Staring at the ceiling. Tossing and turning. Doing the ol' "one leg in, one leg out". It's another night of restless sleep, packed with anxiety, frustration, and racing thoughts.
You're not alone. In fact, while the coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe, seized the headlines, and altered the lives of billions, a silent pandemic has crept from bedroom to bedroom. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, roughly 60% of people surveyed reported experiencing "pandemic-related insomnia", and nearly half responded that their quality of sleep had diminished across the board.
The past year and a half has presented us with the perfect storm of conditions to disrupt our sleeping habits. Our physical activity levels have plummeted, our ability to get outdoors and socialize has fluctuated wildly, and even our working schedules (which might have felt like a relief at the time) have affected our bodies' typical hours of operation. We're staying up later, sleeping in longer, and spending more time in bed. Most damaging of all has been the blurring of lines between work, play, and sleep and bringing all that noise into our bedrooms.
Feeling personally attacked yet? Same. But we don't need to tell you that sleep matters – a lot. Beyond the frustrating feeling of being unable to fall asleep and the all-day yawn sessions, chronic sleep issues can weaken your immune system and reduce your memory and ability to focus. Recurring sleep struggles are also linked to conditions like heart disease, depression, Type 2 diabetes, and even dementia. If that doesn't have you second-guessing your midnight Candy Crush habits, we're not sure what will.
Enough doom and gloom – let's get to the solutions. The good news is that humans are pretty well-practiced at sleeping, all things considered. All it takes is unlearning some not-so-good habits, reinforcing better ones, and creating a routine and environment that fosters better sleep. Here are some key tips and tricks, brought to you by the sleep experts at ASYSTEM and Lahgo.
Salute The Sun
Your bedtime routine starts from the moment you wake up. Don't panic – good sleep doesn't have to be an all day venture – but start the day by getting outside if you can, or at least welcoming some natural sunlight into your eyes (no staring!). This signals the brain to cut the sleepy-time chemicals and start a steady drip of it-feels-so-good-to-be-alive-today chemicals. That oscillation is part of a circadian rhythm, your body's natural cadence of activity and rest, and one that modern technology and the pandemic have both contributed to disrupting. Starting your day properly will help your body naturally signal when it's time to rest and establish a consistent schedule.
A Little Exercise Never Hurt
On the topic of natural signals, it's important to remember that your body treats sleep as recovery time. If you don't have anything in your day to recover from (apart from that two hour Zoom happy hour) getting your body to shut down and sleep can be a challenge. So get back to those ancient warrior roots, and spend at least 30 minutes each day working up a sweat, whether it's a jog around the block, a Peloton party, or just shooting some hoops. Do it each day, and you'll find your body transitioning into sleep mode a little more naturally.
Make a Safe Space (For Sleep)
Your home is your castle, and your bedroom should be the ultimate sleep space – and nothing else. When you work, eat, or hang out in bed, it sends your brain mixed signals about what this place is for. On the flip side, if you cultivate a restful, relaxing environment and reserve it exclusively for sleep time, you'll find that entering that safe haven is as powerful as any sleep aid. You've got a fancy mattress, aromatherapy candles, and a white noise machine, but a crucial element of your sleep space is your wardrobe. Lahgo engineers the perfect sleep and loungewear, using advanced fabrics to address a variety of sleep concerns, from thermoregulating Washable Silk, to buttery-soft Organic Pima, to their proprietary Restore Pima, actively enhancing your body's recovery process while you sleep. An instant upgrade can be found in their selection of Sleep Masks, designed to block out light and noise on your way to dreamland. Your choice of clothing (or lack thereof) can be a significant help or hindrance, and we can guess which category those old boxers probably land in – so don't be afraid to invest in your sleepwear (it's long overdue).
A Little Help
Even in the long-long-ago, before blue light screens plagued our retinas and when forest ambiance noises came from… the forest, people turned to natural remedies to aid their sleep. Burning leaves, brewing tea – virtually every culture has a bedtime ritual. Through years of development and clinical research, ASYSTEM has perfected theirs: Complete Calm Sleep Gummies. Crafted with extracts of chamomile, Lion's Mane, Passion Flower, and Holy Basil, as well as a clinically-proven, award-winning extract of Persian saffron, these gummies are designed to help you fall asleep faster and wake up fresher. While the coronavirus and "coronasomnia" pandemics linger, making wholesale changes to your routine may be easier said than done, which is why a sleep supplement can be a vital addition to your nightstand. Delicious, fast-acting, and always at an arm's reach, it's an easy boost to any bedtime routine.
The 25 Minute Rule
We'll leave you with a final trick – one that's become a crucial part of our nighttime routine. When all your pre-planning, proper outfitting, and supplementing leaves you still struggling to knock out, don't fight it. Thoughts like, "why can't I SLEEP!", only serve to agitate, frustrate, and keep you awake, trapping you in a cycle of irritation and restlessness. Hence, the 25 Minute Rule. If you've been trying to sleep for 25 minutes and aren't having any luck, don't freak. Get up slowly, and leave your sleep space. Read a chapter of a book, work on your crossword, or listen to a podcast, but try to do so while avoiding bright light or laying down. Stay upright, think calm and positive thoughts, and when you start to feel drowsy, head back to bed and close your eyes without any other distractions.
You're not the only one fighting sleep woes. We're facing a perfect storm of disrupting factors, ever-present stressors, and a global climate that's certainly uncertain, to say the least. With these tips, tricks, and carefully crafted products from Lahgo and ASYSTEM, you'll be well on your way to sweet dreams once again. As important as anything listed above, is the simple act of prioritizing your sleep and self-care. Start each day with a positive affirmation, daily objective, or physical routine, and end with a conscious decision to rest, relax, and recharge.
Enter the Optimized Sleep Giveaway, including a bundle of goods from ASYSTEM and Lahgo, curated to help you build a better bedtime routine, and a better morning after.
ASYSTEM, based in Los Angeles, is a supplement brand focused on making it easier to perform at your best. They leverage safe, effective, and natural ingredients to deliver simple, powerful, and highly-performing supplements, designed to be integrated into any daily routine.
Lahgo, based in Los Angeles, is a menswear brand engineering elevated lounge and sleepwear. Their pieces are intended to help men prioritize their self-care, achieve more effective downtime, and unlock their best selves with advanced, sustainable fabrics.