When you’re trying to live a healthy and super life, getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. A proper night's sleep reduces stress and inflammation, makes you more alert, improves memory, helps prevent cancer and heart disease, and may even help you lose weight. It helps you eat less, exercise better, and be healthier. It’s well-established that sleep is essential to our physical and mental health.
If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do. Unfortunately, far too many of us don’t get enough quality sleep and are notably tired during the day. Getting a poor night’s sleep can have immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk. Insufficient sleep can lead to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Good sleep is a foundation for good health and a happier mind. Set your days up for success, starting in the morning by waking early, including bright sunlight throughout your day, stopping drinking caffeine in the afternoons, and finishing on a strong note with a calming bedroom environment and routine. If you want to be more of a morning person and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, alert, and ready to rock your day, you absolutely must get better sleep.
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We spend so much money on skincare and serums, but sleep is totally free and one of the absolute best things you can do for your beauty routine. Your body repairs itself and recovers while you sleep, and getting enough (7 to 9 quality hours each night) can do wonders for your beauty. Great sleep is one of the best ways for you to maintain youthful-looking skin.
1. Fewer Wrinkles. Skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which helps to repair your skin and improve its elasticity. Collagen-filled skin is plumper and less likely to wrinkle. Great sleep helps decrease fine lines and wrinkles and keep skin moisturized.
2. A Glowing Complexion. Your body boosts blood flow to the skin while you sleep, so you wake in the morning to a healthy glow. Sleep keeps your blood pumping, face vibrant, and cheeks rosy.
3. Brighter, Less Puffy Eyes. When you’re under stress or low on sleep, your cortisol levels rise, salt increases in your body, and you retain water as well as puffiness. Stay well-hydrated and elevate your head with an extra pillow at night to help drain fluids, reduce swelling, and eliminate dark circles.
4. Healthier, Fuller Hair. Hair follicles gain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from blood flow. While we sleep, when our blood is pumping, our hair can get stronger and you can grow healthy beautiful locks. Lack of sleep and stress can cause hair loss, breakage, damage, and even growth.
5. Beautiful, Healthy, Glowing Skin. When we sleep, our skin heals itself from damage we’ve sustained during the day from UV rays or pollution. New skin cells grow faster while you sleep, and this creates an incredible time of renewal and restoration. Make sure to wash your face before going to sleep, and use products that moisturize and pamper your skin while you sleep so you can wake up glowing and beautiful.
Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. If you suffer from insomnia, you will probably feel tired all the time, have low energy and fluctuating moods, and have difficulty concentrating and decreased performance. Insomnia could be caused by unhealthy sleep habits, environmental changes, medication, and so much more. People with insomnia tend to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. If you try the methods below and are still having trouble falling asleep, you may consider talking to your doctor and seeing if there’s a bigger underlying issue.
Benefits of Sleep
Reduces stress. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces an elevated level of stress hormones. Deep and regular sleep can help prevent this and reduce stress and anxiety.
Improves memory. When you sleep well, your body gets to rest and your brain gets to organize and store memories. Getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.
Improves your immune system. Sleep strengthens your ability to fight infections. If you’re feeling a bit run down, consider going to bed early and getting lots of sleep.
Reduces pain. Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and a lower pain threshold. Basically the more sleep you get, the less pain you can be in.
Makes you smarter. Sleep can help you feel sharper, more attentive, and focused throughout the day.
Helps you maintain weight. Sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight by regulating the hormones that affect your appetite and reducing your food cravings.
Improves mood. The better you sleep, the better your ability to stay calm, controlled and reasonable.
Lowers blood pressure. Getting plenty of restful sleep encourages a constant state of relaxation that can help reduce blood pressure and keep it under control.
Keeps your heart healthy. A regular sleep pattern can help to lower the levels of stress and inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which in turn can reduce your chances of a heart condition.
How to Sleep Better
Incorporate The Right Daily Habits
Increase bright light exposure during the day. Your circadian rhythm naturally keeps track of your time, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep. Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy, increases energy, and improves sleep. Try getting daily sunlight exposure or invest in an artificial bright light device or bulbs.
Don’t consume caffeine late in the day. I drink green tea every single day, and I love the benefits of tea and coffee. The caffeine helps us focus, increases energy, and improves performance. However, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. I typically try to stop drinking caffeine around 3 or 4 in the afternoon.
Exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. It can enhance all aspects of sleep and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia. Daily exercise is key for a good night’s sleep, but it can be stimulatory. Make sure to exercise earlier in the day to increase alertness, burn calories, and set yourself up for a sleepful night.
Try to sleep and wake at consistent times. Your body’s circadian rhythm is essentially a loop that aligns with sunrise and sunset. It is so tempting to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, but keeping a more consistent sleep and waking schedule can aid long-term sleep quality. Irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep. Try going a few weeks on a very similar schedule and you may begin to see yourself naturally waking up without an alarm and feeling more rested more often.
Switch Up Your Evening Routine
Reduce blue light exposure at night. Blue light can negatively impact your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces melatonin which helps you relax and get deep sleep. Blue light from phones and computers can have huge impacts on keeping us up late at night. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening. I’m a big proponent of turning off the TV and avoiding my phone and laptop after 8 at night. If you are using screens, though, you can download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer and install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone.
Don’t eat late at night. Eating too late can negatively affect sleep and release of melatonin. It can also cause weight gain since your body doesn’t have time to digest the meal before going to sleep. Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. Just like limiting exposure to blue light, I eat my dinner in time to stop eating by 8:00 almost every night. When you go to bed on a lighter stomach, it’s much easier to limit the tossing and turning and fall asleep fast.
Don’t drink liquids late at night. Drinking liquids before bed can cause you to get up multiple times throughout the night to go to the bathroom. It’s so important to stay hydrated, so work hard to drink 64+ ounces of water during the day while you’re working. If you can, again, limit your water intake after 8:00 coming off of a well-hydrated day, you can sleep through the night and have much higher-quality rest.
Drink alcohol rarely. Drinking can totally throw off your sleep and hormones. Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns and alter melatonin production. Avoid alcohol before bed to keep your natural levels of melatonin high and keep your sleep high-quality.
Optimize your bedroom environment. Your bedroom environment can play a big role in getting a good night’s sleep. It helps to keep a cold, quiet, dark, and decluttered room. If need be, get blackout curtains, a sleep mask, a fan, earplugs, and/or a noisemaker to keep your bedroom environment at its peak for high-quality sleep. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place. Your bedroom should feel like a sleep oasis — stress and distraction-free.
Meditate and relax. Right before you go to bed, spend 10-30 minutes winding down and relaxing. This is such an incredible time to meditate, which helps you calm down and manage stress. I love to meditate, practice gratitude, and spend some time journaling and/or reading before I go to bed to slow my mind down, keep me off my phone, and separate my cherished relaxing time in bed from the rest of my day.
Take melatonin or another supplement. Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and go to sleep. Melatonin can help treat insomnia, help you fall asleep faster, improve sleep quality, and provide energy for the next morning. It is non-addictive, great for keeping your circadian rhythm on track, and a super cheap and easy way to improve your sleep. I’ve also had some success with other tools like magnesium and lavender for quality sleep.
Best Tools for Sleep
All of the habits above can do wonders for your sleep quality and quantity. If it’s still not quite cutting it, though, you might want to make sure you have the right tools in place for a solid night’s sleep. I currently have a sleep number bed (that was passed down to me so I got it for free - win!). I really like the sheets I have, the pillows my own, and my cushy decadently soft bed. When I get in bed at night, it’s not hard for me to shift myself ‘off’ and go into meditate/read/sleep mode. I adore my sleep setup, and having the right tools in place can give you super sleep. That super sleep then helps your heart, gives you energy, and replenishes your skin, hair, muscles, cognitive functions, and more.
Get a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow. Your mattress plays a huge role in your sleep. The right mattress can reduce back, shoulder, and neck pain, and improve sleep. Puffy Mattress is one of my favorites that ships right to you. They have a 101 night sleep trial, a lifetime warranty, and they donate mattresses to children in need. Puffy has some great options for mattresses, bedding, and pillows that provide a cloud-like restful sleep.
Silk Pillowcase - Silk is easier on your hair and skin, and it helps avoid tangles and wrinkles
Blackout Curtains - These curtains can totally block light out from keeping you awake
Sleep Mask - A cheap cotton mask can also block out light and stay on cozy all night
Noise Machine - Ambient sounds can help cover up any sudden noise that might occur
Earplugs - Ear plugs are super effective and are easily available from a bedside table
Melatonin - When you start to feel that first restlessness, take a melatonin and work to slow down and stop your edgy thoughts
Sleep Better Consistently
We know that getting proper sleep makes a big difference in our days. A quality night of sleep is essentially a ‘reset’ for your body so you can jump back in rested and ready to take on a new day. It helps our heart, provides energy, and recharges our muscles and mind. Commit to getting enough sleep (ideally 8+ hours) and setting up your day and environment for quality sleep. You've got this!
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