Ah, the elusive ZZZZ's.
The average American gets less than 7 hours of sleep a night.
This is just enough to function…with an added overdose of espresso shots.
The bottom line is you probably need more sleep.
Lack of sleep affects more than daily grogginess.
Over time it can cause weight gain, and shave years off your life.
In this article I am going to cover 9 tips to help you get better quality sleep and wake up feeling like a champion.
- Prioritize Sleep
- Pay Attention to Your Nutrition
- Have a Bedtime Routine
- Create The Right Sleep Environment
- Avoid Electronic Devices In Bed
- Exercise (But Not Before Bed)
- Sleep In Cooler Temperatures
- White Noise And Sound Proofing
- Rid Your Room Of Light
If you want better sleep you need a better sleep environment .
Go upgrade your linens and sheets and sleep like a King!
Why Sleep Matters
Look around you today.
Where are the longest lines in America? Coffee shops. And until they buy their triple double venti skinny latte (add a shot), they're looking like zombies.
Caffeine would be less necessary if people were getting plenty of quality sleep per night.
Benefits of sleep include:
- A healthy metabolism
- An increased immune function
- Enhanced memory and learning ability
and so much more.
This article is going to cover nine tips for getting better quality sleep.
No one is going to prioritize sleep for you but you.
I've talked about how to get more done in your day in my article How To Prioritize.
Sleep has to be scheduled, just like anything else that needs to get done in your life.
If you don't prioritize sleep it will fall on the not important & not urgent portion of the priority matrix.
Sleep should be in the Important and Not Urgent section, which is the section you should be living out of if you prioritize everything in your life correctly.
Look, I get it. You may be a student with two jobs trying to make ends meet, or a father with kids.
I've been there.
Prioritizing everything else in your life correctly will help you fit sleep in. The truth is we make time for everything that is important to us.
Besides, what is the point of working as hard as you do if you can't be awake and refreshed enough to enjoy it?
2. Pay Attention To Your Nutrition
I alluded to caffeine earlier in the article.
Did you know the coffee industry is a $20 Billion industry? People are RELYING on caffeine, and not sleep to make it throught the day.
I have a rule. No coffee or caffeine after noon.
This is because caffeine can actually stay in your system for 6-14 hours after ingesting. Even if you fall asleep after an afternoon cup o' joe it will still affect your deep sleep cycle.
The same idea holds true with alcohol. Try and avoid drinking alcohol right before bed as it also inhibits your REM cycle, even if it may help you fall asleep.
If you want to have a drink stick to one glass of wine or a beer with dinner and you will be fine.
One chemical found in many foods actually increases the seratonin levels in the brain, and that is tryptophan.
It is found in foods like eggs, turkey, nuts, and chicken. Try incorporating some of these foods into your dinner to prep you for sleep.
In addition, eating large portions for dinner can cause your body to work a little harder to digest and not be able to rest optimally.
Humans are creatures of habit. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
You need to be able to have a go to routine when it's time for bed. Maybe it's meditation or reading a book.
I know last minute things come up but the more you plan the less you will shoot yourself in the foot.
If you're a student or a working professional and you know that your presentation or exam is due the next day, don't wait until the last minute to work on it.
You will be up all night cramming and lose retention of the information in the long run anyways.
Plan ahead, get your work done, and follow a bedtime routine.
4. Create the Right Sleep Environment
Have you ever stayed in a 4 or 5 star hotel?
Humans spend 1/3 of their life sleeping. Why not invest in quality at home?
Get yourself a nice mattress and linens. Buy a better quality pillow.
I will talk about a few more things you can do to create a better environment in your home below.
If you want better sleep you need a better sleep environment
It's a great company and you will be sleeping like a King.
5. Avoid Electronic Devices In Bed
I could talk about this all day, but having your phone in your bed will KILL your sleep quality.
Harvard Medical School has as study on blue lights on your phones. I won't get into all the details but essentially blue light tells your body not to shut down yet.
Darkness is a signal for your body which says “Hey it's time for bed.”
According to the study, the way the retina takes in color from the blue light, actually decreases the melatonin (sleep chemical) in the brain.
Their suggestions are to avoide blue light 2-3 hours prior to bedtime, as well as using them more throughout the day to boost sleep quality at night.
Another tip is get an alarm clock instead of a phone alarm.
6. Exercise (But Not Before Bed)
Dr. Stuart Quan is the Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
He did a study that showed exercising right before bed makes it harder to fall asleep.
This is due to increased epinephrine (adrenaline), a higher heart rate, and difficulty winding down at night
Furthermore the best time to exercise is early afternoon around 4 or 5 pm.
It gives your body time to wind down and recover. Now your body is primed for sleep.
7. Sleep in Cooler Temperatures
Studies show that the best temperature to have your room at while sleeping is around 65 to 68 degrees fahrenheit.
This is because while you sleep, your optimal body temperature for recovery drops a little bit.
Dropping the temperatures in your room helps keep your body's recovery temperature level.
If it's too hot (or too cold) your body may struggle to set its own temperature.
8. White Noise and Sound Proofing
This one is for the light sleepers.
Your ability to hear is still very active while you're asleep.
Light sleepers tend to notice sounds from complete silence that cause them to wake up (like spouses snoring etc).
White noise works as a mask to block those sounds while you're alseep.
Sound proofing the room so no other sounds can seep in is another idea. Be careful for emergencies though.
You want to be able to wake up if you have to.
9. Rid Your Room of Light
In parts of Alaska, it stays bright morning, noon, and night 6 months out of the year.
So when people are asleep the sun is still shining bright outside.
It's not the same in the lower 48 states or other parts of the world, but sun blocking blinds can do wonders for sleeping in a little or for naps.
It may be a good investment for all you mid-day nappers out there.
The bottom line is that you don't just want to survive your day. You want to perform optimally.
You want to get the most out of every single day.
When you work, work hard. When you rest, rest well.
Prioritizing your life helps get the work done you need to get done, while getting optimal sleep.
Want a better sleep environment ?
Go upgrade your linens and sheets and sleep like a King!