Sleep Hacks for Getting Better Quality Sleep & Why it Matters

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Sleep.

One of the most often undervalued health hacks you can do to get your body and mind performing at its best!

I know that sometimes it’s hard to prioritize getting adequate quantity and quality of sleep so in this article I am going to go over some sleep hacks you can use for getting better quality sleep! So you can really maximize your performance and make sure you body is operating at its optimal level!

But First, Why is Getting Enough Sleep So Important?

Well according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep is essential for a persons health and wellbeing. Not getting adequate sleep can lead to:

  • lack of energy & fatigue
  • sugar cravings
  • energy crashes in the afternoon
  • overeating & binging

It has also been shown that getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night can lead to cognitive function decline later in life. And for those suffering from insomnia actually have three times the risk of all diseases. That’s right, insomnia triples the risk of death from all diseases.

Need more convincing that sleep is important? 

  • In 2002 Neuron Journal published an article which provided evidence that a night of sleep resulted in a 20% increase in motor speed without loss of accuracy.
  • In 2004 an article published in the Journal Nature found the following: “Insight denotes a mental restructuring that leads to a sudden gain of explicit knowledge allowing qualitatively changed behaviour. Anecdotal reports on scientific discovery suggest that pivotal insights can be gained through sleep. Sleep consolidates recent memories and, concomitantly, could allow insight by changing their representational structure. Here we show a facilitating role of sleep in a process of insight.” 

Ok so sleep is important.

Studies have also shown that quality is actually just as important and quantity of sleep. Maybe even more so. So what can we do to make sure we are getting the right amount of good quality sleep to maximize our performance?

10 Sleep Hacks

Here are 10 sleep hacks you can try tonight to get your sleep back on track!

1. Get Into a Rhythm

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekend, gets your body into a great circadian rhythm, which is really important for your health. Your circadian rhythm or internal clock regulates the release of important hormones such as melatonin and cortisol and can also affect your energy levels throughout the day.

In my first year at Trent University before studying in the US, my professor was consider one of North America’s top sleep expert. He said, “it’s more important to get 7 hours of good quality sleep on a circadian rhythm, then getting 8 hours where you’re going to bed and waking at different times each day. Your sleep rhythm being consistent is key!

2. Kick Start Your Melatonin Levels

Melatonin is an important hormone secreted as you sleep and if your not getting enough high quality sleep its likely that your not producing enough of it. Melatonin helps repair and detox your cells as you sleep and so is really important for staying healthy and performing at your best. Some foods can really help boost melatonin production. Try eating a handful of pumpkin seeds 1-2 hours prior to going to bed. Another hack is wearing blue light blocking glasses such as gunnar glasses 3 hours before going to bed.

sleep hacks

Blue light tells your brain that it’s “day time out” and it inhibits melatonin secretions from the pituitary gland. By blocking blue light by downloading f.lux onto your computer and wearing blue light blocking glasses at night, this can help see a 70% increase in melatonin secretion before bed. I personally do this, along with dimming down the lights at night and even using low blue lights for my house.

3. Reduce Pollution

Light and noise pollution can have a massive impact on the quality of sleep and can keep you awake, reducing the quantity of sleep you are getting. Try to make your bedroom pitch black. Cover lights and radios and use blackout curtains. Light pollution can also really affect melatonin production. Try wearing earplugs to bed to block out noise pollution. I don’t actually like ear plugs, so what I use is white noise through turning my air purification machine on high in my room.

4. Track Your Sleep

Tracking your sleep allows you to really start to learn what is working for you to maximize quality sleep. Sleep Cycle is a great app that you can use to really customize your approach to sleep hacking. This app can also be used as a sleep friendly alarm clock. When we are asleep the body goes through different cycles. When you’re at the top of a cycle your body will tremor more. Sleep cycle notices this and wakes you at the top of your sleep cycle so you wake up feeling energized. When you are woken in the middle of a deep sleep by a traditional alarm clock you often feel groggy, needing caffeine to really get you going. Make sure your phone is on airplane mode as the phone needs to be on your mattress. Beddit I would consider the gold standard in sleep tracking if you want to drop a couple hundred dollars.

5. Develop a Routine Before you go to Bed 

sleep hacks

This can really help you get relaxed and ready for a good quality sleep. My routine looks like the following:

  1. 2-minutes of 5 minute journal answering, “what are three things that went well today, and what is one thing I can grow from?”
  2. I do a mini facial, cleaning my ears, and face. Two times per week I exfoliate.
  3. I follow an advanced teeth cleansing routine that I will write about in the future. It feels like you walked out of a dental office every night!
  4. 10 minutes of yoga while I think about the things I’m grateful for.
  5. Snuggle, sex or play with my wife. I think it’s important not to just go to bed exhausted. After you follow steps 1-5 above you feel more energized. It’s important to authentically connect with your loved one. Sometimes I’ll affirm her. Sometimes I’ll joke around and make her laugh (and vice versa). Sometimes we’ll make love. Sometimes we’ll just talk. Whatever you do, it’s important to be close to the other person focusing on filling each others emotional love tank.

Listen to this podcast with Neil Moore where he talks about what he does with his wife every day to fill her emotional love tank (near the end of the interview).

Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, do your best to stop looking at screens at least 2 hours before you go to bed as the blue glow from electronics blocks melatonin production and even stimulates cortisol production which is not contusive to a good night sleep. Know that this one is going to be super hard to try. Why not give orange glasses or gunnar glasses a try after the sunsets when you need to use your screen to block the blue light. Research from Toronto University found that participants using blue-light blocking glasses had the same melatonin levels as those participants exposed to regular dim lighting. Or try an app like f.lux for computers and tablets. This app automatically reduces the blue light on your screens after sunset.

6. Reduce Caffeine in the Afternoon

This includes chocolate sorry. As well as any other stimulants such as coffee and green tea. I just got back from doing a speaking tour of Japan and decided to have some macha green tea in the late afternoon… bad idea! It took me an extra 2 hours just to fall asleep.

7. Try Relaxing Teas or Supplements 

sleep hacks

These can be part of a bedtime routine to maximize sleep quality. Try valerian, passion flower, chamomile tea, or a magnesium supplement and track their effect on your sleep using sleep cycle.

8. Finish Exercise 2 Hours Before Bed

Again part of setting your body up for relaxing and falling asleep quickly try and finish all high intensity exercise or sports at least two hours prior to going to bed. Yoga or gentle stretching is fine however strenuous exercise boosts your energy levels and gets you mind and body raring to go. Not want you want when you are trying to sleep. So let your body have a couple of hours to wind down.

9. Foods for Great Sleep!

To maximize the benefits of your sleep you need to make sure the body has all the right ingredients available for cellular recovery. Try to add these foods into your diet, as there is a powerful connection between what you put in your body and how you sleep at night.

  1. Healthy fats are great, try coconut oil, organic & pasture raised meats, eggs, avocado and butter.
  2. Try some high quality protein our bodies can use for muscle repair and immune function. However be aware that protein can be hard to digest before bed so finish eating your protein about 4 hours prior to going to bed.
  3. Vegetables and other high antioxidant fruits or herbal teas can help your body remove toxins as you sleep and help with hormone production.
  4. Avoid sugars, grains and unhealthy fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats.

10. Stress Less

sleep hacks

One of the most common reason people can’t seem to get to sleep is stress. We have all had nights where as we lay down to sleep our minds are still running at 100 miles per hour. Try some deep breathing, therapeutic yoga or stretching or meditation before bed to slow down the mind and start to relax. Having a routine before you do go to bed that might include a soothing tea or another supplement can also really help.

Sleep Hacks

sleep hacks

These are some great strategies for you to try to hack your sleep and stop letting a lack sleep impact your performance. If you sleep better, your brain functions at a higher level. If your brain and body are more energized, you are more productive. If you’re more productive, you make more money and enjoy life at an even higher level!

Want more information on how to hack your sleep?

Check out Supplement Hacks for Deep Rejuvenating Sleep HERE

Check out Technology Hacks to Super Bio-Hack Your Sleep HERE

There’s so much information there, I didn’t want to overwhelm you in this article but sleep is such an important topic I want to make sure you have all the information!

Go gettem!

 

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1 Comment

  1. Marie Friederich

    February 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    I’m eager to try your plans for better and more restorative sleep. I’m going to give my all. I hope it works for me!!
    Thanking you, in advance, for my success!

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