Here are a few sleep tips to help you stay rested and get a good night’s sleep every night.

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the importance of investing in artificial lighting, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and light-emitting-tubes (LEDs) in order to cut energy costs, and generally reduce the environmental impact of our lives. But while LED lights are certainly energy efficient, they are not the answer to our energy problems, in fact they are the opposite.

On the surface, the human body looks like it’s made to sleep. Physiologically, our bodies are designed to sleep for around 8 hours a night. Beyond that, we exhibit all the symptoms of sleep deprivation, which include fatigue, depression, headaches, lack of focus, and more. In recent years we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of sleep-tracking wearables, and have even developed new technology to improve the quality of our sleep. But what if there was technology to improve the quantity of sleep we get, as well?. Read more about the power of sleep article and let us know what you think.

In case you haven’t heard, sleep is critical to your overall health. You can achieve the high-quality, restorative sleep your body and mind deserve with a few simple steps.

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Introduction

When it comes to boosting your health, performance, and body composition, sleep is equally as important as nutrition and exercise.

Good sleep aids in the recovery of our bodies and minds, allowing us to remain lean, happy, cognitively focused, and healthy.

Chronically poor sleep, on the other hand:

  • makes it more difficult to lose weight and keep it off;
  • makes gaining and maintaining muscle and other lean mass more difficult;
  • hormones are disrupted
  • accelerates our aging;
  • raises our chances of developing a chronic condition;
  • drains our intelligence; and
  • Our mojo is suffocated.

(See All About Sleep for more information.)

Fortunately, research shows that getting enough sleep can lessen these risks quickly.

So, how do we go about receiving that much-needed rest?

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Make a sleep schedule.

You can’t go from 0 to 100 first thing in the morning, and you can’t go from “on” to “off” in a matter of minutes at night. To wind down, your body requires transition time and environmental cues.

You can’t go from 0 to 100 first thing in the morning, and you can’t go from “on” to “off” in a matter of minutes at night. To wind down, your body requires transition time and environmental cues.

Maintain a consistent routine.

Our bodies want consistency. Every day and night, try to go to bed and wake up at the same hour. While doing this seven days a week may be unrealistic — especially if you have young children, like I do — strive to be as consistent as possible.

Your body will know when to produce relaxing hormones before bed and boosting hormones to help you wake up if you’re consistent. When it’s time to go to bed, you’ll feel tired and awaken feeling more refreshed, frequently without the need for an alarm clock.

Caffeine and alcohol should be consumed in moderation.

Deep sleep is the source of very restful and restorative sleep.

Even while it may appear that alcohol is calming, more than 1-2 glasses in the evening, as well as too much caffeine, can disrupt deep sleep.

So stick to the recommended levels of alcohol and caffeine after 2 p.m.

Otherwise, even if you “sleep” for 7 hours, the quality of your sleep will be poor, and you will not benefit from the healing benefits.

Eat and drink in moderation.

A heavy dinner right before bedtime can make it difficult to fall and remain asleep. Instead, a few hours before bedtime, have a regular-sized (or even modest) dinner.

As your brain turns carbs to serotonin, a good mix of protein, carbs, and fats will keep you content and may even boost your ability to fall asleep.

Also, limit your fluid intake 2-3 hours before night. If you drink too much liquid right before bed, you may find yourself waking up frequently to use the restroom.

While getting enough sleep is crucial, getting enough uninterrupted sleep is even better.

Make a mental dump.

We’ve all done it: stayed up late staring at the ceiling, fretting over all the things we need to accomplish the next day, tossing and turning and becoming increasingly agitated by the minute.

Instead, try this: Take a few minutes in the evening to make a list of anything is bothering you: Emails to send or respond to, phone calls to make, project ideas, creative ideas, that thing you should have said to so-and-so…

Get everything out of your head and into paper.

This is referred to as a “brain dump” around here. It relaxes your mind and allows you to truly unwind.

Turn off all electronic devices.

With their brightness, noise, and mental demands, digital devices stimulate our brain.

At least 30 minutes before bedtime, turn off all screens – TVs, computers, phones, and tablets.

(If you need to read on your tablet, set the background to black or dim.) Also, if you’re going to be on your computer, install a program like f.lux, which lowers the color temperature of your screen at night.)

As the amount of light in our environment decreases, our brain creates melatonin. Melatonin promotes restful sleep and may possibly aid in metabolism regulation. We don’t produce enough melatonin when there is too much light at night.

Before going to bed, stretch, read, and de-stress.

What helps you unwind? That is what you should do.

This could involve the following:

  • Stretching or yoga, or simply a slow walk around the block, are examples of gentle activity. Tension can be released and calm-down chemicals activated in as little as 5-15 minutes.
  • Reading before bed is a good idea, but make sure it’s not too fascinating, otherwise you’ll be tempted to stay up late reading that thrilling detective thriller.
  • Meditation, deep breathing, and other easy relaxation techniques are all good options.

Before midnight, go to bed.

According to some sleep specialists, every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after midnight because of the way our natural circadian cycles work.

(I’m not sure whether that’s true or not, or whether it’s even measurable.) But I’ve heard it so many times from sleep experts that it’s probably worth considering.)

We’re supposed to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it gets light, according to these experts. The ancient adage about going to bed and getting up early still holds true.

Get at least seven hours of sleep.

The average person requires 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Your starting point should be 7.

If you need to get ready for work at 5:15 a.m., you should be in bed by 9:30 a.m. and asleep by 10 p.m. It doesn’t count if you go to bed at 10:15 a.m.

Take into account the time it takes to move from one activity to the next. Don’t expect to be snoring by 9:30 if you stop what you’re doing at 9:29. By 9:00 a.m., begin moving in the direction of bed.

Yes, we are aware. There’s a whole movement going on, launched by time-pressed Silicon Valley CEOs, where people try to “hack” their sleep and get away with considerably less.

And, yes, it can work for a short period of time. However, every reliable piece of study shows that sleeping fewer than 7-9 hours a night has a significant negative impact on your health (and productivity).

Exercise on a regular basis.

Regular exercise helps to regulate endocrine function, stabilize circadian cycles, and tone down the sympathetic nervous system.

If at all possible, reserve the strenuous exercise for the day – a weights or interval workout in the evening might wake us up and make it difficult to fall asleep.

Take a bath or a shower to relax.

While not everyone enjoys showering or bathing before bed, warm water can help us relax and de-stress, which is essential for falling asleep. If you choose to soak in warm water, add some magnesium-based epsom salts, as magnesium is believed to aid sleep.

In the evening, some courageous souls, including JB, swear by cold water. Once the first shock has passed, the logic goes, cold water generates a powerful parasympathetic nervous system reaction. A quick, extremely cold shower will suffice.

Try both and see which one works best for you.

sleep-before-midnight

Before midnight, every hour of sleep is worth two hours once the clock strikes twelve.

Creating a better sleeping environment

To help increase your sleep quality and length, you should create a nightly sleep pattern and make sure that your sleeping environment is genuinely conducive to sleep.

A few minor tweaks can make a significant difference in this situation.

Maintain as much darkness as possible in the room.

Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces to tell your body that it’s time to sleep. Making your room as dark as possible will help you produce more melatonin.

Meanwhile, light — particularly blue light, which is produced by most electronics – suppresses melatonin production, making it more difficult to fall and remain asleep. (Red light is produced by sunsets.)

So, how do you keep light exposure to a minimum?

  • At night, dim the lights. Install low-wattage lamps in your bedroom and keep it as dark as possible one hour before you want to go to bed.
  • Make sure your windows are well-covered. (Perhaps it’s time to replace those dreadful IKEA Venetian blinds you’ve had since undergrad?)
  • If you need to light your way to the bathroom at midnight, use a motion-sensitive or low night light.
  • Place your iPhone in a different room or face down.
  • Cover or lower your alarm clock, or search for one that only lights up when you touch it.
  • If you must use a computer late at night, download the f.lux software, which adjusts the brightness and tone of your screen in accordance with sunset and sunrise, decreasing nighttime blue light.

Create a peaceful and clutter-free sleeping environment.

Your bedroom should be well-organized and relaxing.

Clothing strewn over the floor or furniture, boxes or books spilling over, and tangled cords can all make you feel agitated and make it difficult to relax.

If you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, a dirty room can be risky.

Set the temperature in your room to a comfortable level.

Most people sleep better when the temperature is chilly (about 67 degrees Fahrenheit); others sleep better when the temperature is neutral.

Find the temperature that works best for you and try to keep your bedroom at that temperature every night.

If necessary, use white noise.

If you live in a city and are prone to waking up at the first sound, a consistent source of white noise could be really beneficial.

Simply turning on a fan (or an old radio set to static) sometimes be enough to drown out other noises and soothe you to sleep.

A HEPA filter can also be used for this purpose, and it will keep your air cleaner as well.

How to Get Up in the Morning

Consider sleep as a process that starts the moment you wake up. To put it another way, what you do during the day has an impact on what happens at night.

So, let’s have a look at how to get up.

While a startling alarm will surely get us out of bed, it does not make for a pleasant start to the day. Not only that, but it quickly raises our stress hormones, putting us in “fight or flight” mode for the rest of the day.

Here are a few more humanitarian alternatives.

Use the natural rhythms to your advantage.

Sleep is divided into stages, with deeper and lighter sleep alternated. As the night progresses, we sleep lighter and lighter.

We’ll feel relatively well and snap into alertness rapidly if we wake up at just the appropriate time in our lighter sleep stages.

We will feel groggy, disoriented, and sleepy if we are forced to wake up while in a deep sleep phase, as we will be suffering from sleep inertia.

Many gadgets and apps can detect your sleeping patterns and wake you up when you’re at your lightest.

You may also track your sleep with devices and applications like Zeo or Fitbit, which will help you figure out where you need to optimize your sleep and wake patterns.

It’s time to wake up to light.

When it’s dark, the human body goes to sleep, and when it’s light, it wakes up.

However, waking up with the sun is not always possible, especially if you employ light blocking drapes to keep your room as dark as possible.

Solution: Set an alarm clock that mimics the sunrise.

People who are gently awakened by gradually increasing light levels feel considerably more alert and comfortable than those who are awoken by a quick, blasting alarm, according to research.

My Biobrite is something I use and enjoy because it gradually illuminates my room, reaching maximum brightness when I wake up.

Increased light has also been demonstrated to increase sleep quality and elevate cortisol in the morning (which is an important wake-up signal). It can even help with depressive symptoms in people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Soft, gradually increasing sounds wakes you up.

Some alarm clocks (such as the Progressive Alarm Clock app) progressively increase noise or music, allowing you to wake up gradually rather than being jolted awake by a loud morning DJ.

Get started right away.

While I don’t have any evidence to back this up, I believe it is beneficial to place your feet on the floor as soon as you wake up. It’s a suggestion I got from Mike Boyle, and it’s done well for both my clients and me.

When your alarm goes off, hitting snooze is one of the worst things you can do. Snoozing appears to heighten sleep inertia.

Instead, simply sit up and place your feet on the floor when the alarm goes off. Begin stumbling towards the bathroom, or any other location other than your bed.

Movement has a mystical quality to it that tends to hasten the waking process.

Increase your exposure to light.

Whether you wake up to a dawn-simulating alarm clock or not, keep exposing yourself to light as soon as feasible. Melatonin production will be halted, and your alertness will be increased.

Get as much light as you can during the day. Most people are capable of sneaking outside for 5-10 minutes. Lunchtime is a great time to run errands or eat alfresco. Make every effort to obtain some sunshine.

The more brilliant natural light you can obtain throughout your typical waking hours, the better your body will understand when it’s time to sleep.

(If you don’t have access to natural light, you can always use a gadget like the Litebook Elite.)

morning-stretch

Rather than hitting the snooze button, get your body up and active.

Conclusions

A good night’s sleep is essential for optimum health. Despite what the “sleep hackers” claim, there are no shortcuts.

Make getting enough sleep a priority. Your physical, mental, and emotional health will appreciate it.

Consider proper sleep to be a 24-hour process. What you do during the day has an impact on how you sleep, and vice versa.

Boost your natural circadian rhythms. Make things incredibly dark and quiet when it’s intended to be dark and quiet. Get moving with some bright light when it’s supposed to be loud, noisy, and stimulating.

Allow your body and mind to adjust. Allow at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour) in the evening to relax and prepare for sleep.

Maintain a consistent schedule. Routines and constancy are highly valued by our bodies. If your body understands what to expect throughout the day, it will assist you in waking up and sleeping at the appropriate times.

You have no control over your sleep. However, you have power over your sleeping habits and environment. Take control of your behaviors and environment, be consistent, and take use of the Zs.

References

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

K. Spiegel, R. Leproult, M. L’Hermite-Baleriaux, G. Copinschi, P. D. Penev, and E. Van Cauter Relationships between sympathovagal balance, glucose control, cortisol, and thyrotropin and leptin levels are dependent on sleep length. 89:5762-5771 in J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2004.

Sleep loss causes cortisol levels to rise the next evening, according to R. Leproult, G. Copinschi, O. Buxton, and E. Van Cauter. Sleep, 1997, vol. 20, no. 8, pp. 865-870.

Sleep loss: a novel risk factor for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, Spiegel K, Knutson K, Leproult R, Tasali E, Van Cauter E. 2005; 99: 2008-2019; J Appl Phys. 2005; 99: 2008-2019; J Appl Phys. 2005; 99: 2008-2019

“Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity,” by AV Nedeltcheva and colleagues. The Annals of Internal Medicine published this article in 2010.

Cajochen C, Münch M, Kobialka S, Kräuchi K, Steiner R, Oelhafen P, Orgül S, Wirz-Justice A. Cajochen C, Münch M, Kobialka S, Kräuchi K, Steiner R, Oelhafen P, Orgül S, Wirz-Justice A. Human melatonin, alertness, thermoregulation, and heart rate are all highly sensitive to short wavelength light. 2005 Mar;90(3):1311-6. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Mar;90(3):1311-6.

A. Sheen, A. Sheen, A. Sheen, A. Sheen, A. Sheen, A. Sheen Is there a link between chronic sleep deprivation and metabolic syndrome? Rev Med Liege, 54(11), 898-900, 1999.

Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet. 1999; 354(9188): 1435-9. Spiegel, K., et al.

T. VanHelder, T. VanHelder, T. VanHelder, T. VanHelder, T. VanHelder, T. VanHelder, T. VanHelder, T. VanHelder, T. VanHel Aviat Space Environ Med, vol. 64, no. 6, pp. 487-492, 1993.

Overweight and obese patients in a primary care population report less sleep than patients with a normal body mass index, according to Vorona et al. 165(1): 25-30 in Arch Intern Med, 2005.

SL Chellappa, R Steiner, P Oelhafen, D Lang, T Götz, J Krebs, C Cajochen Human sleep is affected by acute exposure to evening blue-enriched light. Epub ahead of print in Journal of Sleep Research, 2013.

Effects of artificial dawn on sleep inertia, skin temperature, and the awakening cortisol response, M. VAN DE WERKEN, M. GIMÉNEZ, B. D. VRIES, D. G. M. BEERSMA, E. J. W. VAN SOMEREN, M. C. M. GORDIJN, M. C. M. GORDIJN, M. C. M. GORDIJN, M. C. M 425–435 in Journal of Sleep Research.

L. Thorn, F. Hucklebridge, A. Esgate, P. Evans, A. Clow, L. Thorn, F. Hucklebridge, F. Hucklebridge, F. Hucklebridge, F. Hucklebridge, F. Hucklebridge, F. Hucklebridge The impact of dawn simulation on healthy participants’ cortisol responses to awakening. 925–930 in Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2004.

Effect of simulated dawn on sleep quality – a community-based experiment, Leppämäki, S., Meesters, Y., Haukka, J., Lönnqvist, J., and Partonen, T. 3: 14 in BCM Psychiatry, 2003.

D. H. Avery, M. A. Bolte, S. R. Dager, and others A controlled investigation of dawn simulation treatment for winter depression. Am. J. Psychiatry, vol. 150, no. 1, pp. 113–117, 1993.

D. H. Avery, D. N. Eder, M. A. Bolte, and others A controlled investigation using dawn simulation and strong light in the treatment of SAD. Biol. Psychiatry, 50, 205–216, 2001.

E. Ferracioli-Oda, A. Qawasmi, and M. H. Bloch. Melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders: a meta-analysis PLoS One. May 17th, 2013;8(5):e63773.

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Many of us struggle with quality sleep each night. We toss and turn, toss and turn, tossing and turning, and finally hitting the pillow and feeling like a zombie. As we grow older, our circadian rhythms shift, causing even more issues with sleeping.. Read more about benefits of sleep infographic and let us know what you think.

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