6 ways to unlock better sleep with Unspun CBD

Unlock better sleep: 6 ways to get more deep, restorative sleep

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. In this blog post, we break down 6 ways to get better sleep and learn how CBD has the potential to help alleviate sleep issues.

Why your body needs better sleep

Better sleep helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly, impairing your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories. Most importantly, during sleep, your body undertakes vital processes such as healing damaged cells, boosting your immune system, recovering from the day’s activities, and recharging your heart and cardiovascular system for the next day. 

Better sleep is critical for your brain function, physical health and emotional well-being.

If you’ve been dealing with sleep issues, you may also notice an impact on your overall quality of life. Sleep deficiency can affect social skills and the ability to recognize people's emotional expressions, impacting relationships. Ongoing lack of sleep can leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated.

Mastering the art of restorative better sleep

So, how can you get better sleep? Here are some of our favourite tips. Read more about them in the sections below.

  1. Find your why
  2. If you have a partner or live with others, get them on board 
  3. Change your environment, change your behaviour
  4. Ditch screen time before sleep… without missing it (much)! 
  5. Problem solve during the day
  6. Consider having a remedy on hand to help

1. Find your why

Finding your “why” is the foundation of pretty much any habit or behavioural change. This will keep you going when bad habits start to creep in and underlines the value of any investments you might need to budget for to set you up for success. 

Ask yourself, why do you want to get better sleep? What problems will you overcome? What will you gain? Who will benefit? 

I like using the 5 Whys technique, where you ask “why?” 5 or more times to uncover deeper meanings and motivations.

2. If you have a partner or live with others, get them on board 

Explain that you would like to work on better sleep and share why this is important to you. This has two benefits.

First, accountability. If you tell a friend or partner you’re going to exercise every morning, you’re more likely to follow through because someone else is aware of your intention. The same thing can hold true with better sleep. They can provide encouragement, ask about your progress, or even express disappointment if you don't follow through, which can be a strong motivator. You can also practise self-accountability by keeping a habit tracker or journal.

Second, help. Your friend or partner can offer another perspective on how the shared environment and behaviours you both engage in could be improved to enable better sleep. If, like me, you struggle with criticism, making it a two-way conversation can help. 

For example, I shared my sleep issues with my partner and they recommended the book Getting Things Done by David Allen, which changed the way I plan my daily tasks and eased my night time anxiety (see step 5). My key takeaways were to get everything out of my head and into a planner, and figure out a way to keep tabs on the big goals, not just the day-to-day stuff.

3. Change your environment, change your behaviour

We humans are great at adapting to our environment, which can cause us to adjust to and overlook problems. Try to be objective and explore whether your home and bedroom really are optimised for better sleep. Here’s a checklist of things to consider: 

  • Lighting - your bedroom should ideally be dark enough so that you can’t see the other side of the room - look for ways to block out or reduce sources of light, and don’t overlook pesky device standby lights. Look for ways to make lighting softer in the hours before sleep, to help stimulate melatonin production. If you need to get up in the night to tend to children or use the bathroom, use dim lighting or ideally buy some night lights. 
  • Temperature - ensure the temperature is cool and comfortable, with an ideal bedroom temperature of 16-18°C. If this is hard to maintain in the winter, consider investing in extra blankets, a hot water bottle, an electric blanket, or a good pair of bed socks.
  • Bed - check whether it’s time to change your mattress and pillow. According to Bed Advice UK, “sleeping on an uncomfortable bed could rob you of up to an hour’s sleep - yet the deterioration may be so gradual and invisible that many people fail to make the connection between an uncomfortable bed and poor sleep.” An ideal pillow should support your head so that it aligns properly with your shoulders and spine, mirroring the alignment you have when standing up straight with proper posture.
  • Noise - strategies to create a quieter better sleep environment include physical barriers such as heavy curtains, rugs and wall hangings, sealing gaps around doors and windows, or using white noise to mask disruptive sounds.
  • Clutter - make the bedroom about better sleep - not laundry, work or hobbies. If you live in a small or shared house where you need to keep your stuff in your bedroom, you might need to get a little creative - closed cupboards and storage containers can be helpful in keeping the clutter covered so it’s less of a distraction at bedtime. 

4. Ditch screen time before sleep… without missing it (much)! 

It can be really hard to stop using your phone before bedtime - after all, you’ve been working and dedicating your time to others all day, don’t you deserve some entertainment time? Rather than focusing on NOT using your phone, actively plan a calming pre-sleep routine to help you build better habits. Make washing, skin care and brushing your teeth the last things you do before sleep. Think or talk about the things you’re grateful for. Consciously think or talk about a “guilty pleasure” that’s not on your to-do list - mine is motorsport.  

If you find reading helps, keep a stack of books or other reading materials by your bed and dip into whatever you feel like reading that day. If you prefer audio, try lying back and listening to a couple of chapters of a favourite book or meditation. I like to have a few other things on hand in a storage basket by my bed to help make the room feel like a calm haven for better sleep, such as body lotion, lip balm, cosy socks and an extra blanket.

Some of my favourite tools include Audible and the Calm app, but I’ve also dipped into mindfulness podcasts which are free to listen to.

5. Problem solve during the day

Alain De Botton described insomnia as being “a glamorous term for thoughts you forgot to have in the day", in his book “The Consolations of Philosophy”. Rather than being a purely physical ailment, insomnia is depicted as a symptom of our mind's need to process and organise thoughts that we've neglected during the day. These emerge in the quiet of night and play on repeat, making it hard to drift off. I used to keep a notepad and pen by the bed to scribble down my thoughts and to-dos and, while this offered short term relief, it often resulted in making my mind more active.

Giving yourself time during the day to organise your to-do list, and reflect on worries or concerns, may help to offload some of the cognitive burden and make it less likely for these thoughts to intrude during the night. 

Also try not to be so hard on yourself. Be realistic about what you can get done, break tasks into manageable chunks and celebrate what you have accomplished.

I like to organise my work and personal to-do lists on Trello, using the Kanban system. This system helps me organise longer term goals, that tend to play on my mind at night, as well as daily tasks. Joe created a blog on this topic, which you can read here, and a Trello template that you can download here.

6. Consider having a remedy on hand to help

Despite the best intentions, nobody keeps to the perfect routine every day. We all go through periods where life gets busy, work gets stressful, we consume too much caffeine, we struggle with health issues or hormonal changes (hello my menstruating buddies), and we have important meetings, presentations and events to prepare for.

In the quest for a better sleep, people are turning their attention to Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in cannabis plants that has been gaining acclaim for its potential therapeutic effects. Unlike its counterpart THC, CBD is non-intoxicating, making it an appealing option for those seeking the plant's health benefits without the psychoactive high. Here's how CBD may help with sleep issues:

  • Easing anxiety and stress - CBD has been found to have potential anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. By reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress, it may lower cortisol levels, a stress hormone linked to the body's alert state, which could foster a state of calm, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Pain-related sleeplessness - pain can significantly disrupt sleep patterns. CBD may offer analgesic properties that could alleviate pain, reducing the discomfort that can keep you awake at night. This pain-relief aspect is especially pertinent for those suffering from conditions like arthritis or chronic back pain, where discomfort can impair both the quality and quantity of sleep.
  • Regulating sleep cycles - there is emerging evidence suggesting that CBD may impact the sleep-wake cycle. Some users report that CBD helps them achieve a more stable better sleep sleep pattern by promoting wakefulness during the day and relaxation at night. This could be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing insomnia or those whose sleep schedule has been disrupted, such as shift workers or jet-lagged travellers.
  • Sleep behaviour and nightmares - there are indications that CBD might help people with REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD), a condition where people act out their dreams during REM sleep.

    In essence, while CBD is not a universal better sleep solution, it may support those seeking a more holistic approach to improving sleep quality and addressing issues that affect sleep.

    Before you go, consider exploring our 100% natural, vegan Broad Spectrum CBD Oils and Gummies.

    Further Reading

    For more practical tips, consider reading The Sleep Charity - Sleep Environment, The Sleep Charity - Sleep Hygiene, and Bed Advice UK - Do you need a new bed?

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