“Different chemicals can affect sleep in different ways, but we still have much to learn about the effects of supplements and drugs, such as cannabis, on sleep,” she says. “Some strains of cannabinoids may promote sleep while others have the opposite effect of promoting alertness.”
Studies have also shown that magnesium can help the body relax and improve your ability to fall asleep, but Dr. Shamin-Uzzamin says more studies need to be done. Dr. Shamin-Uzzaman adds that because the FDA doesn’t regulate over-the-counter supplements, there may be variable quantities of the actual ingredient in each pill.
When it comes to napping to help you catch up on rest, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that it can be helpful if you’re dealing with sleep deprivation, which is defined as not getting sufficient hours of sleep to feel well-rested, which can result after having one too many late nights out, doom scrolling before bed, or dealing with sleep disorders. The bad news is that napping for too long can actually make it harder for you to sleep at night.
Dr. Shamin-Uzzaman explains that napping during the day decreases your sleep drive, which you need to fall asleep at night. Basically, the higher your sleep drive is, the easier it is for you to fall asleep. “It’s sort of like snacking all afternoon can ruin your dinner because you won’t be as hungry,” she says. “So, if you wake up in the morning and stay awake all day, it will be easier to fall asleep at night than if you took a nap during the day.”
Dr. Wang adds that when naps are taken later in the day, it might adversely affect your ability to maintain a normal bedtime. She says that naps are most beneficial when you limit them to 30 minutes or less.
“It’s important to understand the needs of your body and how naps affect you individually,” says Dr. Shamin-Uzzaman. “If you find that napping during the day makes it hard for you to sleep at night, then avoid naps. If you find yourself struggling to stay awake because of insufficient sleep the night before, then a scheduled 30-minute nap no later than early afternoon may help.”
Evaluate your life and plan accordingly.
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to finding a sleep schedule that is fool-proof; it’s dependent on each person. Dr. Shamin-Uzzaman explains that everyone’s circadian clock tells them when they should be asleep and when they should be awake and that everyone’s circadian clock is just different.