In the grand scheme of improving your health and fitness, sleeping better and deeper is a critical component that is always overlooked.
Maybe it’s because telling someone to sleep deeper, better and longer isn’t sexy?
Maybe it’s because people just don’t realize how vital a deep nights sleep really is?
We’re often told that we need to sleep six to eight hours per night and I agree with that statement. Too much sleep and too little sleep can both have negative impacts on health.
Just look at some of the negative consequences that can happen as a result of lack of sleep…
- Impaired immune system leading to chronic illness.
- Increased tumor growth
- Increase your insulin resistance which makes it easier for you to gain weight
Why does this happen if you don’t sleep well? When your sleep patterns are disturbed your circadian rhythm is off. Your circadian rhythm is involved in various hormonal production including your ability to make melatonin. Melatonin helps your sleep deeper and better but it also wards off tumor growth. It’s also important to note that you can never catch up to sleep and your body never makes it up, never.
I hope I’ve impressed upon you enough that sleeping is vital for health and fitness and here’s 13 ways to sleep better and deeper every night.
- You MUST sleep in complete darkness. Even having the light of your cable box or alarm clock showing can impair your pineal gland function which produces serotonin and melatonin, two critical hormones. Even the smallest amount of light can impair your sleep since our body’s circadian rhythm is closely linked to light and darkness. Years of evolution have programmed our body to sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light. Cover your windows with black out shades, cover your alarms clocks and cell phones. ANY light has the potential to pass through your optic nerve and mess with your hypothalamus which controls your biological clock.
- Don’t drink anything at least two hours before bed. Minimizing your fluid intake will diminish the chances of you having to wake up and use the bathroom. Once you’re out of a deep sleep you can never get into it again for that night.
- Keep the temperature of your room around 70 degrees. Scientists have shown that within four hours of reaching deep sleep that your body’s internal temperature hits its most stable level. They believe that a room between 65 and 70 degrees is optimal since it will mirror your body’s best temperature.
- Shut off all electrical devices at least 60 minutes before bed. If you must use your cell phone, check twitter or facebook then do it an hour before you go to bed. Any little light, especially these high intensity lights will impair pineal gland function and it will be impossible for you to sleep better.
- Take some theanine. This amino acid works very well for increasing the feeling of relaxation and gives you an almost zen like feeling which is very helpful for those of us who want to sleep deeper to increase our recovery.
- Move your cell phone or alarm clock away from your head. No electronic devices near your head during sleep.
- No action movies or videos games at least 60 minutes before bed. Listen, I love the Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy but there’s now way I’ll ever be able to sleep well if I watch these action shows before bed.
- Supplement with l-tryptophan. Another important amino acid that has been shown to decrease the lag time between when you lay down and when you actually fall alseep.
- Cut out all pre bed snacks. Any small snack that quickly raises your blood sugar will also make it harder for you to get to sleep faster and deeper since your body attempts to tightly regulate your blood sugar before bed.
- Make sure your adrenal glands are working 100%. Your adrenal glands are vital for proper hormone function and too much stress, exercise and caffeine can all impair their proper patterns.
- Lose fat: Seriously, improving your blood sugar resistance is a fantastic way to sleep deeper and sounder each night. Even just exercising each day has been linked to better sleep patterns.
- Read something relaxing. I know that I need to get better at this too but putting down gossip or fitness magazines and reading quote books or really anything that sends a positive message can help sleep patterns.
- Wear socks. Personally I hate wearing socks to bed but research has shown that wearing socks reduces the amount of time you wake up during the night.
That’s it, those 13 steps to a deeper, better night’s sleep are very easy to implement. Consider trying one each night until all 13 are habit!