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7 Sleep Hacks for Better Rest

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7 Sleep Hacks for Better Rest

7 Sleep Hacks That Will Help You Feel More Rested

Sleep hacks? Just get more sleep and you’ll be dandy they say.

Easier said than done when you are a high performer, growing a business, and your mind never stops, right?

This is a quick read with actionable sleep hacks, for the busy parent, traveling business executive, or the medical professional with shifts that flip-flop on the daily.

Let’s be honest though, I too need more sleep and I have been ignoring the blinking light on my dashboard for many years that’s been telling me to rest more.

Eventually, it catches up to you: poor mood, wake up exhausted daily, living on coffee or energy drinks, bouts of depression and anxiety, and lack of sex drive are just some of the ways you’ll feel it.

Recently I had an hour long discussion with my doctor, Jeff Davis, at Prairie Health & Wellness, in Wichita and we talked a lot about stress and sleep with some quick fixes to improve both.

I walked away with a few supplements, podcasts to listen to, and ways to alter my bedtime ritual.

Nope, no medications. 🙂

From my research, readings, and listenings here’s my 7 Sleep Hacks for Better Rest and a Better Life. Happy sleeping.

1. Develop a Bedtime Ritual

Circadian rhythm is based upon sunlight. In basic terms, when the sun sets, it tells our body that it’s nearing time to rest. Likewise, as the sun rises, it’s time to wake and move.

Our daily habits of screened devices and TVs that omit blue light may alter these natural rhythms and our ability to easily fall asleep.

Quick win, wear blue light blocking glasses if TV is a must to help you unwind or relax or night.

If you’re a night time Instagram and YouTube troll like myself, you can use your phone’s “night-time” setting to block blue light. For those who work on a laptop at night, you can download and install f.lux to block blue light to match the sunset and sunrise with your time zone.

Other bed time rituals that I’ve altered include:

  • Taking a magnesium supplement. I am using Brain Mag which is the only form of magnesium to cross the brain-blood barrier. Magnesium is known for healthy brain cognition but it also can have a calming effect while studies have shown it to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which can keep you awake.
  • Eating before bed. For me personally, I prefer to eat right before bed to avoid waking up hungry at 2:00am. I save a large portion of my calories to consume late in the day to match my hunger levels. My foods of choice include lean grass-fed beef, green vegetables, and white rice if I worked out that day.
  • Turn off your thinker. If you work long hours like myself, I highly recommend setting a stopping point where you simply veg. For me, it’s watching YouTube, with my blue light filter, about things that don’t require me to think. The idea is to slow brain activity and signal to the brain, it’s time for rest.
  • Using a white noice generator. My business coach introduced me to this little device and I love it. No more having to use a fan and it’s easy to travel with, too. It’s calming and helps block ambient noises. I bought mine on Amazon.

Your bed time rituals should prime yourself for sleep starting 90-minutes before bed time. And, a glass of wine isn’t a recommended option if you value your sleep quality.

In fact, I track my sleep daily and nights that I do consume even one glass of wine, my sleep and recovery are VERY poor as a result.

2. Get 5 Sleep Cycles Daily

This is a new topic for me to analyze sleep cycles. However, I’ve been tracking my sleep, daily strain, and recovery for nearly 3 months using the Whoop device. Although it’s pricey, Whoop does allow you to analyze your sleep cycles, heart rate, and most importantly your heart rate variability.

It’s been a great eye opener for me to realize how much sleep I actually need and Whoop will tell me my recommended level of sleep each night.

If you listen to Ben Greenfield’s podcast with Nick Littlehales about sleep performance, you’ll learn that daily sleep cycles are most important following circadian rhythm.

The summary version of Ben and Nick’s podcast is managing daily sleep cycles to be five 90-minute intervals. And, to follow the natural circadian rhythm of the sunset and sunrise, it’s optimal to sleep from approximately 11:00pm to 6:30am.

And, if you’re waking say at 5:00am and only getting in 4 sleep cycles, it’s best to nap for 90-minutes midday after lunch time when we are naturally prone to being sleepy.

Sleep, and your body, loves consistency so you can’t think of sleep as something you can make up. Aim to get your 5 cycles in each day.

3. Adjust Your Sleep Temperature Down

This one might be old news to you but the studies continue to support cooler sleep temperatures at 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.

My recommendation is to get a programmable thermostat and drop it several degrees at night to save some money while helping your body temperature drop during dark hours. This is an easy one to set it and forget it.

Warmer temperature tend to cause restlessness.

As an extra perk, some studies have shown that cooler sleep temperatures can increase your metabolic rate upwards of 7% which will cause you to burn more calories. Yes, you do burn calories while sleeping as your body is regenerating cells which requires work.

4. Upgrade Your Mattress, Sheets, and Pillows

Sounds like a no-brainer right but how many people are nodding their head because their mattress is old and uncomfortable but you keep sleeping on it.

Sleep coaches like Nick Littlehales in the UK now recommend bedding in layers which depend upon your body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph). His website reminders buyers that a mattress should offer full skeletal and postural support, weight pressure sensitivity, body temperature control and high levels of comfort.

In my research, brands like Nectar and Essential had rave reviews but certainly do your research as I don’t have any affiliation with them nor do I own one.

The current trends seem to point to organic memory foam type mattresses and bedding that pulls heat away from the body.

5. Travel with Sleep Devices

For those who travel often, you know that your quality of sleep can vary greatly.

Here’s a few simple things you can travel with or do to aid in hotel sleep:

  • Bring duct tape or use pant hanger clips to keep hotel blinds closed (that dreaded sliver of light)
  • Cover up clock and various other lights on devices or remote controls
  • Use a sleep mask like the Sleep Master Sleep Mask
  • Bring your white noise generator
  • Create your own humidifier with an ice bucket and mini fan (or travel with a small humidifier or essential oil diffuser)

Remember, sleep loves consistency.

6. Your Sleep Position Matters

From Nick Littlehales’ information on sleep position, he recommends sleeping on your non-dominant side in the fetal position. With that, he further suggests to sleep on the side of the bed that allows your knees to be pointing to the edge of the bed.

Why? To signal to the brain that you’re protected and you defend yourself. Weather or not you could if needed is another story!

Certainly, this is some next level thinking that I’m simply passing along but for me personally, this is exactly how I sleep and when forced to sleep on the other side of the bed, I find I don’t sleep as well.

Perhaps this is why we are seeing a rise in couples who sleep in different beds!

7. Set a Consistent Bed Time

Our bodies are huge fans of consistency when it comes to rest. Like mentioned above, circadian rhythm tells the body it’s time for rest as the sun sets and to move when it rises.

With that, you’ll want to set as consistent of a bed time as possible. For most business people, this is fairly easy with work hours being set for you with most desk jocky careers. Hey, I can say that as I was that guy for 6+ years at Boeing.

As Nick Littlehales suggest in his findings an 11:00pm bedtime and 6:30am rise will allow for five 90-minute sleep cycles which is the goal. To help with waking up and following our animal like instincts, author and Onnit CEO & Founder, Aubrey Marcus, suggest using the Human Charger. These are earbud devices that omit light into your ears and claim to recharge you in only 12-minutes.

Beware to alter your sleep patterns during the weekend. This is why Nick recommends the 11:00pm bedtime as it allows for time on the weekends to be social still.

There you have it, 7 Sleep Hacks for Better Rest and a Better Life that we are both working on together.

I know I have improved my well being, mood, and daily stress levels with forcing myself to increase my sleep…now it’s your turn!

Shannon Dykman
GoTimeTraining Owner & CEO

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