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Think of sleep as the best insurance policy that you can invest in for yourself. Optimal physical health, immune function, mental health, and cognition are directly influenced by your sleep quality. Consistent, high-quality sleep when your body tunes up and repairs its operating systems. There are many simple ways to enhance your sleep and wake up feeling your best. Here’s what The Lanby recommends:
Tips for a successful night sleep
Temperature: Research shows that 65 degrees is the ideal room temperature to reduce your body core temperature. This ensures you will fall asleep fast AND stay asleep.
Blue Light: Light inhibits melatonin production, unless you are using an incandescent light bulb. Stop using all forms of LED light 1-2 hours prior to bed. Strong blue-light blocking glasses can help (Try TheraSpecs, which filter nearly 80% of blue light).
Showers: Taking a hot shower or bath 20 minutes before bed heats up the skin. The evaporation process when you get out cools down your body temperature, which simulates the beginning of sleep.
Food and Drinks: Avoid drinking any liquids 3-4 hours prior to bedtime and avoid eating 2 hours prior to bedtime. An active digestive system can delay falling asleep.
Alcohol: Avoid alcohol 4-5 hours before bed. Alcohol is a sedative, but becomes a stimulant once it wears off in the body. Alcohol before bed will lead to frequent awakenings, increased snoring and overall reduced sleep quality.
Caffeine: The half-life of caffeine is 5-7 hours, meaning it will take this long for it to break down in your body. Caffeine also blocks the chemical that makes us feel tired. Don’t drink caffeine in the afternoons or it will be much harder to wind down for bed.
Movement: Avoid strenuous or high intensity exercise 4 hours before bed. However, low impact exercise such as a walk or yoga can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Naps: Avoid napping after 3 PM (burns too much of your “sleepy" chemical AKA melatonin).
Breathing: If you think you snore or breathe through your mouth at night, it might be worth doing a sleep test. Upper airway resistance will inhibit all of your other efforts to achieve quality sleep.
Medication: Sleeping pills, otherwise known as “Z-drugs” prescribed for insomnia (i.e. Ambien) are not long term solutions for optimizing sleep. They don't allow your body to enter the REM stages of sleep, which means your body can’t recover / rebuild, strengthen the immune system, or release vital hormones. Ask your primary care doctor about Trazodone as a potential alternative.
Supplements: There are several over-the-counter options available such as melatonin, 5-HIP, CBD/ CBN products, L-theanine, magnesium L-threonate, valerian, chamomile, etc. Reach out to your Care Team for more information about what might be right for you.
Schedule: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will ensure you are maximizing the number of full sleep cycles you complete each night (4-5 is the target number of full sleep cycles each night).
Mind: If you frequently experience an overactive mind, keep a notepad on your nightstand to quickly jot down tomorrow's to-do’s. While reading also helps to induce sleepiness, listening to sounds with delta waves can help trigger deep sleep. A sleep meditation app such as Calm or Headspace can also facilitate the transition to sleep. Lastly, another option is to walk it out, as your brain will start to associate the bed as a place to be awake if you keep lying there waiting to get tired.
Position: Some sleeping positions are strenuous for your muscles and your joints, resulting in you waking up to feel tired and sore. Make sure your body and head feel properly supported before falling asleep to keep you as rejuvenated as possible upon waking up.
Measuring Quality: Sleep Cycle Apps and wearables that measure the quality of your sleep can be helpful in assessing the kind of pre-sleep routine that works best for you. Try experimenting with some of the tips provided here and measure how they affect you.
Optimizing your sleep hygiene is one of the most effective and available ways to biohack your health. Need more assistance creating the best sleep? Contact your Care Team for tips, tricks, and even tests if needed!
If you're curious to learn more about The Lanby, book a free consult call and we'll chat about how The Lanby can be your personalized long term health and wellness partner.
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