Centr Team

10 science-backed fixes for your sleep problems

Centr Team

For something so essential, getting to sleep (and staying asleep) can feel ludicrously hard.

It can feel like you’re the only person in the world suffering, but a lot of the issues that stop us from sleeping are actually pretty common.

Your drive to sleep can be built up with good habits and depleted with poor ones.

So let’s take a look at what’s keeping you awake and what science says you should do about it.

1. Your bedroom is too hot

Research tells us that the most comfortable night’s sleep happens at around 65ºF or 18ºC. Turning the temperature down at night can also help signal to your body that it’s time to go to bed.

Finding your best sleep ever could be as easy as opening a window or switching on a fan.

Feeling sleepy yet, lads?

2. Revenge bedtime procrastination

This phenomenon may have a fancy name, but it’s really just old-fashioned self-sabotage: you’re trying to scrape back some time for yourself after a busy day, yet all you’re really doing is losing out on sleep.

Instead of scrolling through your social feed or staying up to watch “just one more episode”, try picking up a book. While procrastination isn’t new, bedtime procrastination has become widespread with the advent of smartphones.

Switching to a physical book to unwind after a long day will cut out the blue light that messes with sleep, while reading naturally helps you to drift off.

Clutter is a known stressor and sleep deterrent.

3. There’s no room for sleep

Your mother was onto something when she told you to tidy up your bedroom! Clutter is a known stressor and sleep deterrent.

You can make your bedroom the ultimate sleep zone by installing soft-white light bulbs, removing busy or bright artwork, decluttering and cleaning. Regular cleaning is also vital to stay on top of dust and mold, as this can also hinder your sleep.


Switch your wine glass for a water bottle to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep.

4. Your nightly wine

Convinced a glass of wine helps you sleep better? Alcohol knocks you out quickly, but just 2 drinks (for a man) or 1 drink (for a woman) can decrease sleep quality by 24 percent. That’s because alcohol makes your liver work when it should be resting, disrupts your cardiovascular system and suppresses REM sleep cycles.

If there is no way you are going to give up your nightcap, at least try not to go to bed tipsy or drunk. Stopping drinking at least 4 hours before bed will limit sleep disturbance.

5. Hidden caffeine

Most of us already know that it’s best to avoid an afternoon coffee or energy drink so we’re not still buzzing at bedtime. But that’s not the only place caffeine – which increases activity in your brain and nervous system – is hiding out.

It’s also found in significant amounts in tea, chocolate, sodas (even non-cola varieties) and some protein bars and ice creams. So check the ingredients label before you tuck into an evening snack.


Light is nature’s alarm clock. Switch it off before bed.

6. Your eyes think it’s daytime

You know how the sunlight wakes you up in the morning? Light can also keep you up at night.

Darkness is required for our bodies to produce the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, so dim your lights an hour or so before bed. If light leaks into your bedroom, try black out shades, wearing an eye mask or ditching your glowing alarm clock.

7. Your body doesn’t know what time it is

Is your lifestyle confusing your body’s internal clock? The answer is most likely yes. Sleeping in on the weekend, going to bed late because you were watching TV… it all upsets the regularity that your internal clock thrives on.

In his book Why We Sleep, neuroscientist Matt Walker recommends setting a bedtime alarm, explaining that this is more important than a morning alarm when it comes to creating a regular sleep pattern.

The regularity of your entire sleep cycle – from your bedtime to how you wake up – is important.

8. You don’t have a sleep routine

We’ve talked about a regular bedtime, now let’s talk about your going-to-bed routine. You can’t just jump from a brain-stimulating activity into bed and expect sleep to arrive immediately.

Falling asleep is a process that begins before you get into bed. Think about how you can set up a calming, tech-free routine that starts at least 20 minutes before you plan to hop under the covers.

Try a gentle yoga session with Tahl, make yourself a herbal tea (caffeine free), or make your skincare routine the first step of your sleep routine.


Shh… don’t wake Elsa and Tahl, we just got them down.

9. You’ve ruined your ‘sleep drive’

Sleep drive is the pressure to sleep that builds up in our bodies during waking hours. Just like your motivation to work out, your drive to sleep can be built up with good habits and depleted with poor ones. If you often find yourself lying in bed unable to sleep, or don’t get tired until the early hours, this could be why.

So what are the good habits that can help to maintain your sleep drive?

  • Don’t oversleep on the weekends. Aim to keep the same sleep and wake times as your weekdays.
  • Don’t take naps during the day.
  • Incorporate moderate to vigorous exercise into your day. (Your Planner is ready with workouts when you are!)
  • Only go to bed when you’re tired.

Struggle with disrupted sleep? Bobby’s meditation will help you get (back) to sleep.

10. You wake up in the night

It’s not unusual to wake up in the middle of the night and then struggle to get back to sleep. It may be because you need to pee, you had a bad dream, you heard a noise, or for no obvious reason at all. Then you make the mistake of checking the time on your phone and 30 minutes later you’re still scrolling…

Whatever the cause, if you can’t fall asleep again, try the 4-7-8 breathing method with Bobby. This breathing practice can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, putting your mind and body in a state conducive to sleep.

If you are waking up frequently to pee, or you wake feeling winded or out of breath, please make an appointment to see a doctor as these issues can indicate more serious health problems.

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