How to Sleep Better in 11 Simple Steps
How to sleep better. It’s one of life’s biggest challenges in our manic, modern world. With our busy schedules juggling work, play, clients, friends, and family, sometimes it’s hard to switch our brains off when it comes to catching some zzz’s.
So how do we do it? Well, thankfully there are many tips and techniques out there to help you switch off and head to your dreams. From skipping that late afternoon coffee to opting for comfy and breathable sleepwear, here’s how to sleep better in 11 simple steps.
1. Don’t have caffeine late in the day
While caffeine has many benefits, such as improving focus and performance, it can also stimulate your nervous system and may prevent your body from being able to naturally relax at night. This is because caffeine can remain in your blood for up to eight hours, meaning drinking large amounts of it beyond 3-4 pm is not ideal. Sorry, coffee lovers! Skip that afternoon flat white and reach for a dandelion tea instead.
2. Get more bright light in the day
Our bodies have a natural time-keeping clock called a circadian rhythm. This impacts our brains, bodies, and hormones, helping us stay awake during the day and get to sleep at night. Natural sunlight or bright light during the day ensures our circadian rhythm is working properly, meaning you’ll have better energy during the day and nod off easier at night. Another great tip for keeping your circadian rhythm is check is to aim to wake up and fall asleep at the same time every day.
3. Don’t drink alcohol before bed
There’s an age-old myth that drinking alcohol helps you sleep. Many of us know how after drinking a glass of wine or two we feel tired and perhaps go off to sleep quickly, but the quality of our sleep suffers. This is because alcohol alters nighttime melatonin production, which is essential in keeping your body’s circadian rhythm in check. If you’re going to drink before bed, ensure to flush it out your system as best you can with water.
4. Don’t eat too late
Eating too late – in particular too big a meal – can sometimes disrupt your sleeping patterns. Your digestive system is slower at night because, generally speaking, your metabolism drops when you’re sleeping. Many nutritionists suggest your last large meal being at least three hours before bedtime and sticking to smaller, more nutritious-dense meals or snacks before bed. In other words, no more skipping meals throughout the day and making up for it with a late-night feast!
5. Up your melatonin intake
Melatonin is a fundamental sleep hormone that lets your brain know when it’s time to sleep. And, while melatonin supplements are very popular for people who struggle with sleeping, you’ll also find naturally-occurring melatonin in a variety of foods. These include cherries, walnuts, rolled oats, asparagus, peanuts, olives, grapes, barley, mustard seed, and pomegranates. Good enough to sleep!
6. Consider your sleeping environment
Those who have trouble sleeping might want to think about their bedroom environment. From blocking out natural light to reducing outside noise, there are so many ways we can adjust our sleeping environments to cure our sleep problems. It’s also a good idea to keep the TV in the living room, so your bedroom can be reserved strictly for sleeping. Well, almost strictly...
7. Consider the temperature of your bedroom
It’s also important to take the temperature of your bedroom into account. Here in Australia, most of us know what it’s like to try and get to sleep during a hot summer night. One study even found that the temperature of our bedrooms affects the quality of our sleep more than noise. If you’re fortunate enough to have air-conditioning, setting this on a timer to help you get to sleep can help in the warmer months, although fans are the more eco-friendly (and affordable) option.
8. Wear comfy lounge and sleepwear
Seeing as the temperature of our sleeping environment is so important, it’s also key to consider what we’re wearing to bed. Comfy, breathable and thermoregulating loungewear and sleepwear are ideal for allowing your skin to breathe as you unwind and get into bed. Featuring bamboo nightgowns, tops, and pajama bottoms, Boody Lounge is a capsule collection of sustainable downtime wear that will see you through your nights with ease.
9. Take a bath or shower before bed
A great way to prepare for a great night’s sleep is by jumping in the bath or shower and washing away the day. We all know how relaxing a bath or shower can be, and the feeling of getting into bed clean also tends to help us drift off. Studies reveal that a bath or shower before bed can help improve the overall sleep quality and help people – particularly the elderly – fall asleep quicker.
10. Read a book
Always a great habit to factor into your before-sleep schedule, getting your nose stuck into a good book is a great way to escape the worries of your day and relax the mind before drifting off. Short on time? Even if you can squeeze in 20 minutes of reading you’re likely to notice yourself feeling naturally sleepy. And no, watching TV doesn’t have the same impact on improving your sleep hygiene.
11. Stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed
Let’s face it, we’re all addicted to screens. Whether it’s computers in the day or our phones and televisions at night, most of us would admit to getting a tad too much blue light. A great way to improve your sleep-wake-cycle and enhance healthy sleep is by stopping looking at any screens at least an hour before bed. The cut-down on the usage of social media can also be beneficial for your mental health.
For more advice on combating sleep disorders, such as practicing yoga and meditation, check out the National Sleep Foundation.
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What is Organic Cotton?
By: Heather Bien We’re all trying to be better stewards of Mother Earth. From recycling to upcycling and eating conscientiously to dressing mindfully, our choices affect the planet. So choosing organic cotton clothing seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast! As with all sustainable choices, it’s important to take a moment to learn a bit more about why organic cotton might win over conventional cotton—and what makes these two materials different in the first place. Read on if you’re interested in learning about organic cotton and whether it’s the best choice for you and the environment. Conventional cotton Before we get into debating modern cotton farming techniques, let’s get familiar with the plant we’re talking about: cotton. It’s soft, durable, and probably on your body right now. But what else do you really know about cotton? Here are the basics: Cotton comes from the cotton plant – The cotton plant is a warm-season woody perennial shrub from the genus Gossypium and the family Malvaceae. Cotton fabric is made from the plant’s fibrous seed-hair (which is also called a cotton boll). Cotton is one of the top agricultural crops – Traditional cotton is the most widespread and profitable non-food crop in the world. Although the plant is capable of growing in any warm-weather climate, India and China are now the top producers of cotton globally. Cotton is thirsty – A normal cotton plant requires 10 gallons of water to reach peak potential. That doesn’t sound so bad, but multiplying it outward, that means it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton fabric. Pests think it’s delicious – Not only is cotton thirsty, but it’s prone to pest infestations from bollworms, weevils, aphids, stink bugs, thrips, and spider mites. In order to combat these common pests, conventional cotton is routinely sprayed with a veritable salad-dressing of pesticides, many of which can remain in the soil and water supply for years afterward. Cotton harvesting requires defoliation – In order to quickly and efficiently harvest cotton, many commercial growers use chemical defoliants to strip the leaves from the cotton plant prior to harvesting the bolls. Like pesticides, these chemicals remain in the environment and on the cotton itself. Is organic cotton better? All of those cotton factoids point pretty compellingly to buying and wearing organic cotton fabric. But first, it’s important to understand what sets this organic alternative apart. Why exactly is “organic” cotton anyway? You might associate the word organic with your healthy fruits and veggies, but it’s not always clear what this term means when it comes to cotton. For many years, there was not a standard definition, but today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require that any cotton product labeled “organic” meet the following criteria: Made with fibers from USDA-certified organic crops Third-party certified (ie., through the Global Organic Textile Standard) under the National Organic Program standards Has a specific percentage of organic material (depending on the crop) But this definition is a little circular, so we need also to define USDA-certified organic crops. According to the USDA, organic crop standards are defined as follows: Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops. These can be supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used. Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available. The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. What is organic cotton? In short, it’s cotton that is farmed according to these practices and certified organic by the USDA. Why should you choose organic cotton? With fewer pesticides, fewer synthetic chemicals, and more thoughtful cultivation practices, organic cotton can certainly offer a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to regular cotton. Is organic cotton sustainable? Here are a few other reasons why organic cotton can be a better alternative for you and the earth: It’s better for our water resources – According to an analysis by the Textile Exchange, producing an organic cotton T-shirt requires 1,982 fewer gallons of water compared to a regular cotton T-shirt. Because organic cotton uses less chemicals, its production also releases fewer toxins into our aquatic ecosystems. It’s good for the soil (and our carbon footprint) – According to the Soil Association, the more natural cultivation practices and fewer pesticides used by organic cotton farmers can support healthier soil. That soil, in turn, can absorb more carbon from our atmosphere and help keep the planet healthy. It encourages biodiversity – Multiple studies have shown that organic farming practices can encourage more diversity among the animal species of our planet. Sustainability is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to plant-derived textiles, the ones which help us create a healthier world are always a better alternative. Explore the benefits of bamboo with Boody Whether you choose to purchase conventional or organic cotton clothing, the fact that you are shopping mindfully for yourself is a win for the environment. At Boody, we believe in bringing you quality, comfy, sustainable clothing basics that keep you feeling good about yourself and your personal impact on Mother Earth. From our sleepwear to our loungewear, women’s bamboo shirts to our underwear, sustainable and ethical are our touchstones. Our clothing is made of bamboo viscose, requiring less water than cotton while putting precious oxygen back into the environment. That just feels good, doesn’t it? Explore the bamboo benefits today, with Boody. Sources: Britannica. Cotton. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant Cotton. The Story of Cotton - Where Cotton Grows. https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm World Wildlife Federation. Cotton. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton Textile Exchange. Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. https://textileexchange.org/quick-guide-to-organic-cotton Soil Association. What is organic cotton? https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/fashion-textiles/organic-cotton/ USDA. Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/02/29/conservation-and-biological-diversity-organic-production About the Author: Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.