8 Natural, Science-Backed Ways to Build Better Sleep Habits

Posted May 24, 2022 by in Health + Fitness
Woman laying in bed using iPhone

Somehow we’ve come to a point where lack of sleep deprivation has turned into a rite of passage. You’ve made it, when you start discussing how little sleep you need to function or how many cups of coffee it takes to get you through the day. Why is that? 

We’ve tied our lack of sleep to our productivity for so long and yet, looking at the science, it’s actually the other way around. Sleep is known to increase focus, critical thinking ability, social skills, empathy and creativity. 

A recent study by Duffy & Duffy dug into whether or not that mentality had shifted for Americans. While almost 20% of those surveyed seemed to understand the magic of a great night’s sleep and consistently got 8+ hours, there were still 40% of those getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night. 

Is six hours of sleep enough? According to the CDC, being awake for 18 hours, in other words, sleeping only 6 hours, is the equivalent impairment of having a blood-alcohol level of 0.05%

Woman in Sleepwear with Eye Mask Sitting on Bed

Sleep Deprivation and Cancer

Matthew P. Walker, self-titled ‘The Sleep Diplomat’, has been studying sleep for years. In a recent interview with The Guardian, he explains that after just one night of only four or five hours’ sleep, the natural cells in your body that attack cancer cells – cells that appear in your body every day – drop by 70%. Sleep deprivation is linked to many cancer types and the World Health Organization has classified night-shift as a carcinogen, because of how detrimental lack of sleep is to the body. 

Getting Better Sleep

There are a few things you can focus on that will have a big impact on your sleep quantity as well as the quality. 

  1. Circadian Rhythm 

Controlled by your brain, your circadian rhythm controls when your body releases melatonin which is important in helping you get to and stay asleep. But things like blue light really mess with that. It tricks your body into believing it’s daytime and in turn, it shuts off the creation of melatonin. 

  1. Caffeine

Society’s favorite drug. However it’s one we should treat with more care as it has a quarter-life existence. Which means that cup of coffee you drink at noon? A quarter of that caffeine is still hanging out in your blood stream at midnight. Same goes for chocolate, some ice cream, kombucha, soft drinks and even some pain relievers. Caffeine is in more than just coffee. Keep an eye on ingredients and give your body the best shot you can at a good sleep. 

  1. Your Bedroom

The environment you’re sleeping in can have a big impact on your ability to get and stay asleep. Outward clutter can affect your peace of mind, a lumpy mattress can keep you awake and uncomfortable or that right street light that seems to stream directly in the window could trick your mind into believing it’s daylight. You can check out a ton of great tips here on how to make sure your bedroom is the sanctuary it could be.

Check out the visual below for a few more natural, science-backed tips you can implement today to guarantee a better, deeper sleep which will lead to a healthier, happier life!