more of these approaches and try what fits for you!