Getting a good night sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. A huge new study shows that every adult needs 7-8 hours a night or else their cognitive abilities will suffer. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 adults are not getting enough sleep, according to the CDC. That’s a whole lotta people workin with half a brain!
So many of my clients are not getting enough sleep and it has huge effects on their physical and mental health. Here are a few easy behaviors that will have huge effects on your quality of sleep!
“I used to say sleep was the third pillar [of health],” said Dr. Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley during an expert panel on sleep “I was absolutely wrong. It’s the foundation.”
1. Remove Blue Light
An hour before bedtime, remove all exposure to blue light. Blue light comes from electronic screens – cell phones, TV, computers, etc. This type of light reduces your melatonin, the sleepy hormones that helps you get your zzz’s.
Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).
2. Make It Cold
In order for our bodies to go into sleep mode, our body temperatures must decrease by 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit.
“About one to one and a half hours before falling sleep, the body starts to lose heat from its central core and that brings on increased feelings of tiredness in normal healthy adults. These physiological changes happen well before going to bed and may be occurring before people realise them,” Dr Van den Heuvel of the UniSA’s Centre for Sleep Research says.
Christopher Winter, medical director at Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine, says your bedroom should be between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Temperatures above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees can cause disruptions in your sleep.
3. No Booze or Coffee
Alcohol and caffeine have been shown to fragment your sleep, making you wake up through the night and keep you out of the restorative dream state sleep. This will end up making you feel not fully rested even if you get a full night sleep! Alcohol is one of the most common sleep aid—at least 20 percent of American adults rely on it for help falling asleep. However, drinking regularly is much more likely to interfere with your sleep than to assist it.
4. Take a Hot Bath
Taking a warm bath before bed actually causes a cooling response in your body after the fact, which can better your ability to go to sleep and stay asleep.
A University of Washington review of related research, published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, found three studies showing that passive body heating, such as relaxing in a warm bath for 30 minutes, not only helps older people fall asleep more quickly, but also increases the amount of time spent in deep sleep stages!
5. Make it Dark
We live in a dark deprived society with light pollution wrecking havoc on our sleep cycles! An hour or 2 before bedtime, turn out or dim as much light in your home as possible to start to get that melatonin flowin. Make sure your sleep space is as free from light as possible! I make sure to have my blackout curtains pulled closed, cell phones flipped, and all lights covered.
Check out my favorite podcast with sleep expert Dr. Matthew Walker and Joe Rogan if you are interested in learning more! Please comment below on what nightly routines help you catch some zzz’s!