I’m sure that all of you at some point in your life have been frustrated with your sleep or the quality of the sleep that you get. Sleep is one of the most important aspects of your life for day to day function, mood / energy levels, and overall well being. While not getting adequate amounts of sleep can affect your energy and mood, there can be some serious health risks as well. “Beyond making us tired and moody, a lack of sleep can have serious effects on our health, increasing our propensity for obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.” Today you will dive deep into different methods for ensuring that you will be getting the best night sleep starting right away and living a happier, more energetic, and healthier life! There are a few other benefits that sleep has, like helping your on your weight loss journey! If you are interested in learning more about that – Check out our blog https://progressiveperformance.com/the-power-of-sleep-on-weight-loss/
Eliminating Blue Light:
One of the first steps to improving your sleep is to turn off all screens (phones, TV’s, tablets / Ipads, etc.) around 30 minutes – 1 hour before you start your nightly routine to wind down. The blue light that is produced from your screens can be harmful to your sleep. While light of any kind can potentially reduce the amount of melatonin your body naturally produces, the blue light from screens affects your body the most. “Blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin8, a hormone that makes us feel drowsy. While this may be helpful during the day, it becomes disruptive at night when we’re trying to sleep. Being exposed to blue light in the evening can trick our brain into thinking it’s still daytime, disrupting circadian rhythms and leaving us feeling alert instead of tired.”
The next step to improving your sleep quality is avoiding caffeine later in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant that is used by many to wake up in the morning or to enhance athletic performance. Caffeine takes roughly one hour to take effect, and will be in your system for the majority of the day. By having that second or even third cup of coffee later in the day, you potentially could have 100mg – 200mg of caffeine still coursing through your body when you are trying to go to bed. “Six hours after caffeine is consumed, half of it is still in your body. It can take up to 10 hours to completely clear caffeine from your bloodstream.” So if you are thinking about grabbing that last cup of coffee or the mid afternoon energy drink, take a moment, and remember how much caffeine you have already had for the day.
Getting some exercise throughout the day will help improve your sleep quality dramatically. One of the many advantages that exercise has, is that it helps reduce your cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of the hormones that cause stress. By getting 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, you will greatly decrease your total cortisol levels throughout the day, and get on the path to a better night’s sleep. While one might think that they need to have a very intense workout, or work out for hours on end, that’s not the case. “30 minutes of moderate exercise11 per day can alleviate anxiety and help you sleep better at night.” Having an intense workout will potentially help with physical progress, in order to get the full benefits to improve your sleep, there are studies to show that moderate exercise daily will be the most beneficial.
Setting Up Your Sleep Environment:
Having a cool, dark room will actually help you fall asleep. Naturally your body wants to start winding down when the sun starts to set and the outside temperature starts to drop. So having a room around 65 degrees is found to be most comfortable, although it will vary person to person. “Most doctors recommend keeping the thermostat set between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) for the most comfortable sleep.” Your body temperature will drop 1 – 2 degrees while sleeping as a method to try to conserve energy, while having a cooler room will help bring your body to that temperature slightly faster and drift off to sleep quicker. But it doesn’t stop there.
There are a few more crucial aspects of setting up your room properly. We need to get rid of the phone. Having your phone in another room, it will eliminate all the unnecessary buzzing and beeping noises you get all day long. It will also get rid of the temptation to do any late night scrolling through social media. Keeping your TV out of your room will also make a huge difference. Going back to the blue light that your TV produces can keep you awake when you are trying to wind down.
Creating a nightly routine to help you destress from the day and relax that you can stick to can help you fall asleep faster and set you up for success. Taking a hot shower or bath within a few hours of going to bed can help you relax, and get you ready for bed. “Studies show that taking an evening shower or bath2 in water between 104 and 108.5 degrees Fahrenheit improves sleep quality. Those who bathe or shower one to two hours before bedtime also fall asleep faster.” Another way to wind down for the night is yoga or light stretching before bed. Yoga has been proven to help you relax through being mindful and breathing techniques. Yoga has been found to help alleviate symptoms of Insomnia and Restless Leg Syndrome. “Studies have demonstrated that yoga can be beneficial in managing sleep problems13 such as insomnia… after just eight weeks of yoga classes, their RLS symptoms were significantly alleviated. Sleep, stress, and overall mood were much improved as well.”
Supplements For Recovery:
There are a couple of supplements that have been found to help improve sleep as well. Magnesium and Melatonin are both great options to try to improve sleep. The average person has been found to be magnesium deficient. By taking a magnesium supplement it will help your body relax when you go to do your wind down routine. “Insufficient levels of magnesium in the body may be linked to troubled sleep and insomnia… Magnesium is known to relax muscles and induce sleep.” One of the nice things about magnesium is that it isn’t time sensitive such as melatonin, so you can take it at whatever time you’d like.
With melatonin it is a hormone that your body produces naturally that tells your body it’s time for bed. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night, it might be a good idea to try out melatonin before bed. “melatonin appears to reduce the time people need to fall asleep (known as sleep latency)… Those that have observed beneficial effects generally provide participants with 3–10 mg of melatonin before bedtime.” I would recommend taking melatonin 30 minutes to one hour before bed to help you fall asleep.
Now that you have learned a few of the most important ways to improve your sleep. Eliminating blue light several hours before bed, avoiding too much caffeine, exercising, setting up your bedroom, supplements, and ways to wind down, it’s time to take action and try implementing just one of the techniques to start. I know you may be eager to get the best night’s sleep ASAP, but taking the time to slowly introduce each technique over several months will help you stay consistent with these new lifestyle changes. Now its also time to try some simple tasks to improve your overall health! Check out our blog on improving your fitness today! https://progressiveperformance.com/start-improving-your-fitness-today/
“8 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.” Harvard Health, 30 Sept. 2021, https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/8-secrets-to-a-good-nights-sleep.
“How Blue Light Affects Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, 12 Apr. 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/blue-light.
“Caffeine: How Long It Lasts, How Much & Withdrawals.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15496-caffeine-how-to-hack-it-and-how-to-quit-it#:~:text=The%20level%20of%20caffeine%20in,clear%20caffeine%20from%20your%20bloodstream.
“The Best Exercises to Get Better Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, 6 May 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-activity/best-exercises-sleep.
“The Best Temperature for Sleep: Advice & Tips.” Sleep Foundation, 11 Mar. 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/best-temperature-for-sleep#:~:text=The%20best%20bedroom%20temperature%20for,for%20the%20most%20comfortable%20sleep.
“Do Cold Showers Help You Get More Sleep?” Sleep Foundation, 19 Apr. 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/shower-before-bed#:~:text=Research%20lends%20credibility%20to%20the,bedtime%20also%20fall%20asleep%20faster.
“How Yoga Can Improve Your Sleep Quality.” Sleep Foundation, 6 May 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-activity/yoga-and-sleep.
“9 Natural Sleep Aids to Help You Get More ZZZ’s.” Healthline, Healthline Media, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sleep-aids#magnesium.