12 Simple Hacking Tips For Better Sleep
I remember when I was younger my older brothers and sister would always say, “just you wait until you get older, you will see and you won’t be laughing anymore.” That statement was in reference to me making a snide remark about them being older and me being 10 years younger! Yes, I was naive and know that I am finally in the club, the forty and over club that is, I have started to experience symptoms of aging. One in particular is sleep.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year and an additional 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems.
Wake at the Right Time
First of all, believe it or not getting a great night’s sleep starts in the morning.
Have you ever been wakened up from an alarm while you were in a dead sleep and felt groggy and maybe a little disoriented? If you are awakened while you are in a deep sleep or REM your body does go through the full sleep cycle and causes what some researches call, “sleep drunkennesses.”
Research shows that waking up in this state can be just as detrimental as getting four hours of sleep a night. But, since most of us use alarms to wake up how do we wake at the right time. Well, with technology today there is a device and app that can be used to monitor sleep cycles and wake you when you are in a light sleep cycle and have you awake during the most optimal point.
Get Moving Right Away
Do you hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off? Try getting up right away and start moving. Moving right away starts the process of having blood flow throughout the body helping with the waking process.
Drink a Large Glass of Cold Water
This really doesn’t have anything to do with sleep but it is a good hack for weight loss because drinking cold water increases the number of calories you burn, in turn raising your metabolism, because your body has to work harder to return to normal temperature.
Find the Sun
Seeing natural daylight helps you set your daily melatonin (sleep hormone) rhythm. This will help your body throughout the day with wakefulness and eventually help you be tired in the evening for bed.
Exercise helps to regualte your 24 hour clock as well as normalize your hormone levels. Exercise first thing in the morning or early afternoon. I know some of you can exersice later in the day or evening but be careful to not do too much high intensity exercise later in the evening as that might prevent you from falling asleep.
Eat A Small to Medium Meal at Dinner
Eating too much later in the evening can make it difficult for some people to fall sleep. Try and make your last meal of the day your smallest as opposed to your biggest. Try also to eat some slow digesting carbs. This can help make you feel sleepy.
Ok, this is a big one. Having more than 1-2 drinks before bed can really interfere with REM sleep. Try and go 3 hours from your last drink before you go to sleep.
Turn off Electronics
How many of us turn of the lights and look at our smart phones or electronic devices? Try and turn off electronic devices 30 minutes prior to going to sleep. The light from the screen can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep.
Create a relaxing sleep area
Create and enviroment that is free of distractions, clutter and noise. If you live in an urban area consider getting a noise machine to drown out sounds.
Set room temp to appropariate room temp
Make sure you have a comfortable and cool room. Some liking it cooler, around 67 degree F others might like it at a nuetral setting but make sure it is not too warm.
Make room dark as possible
To maximize melatonin production make room as dark as possible. Pul shades down, turn your phone face down, trun the blue clock lights away from your face.
Take a Sleep Supplement
For some, like myself, you may need to take a supplement that contins melatonin to help get you into the deep REM sleep. I personally take a sumplement called “Sleep” that contains vitamin B2, B6 and melatonin. If you want to learn more about it you can click here.
I can’t stress to you enough how important sleep is, especially if you are looking to lose weight. Start with just a few of the sleep hacks and strive to get 7-9 hours a sleep. If you just make sleep a priority and actually plan for it you will begin to see a difference not only in your weight loss efforts but your abilty to recover, relax and overall energy levels.
Let me know which sleep hacks you are implementing and are working for you either in the comments section below or over on the Free Facebook Group “All About Health and Fitness.”