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Sleep tips



Well, I got a bunch of sleep tips for you.



Morning sun:


Optimize your circadian rhythm by getting a dose of morning sun. This is called daylight anchoring because daylight is the predominant zeitberger (cue) that anchors our wake-sleep cycle of our circadian rhythm. Most recommendations say 30 min but somedays 10 min is all I've got. Get what you can. Take a short walk outside if you have a break.


I close my eyes because I'm trying to ward off macular degeneration



Waking up can be made easier with a sunrise simulation alarm clock/light for those who don't just spring out of bed.



Drinking:


Set your caffeine curfew. It depends on when your bedtime is but 8 hours pre-sleep is a good rule of thumb. If you want to get good quality sleep abstain from or limit your alcohol intake.


Hydrate throughout the day. This will serve to prevent you from feeling dehydrated in the evening or when you are sleeping. You don't want to wake up feeling the need to hit the restroom or chug some water if you don't have to.



Eating:


Shakespeare wrote about SLEEP in Macbeth as “the chief nourisher in life’s feast”


What, when and how we eat affects our sleep and vice versa. This is a huge topic, ranging from supplements that help to influence sleep to the effect of macronutrients.


Some of the most exciting research done in nutrition is that of time restricted feeding/eating. A form of fasting, TRF or TRE, is a nutritional approach of limiting your caloric intake to 8-12 hours. While light is a zeitgerber for your SCN. Eating is a strong zeitberger affecting our circadian timing system via our digestive system.


I you are interested in this topic try listening to the podcast interview Rhonda Patrick did with Satchin Panda.



Exercise:


Getting consistent exercise will help your sleep. Yesterday's post discussed how caffeine keeps us awake by inhibiting adenosine. Guess which increases levels of adenosine? Exercise!


When you can, get outside to exercise. You will reap the additional benefits from natural light, fresh air and more.


Those muscle beach folks must sleep well!



One word about exercise, make sure it isn't too late in the day. It's best to get your workout in 2-3 hours before your bedtime.



Decrease your evening light exposure:


Consider downloading f.lux an app that syncs the contrast, brightness and blue light levels of the screen on your electronic device to the time of day.


Not into downloading f.lux? Get your devices on Night Shift mode. If you have apple products here are the directions.




Replace your standard beside table lamp lightbulb with a red lighbulb. This creates more of a calming atmosphere for transitioning in and out of bed.


Maybe you like to watch tv, read on a kindle or write blog posts about sleep on your computer at night. If you are doing this in the time frame of 2-3 hours before bed please wear some blue light blocking glasses.


Blue light blocking glasses aren't just for adults. Both of my kids have them too. Most homework these days requires a computer. Check out Amazon for a plethora of styles, adult and kid friendly. They even come with correction for my fellow hyperopia-ers.


Can't you just hear Oprah? "Blue light blocking glasses for everyone!"



Create an environment of complete darkness:


When you are snoozing it should be pitch black. We did not evolve to sleep with bright lights. Well, maybe the moon but not all those damn street lights, televisions, alarm clocks and cellphones in our rooms.


Black out shades can help to keep your bedroom as dark as possible. You can get fancy or you can use duct tape.


For real: Do your best to have NO electronics in your room. No tv, phone, iPad, etc. If you feel you must have an alarm clock position it so the light is not visible. Put your phone in the corner of the room, not next to you. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don't look to see what time it is - just go back to sleep.


Eye masks are a great option to help block out light especially when traveling.


Extra effective when they match your pjs




Lower your body temperature:


Set that thermostat lower. Body temperature follows a circadian rhythm too that syncs with the light-dark cycle. Temperatures drop at night and your body expects that.

Take a bath or shower before bed. This helps your core body temperature to drop by a few degrees to initiate sleep.


Also wearing minimal or no clothes to bed helps.



Filter out the noise:


Sleep can be disturbed by environmental influences such as sound. Noise levels can vary depending on where you live or travel and who you sleep with. This can be a factor in sleep quality but is easily remedied with some sort of white noise machine. Buying an air purifier to serve as your noise machine works too and fresh air has many health benefits.


Ear plugs are a good cheap option for filtering out noise. A better, more expensive alternative are noise cancelling heaphones. I never leave home without my Bose.


Relax before bed:


Your sleep will benefit from whatever it is that you can do to get into a relaxed state. Read a book, meditate, etc.


Consistency:

Establish good pre-sleep and post-sleep routines. Consistency is key.

Lots of nights out during the week make it tough to have a consistent bedtime routine. If your struggling with sleep try saying no to nights out more often.



Hope these tips help you to Level Up your Zzzzzs!


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