Want Better Sleep? Focus on These 15 Highly Effective Tips

May 23, 2023

With coffee shops on every corner, energy drinks in every gas station, and phrases like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, it’s no wonder we’re all exhausted. Our fixation on productivity has pushed rest, relaxation, and most importantly, sleep, to the back burner.

But what effect does this “hustle culture” have on our health?

In this article, we’ll discuss why sleep is, in fact, a life-or-death matter. Plus, we’ll reveal five long-term effects of sleep deprivation, how much sleep you actually need, and 15 tips on how to get the best sleep of your life.

How Modern Life Negatively Impacts Your Sleep

Our fast-paced lifestyles have made sleep a luxury to many…

The average person used to consistently get 9 to 10 hours of sleep. They got up with the sun and went to bed shortly after it set. Humans were designed to live this way—this one simple habit is what kept our internal systems balanced.

Yet, as life evolved, we found a way to make our days longer: with the invention of artificial light. Smart phones. City lights. 60-inch flatscreen TVs. With light inundating us from all directions, it’s no wonder out bodies are confused.

Because of this, insomnia has reached epidemic proportions. So much so that sleeping aid sales soared to $37 billion in 2022, a number that’s only growing (1).

Why Sleep Is Essential for Optimal Health

Did you know you can actually die from lack of sleep? In fact, if the human body is deprived of food and sleep, you would die of sleep deprivation long before you’d die of starvation.

We used to think sleep was a passive time, where the body and mind were essentially dormant until we woke up. But this couldn't be further from the truth. 

During sleep, the brain and body are engaged in a number of activities crucial for life. Sleep is your body’s chance to recharge and rejuvenate.

While we sleep, our bodies:

  • Repair damaged cells and tissues
  • Re-balance hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Reorganize and process events and information from the previous day 

Throughout sleep, your body will cycle between deep Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Non-REM sleep. In a typical night, your body will go through about 4 or 5 cycles. Both types of sleep are crucial and can negatively impact your health if you’re not getting enough.

Pouring a scoop of chocolate Collagen PM in a mug with the container behind it

You Deserve a Good Night's Sleep.

Drift to sleep with our cozy and calming Collagen PM. It uses natural ingredients like melatonin to help calm your mind and body to promote restful sleep.

Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation (Less Than 7 Hours/Night)

Not getting enough sleep can do a whole lot more than cause dark circles under your eyes. Let’s take a look at just a few of the ways lack of sleep can negatively impact your health.

Weakens Your Immune System

Ever notice that you get really tired when you have a cold or flu? That’s because sleep is vital for immune function. Your body knows this and signals you to get some rest so your immune system can be restored and get to work on fighting off pathogens.

Even a minor amount of sleep deprivation can tank your immune system's ability to fight off infections (2). One study found that people who got less than 7 hours of sleep at night were three times more likely to contract the common cold than people who slept at least 8 hours each night (3).

Causes Brain Fog

If you’ve ever struggled to concentrate when you’re running low on sleep, you’ve experienced firsthand how sleep deprivation can impact your brain. Adequate sleep is vital for memory, concentration, and productivity. 

Studies have found that sleep deprivation can have such a negative impact on brain function that the effects are equivalent to alcohol intoxication (4). Being deprived of sleep (even mildly) is equivalent to a 0.1% blood alcohol content (BAC) level.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s estimated that in 2017 alone, drowsy driving was responsible for (5):

  • 91,000 vehicle crashes
  • 50,000 vehicle-related injuries
  • 800 vehicle-related deaths

Increases Risk for Chronic Disease

If you’re regularly cutting your sleep short, you could be setting yourself up for long-term health concerns.

Sleep deprivation increases your risk for (6, 7, 8, 9, 10):

To make matters worse, poor sleep is linked with increased systemic inflammation (11, 12). Chronic systemic inflammation has been linked as one of the root causes of virtually all chronic diseases.

Causes Weight Gain

Studies have found that people who consistently lack enough shut-eye tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate rest. So much so that poor sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity. 

One study looking at the correlation between lack of sleep and obesity uncovered some startling statistics. Children and adults with chronic short sleep duration were respectively 89% and 59% more likely to become obese (13).

The correlation between obesity and sleep deprivation is likely due to a number of factors. Sleep plays an important role in hormone regulation, appetite, insulin sensitivity, and energy levels–all of which impact weight gain (14).

Linked to Depression and Suicide

Lack of sleep has been strongly linked to mental disorders such as depression. In fact, it’s estimated that 90% of people struggling with depression also have difficulty sleeping, and poor sleep has even been linked to higher rates of suicide (15, 16)

To make matters worse, being chronically tired can make it difficult to engage with and connect with others, which can increase feelings of depression and isolation. When you’re tired, your brain has increased difficulty interacting with others and picking up on social cues, and it negatively impacts your ability to process emotional information. 

How Many Hours of Sleep Is Enough?

Eight hours tend to be the golden standard when it comes to sleep time. However everyone’s body and sleep needs are unique and may even vary depending on the time of year or what is going on in your life.

Sleep duration isn’t the only thing you need to consider. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the number of hours you are counting. 

Sleep quality refers to how restful your sleep actually is. Some determinants of quality sleep include:

  • Falling asleep within 30 minutes
  • Sleeping soundly through the night without waking up more than once
  • Falling back to sleep within 20-30 minutes if you’re woken up

The best way to gauge whether or not you’re getting enough quality sleep is to tune in and listen to your body. When you wake up in the morning, do you feel groggy, cranky, and fatigued? Do you find yourself needing to down several cups of coffee or an energy drink before you feel alert?

Your body and the way you feel on a day-to-day basis are the best indicators as to whether or not you’re getting enough restful sleep.

Pouring a scoop of chocolate Collagen PM in a mug with the container behind it

You Deserve a Good Night's Sleep.

Drift to sleep with our cozy and calming Collagen PM. It uses natural ingredients like melatonin to help calm your mind and body to promote restful sleep.

15 Highly Effective Tips for Better Sleep

Getting in the habit of practicing proper “sleep hygiene” that supports optimal sleep is one of the very best things you can do for your overall health.

While the word hygiene might make you think of washing your hands or brushing your teeth, sleep hygiene is different. It’s the set of habits and routines you practice before going to sleep. 

Establishing these habits is actually pretty simple. Here are 15 that can dramatically improve your sleep…

1. Reduce Screen Time in the Evening

Avoid watching television or using electronics such as your cell phone or laptop at least an hour before bed. The stimulation and blue light emitted from these electronics stimulates your brain and can make it difficult to wind down and get sleep.

2. Keep Your Room Dark

Even a small amount of light can trick your brain into thinking the sun is up and signal to your body that it’s supposed to awake. Keep your lights off, turn off any light emitted from electronics, and use blackout shades to keep outside light from seeping in.

3. Keep Your Cell Phone Out of the Bedroom

The light emitted from digital devices is incredibly bright and can make it difficult for your body to drift off to sleep. On top of that, text messages, phone calls, or frequent notifications on your cell phone can interrupt your sleep cycle and negatively impact your quality of sleep. 

Prioritize quality sleep by investing in an alarm clock and keep cell phones out of the bedroom. If this isn’t an option, at the very least cover your phone to avoid light exposure and silence all notifications.

4. Get More Aligned With the Sun

Our circadian rhythms are designed to be in alignment with the sun. In an ideal world, we would all be waking up with the sun and going to bed shortly after sunset. Obviously, this is not always realistic, but making an effort to stick to a more natural sleep pattern can go a long way in improving the quality of your sleep.

5. Stick to a Schedule

Creating and following a sleep schedule will help your body get into a routine and make falling asleep and staying asleep easier. Try going to bed and waking up around the same time every day.

6. Try a Natural Magnesium or Melatonin Supplement

Magnesium and melatonin are fantastic supplements for sleep as they have a calming effect on the body. Try taking a magnesium supplement or melatonin supplement 30 minutes before bedtime to stimulate your body to relax. 

7. Manage Stress

Stress and sleep are strongly linked. Chronic stress severely disrupts your duration and quality of sleep. Being proactive and finding ways to manage stress is one of the best ways to ensure you get restful sleep. 

8. Lower Your Bedroom Temperature

Some studies have found that body temperature directly correlates with sleep quality. Our body temperature naturally lowers when we sleep, so sleeping in a cool roomsignals to our body that it’s time for rest. The best temperature for falling and staying asleep is in the mid-60's. 

9. Get Some Exercise–Just Not Before Bed

Your body wants to be active and moving during the day. Getting adequate exercise will make you physically tired and ready for rest. Just try not to exercise too close to bedtime as it may energize you and make it even harder to drift off to sleep. 

10. Manage Caffeine Consumption

Caffeine affects the brain by blocking adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a sleep-promoting chemical that is produced in the brain during our waking hours. 

Normally, adenosine builds up in the brain the longer you’re awake. The more it builds up, the sleepier you become. When caffeine blocks this process, you remain alert and vigilant.

The recommended cut-off time for caffeineis a minimum of eight hours before bedtime. For example, if you typically go to bed at 10:00 PM., avoiding caffeine after 2:00 PM may help minimize sleep problems.  

11. Don’t Go to Bed With a Full Stomach

Eating a large meal just before bedtime enables discomfort and delays timely-quality sleep by interrupting your sleep cycles. Avoiding large meals close to bedtime allows your body to rest, repair, and rebalance during sleep instead of expending energy digesting food.

12. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

The standard American diet is chock full of sugars, fast-absorbing carbohydrates, and chemicals that can be stimulating to the brain and cause systemic inflammation. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in natural whole foods can help your body restore balance and promote better sleep. One of the simplest and healthiest ways to adopt an anti-inflammatory, sleep-friendly diet, is to follow the Paleo diet

13. Relax and Clear Your Mind

Developing a bedtime routine that helps you relax and clear your mind before bedtime is a great way to ensure you get a restful night’s sleep. Some things you might try:

  • Avoid the news or social media close to bedtime
  • A warm bath
  • Meditation
  • Breathwork
  • Soothing music
  • Gentle stretching 
  • Reading a good book
  • A cup of soothing herbal tea
  • Aromatherapy

14. Avoid Alcohol 

While alcohol might make you feel drowsy and drift off to sleep initially, it actually disrupts your sleep cycle and doesn’t allow you to get adequate REM sleep. And of course, having caffeine late in the day can amp up your nervous system and tell your body it’s time to wake up instead of it’s time to go to bed.

15. Take a Cold Shower in the Morning

Taking a cold shower within the first few minutes of waking up is a surefire way to make sure you’re wide awake for the day. It also jumpstarts your cortisol production and helps it return to an optimal cycle which will help you sleep at night. Try lasting 3-5 minutes and not reacting to the cold.

Pouring a scoop of chocolate Collagen PM in a mug with the container behind it

You Deserve a Good Night's Sleep.

Drift to sleep with our cozy and calming Collagen PM. It uses natural ingredients like melatonin to help calm your mind and body to promote restful sleep.

The Bottom Line

Getting an adequate amount of high-quality sleep is one of the pillars of health. It can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like sleep is a luxury that you just can’t afford. But the truth is you can’t afford to deny your body the rest it needs.

If you’re struggling to get restful sleep, try NativePath’s Collage PM. Collagen PM Nighttime Peptide Formula uses natural ingredients like melatonin to help calm your mind and body to promote restful sleep.

Dr. Chad Walding, DPT
Article by

Dr. Chad Walding, DPT

Dr. Chad Walding is the Co-Founder and Chief Culture Officer at NativePath. He is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a passion for helping people eat, move, and live in harmony with their natural state.

Read More
Share onfacebook

    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

    Leave a Comment