Quick Tips For Better Sleep
August 26, 2020
August 26, 2020
Sleep plays an incredibly important role in optimal health.
Not only is it a time to rest and reenergize, but it’s also when our body conducts cellular repair and rebuilding processes, removes brain waste, boosts immune function and much more. It’s incredibly complex, yet so simple at the same time—a common truth in nature.
Still, studies consistently find that most people struggle to get quality sleep, which leads to a growing sleep debt as a result. And the cost, as evidenced by the modern epidemic of chronic disease, is substantial.
Fortunately, making improvements to sleep quality is not complicated. In fact, little changes can make a world of difference. If you're someone consistently asking themselves, "Why can't I sleep?", give these quick tips a try:
1.) Eliminate artificial light once the sun has set.
Our natural circadian rhythm, which is responsible for sleep/wake cycles, receives its messaging from the environment. Use of artificial light and technology at night triggers a response comparable to mid day, all but eliminating your chances of quality sleep. Turn off lights, stay away from technology and invest in a pair of nighttime blue blockers!
2.) Spend as much time outside as possible in the morning.
If you’re someone who has trouble sleeping, the answer may actually be found in your morning routine. Production of melatonin, the critical hormone for sleep, repair and many mitochondrial functions, actually starts with exposure to morning sunlight by activating the amino acid tryptophan and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Make at least 20 to 30 minutes spent outside in the morning a priority, although more is always welcome!
3.) Watch the sunset.
As previously mentioned, our circadian rhythm relies largely on cues from the light environment to tell time and initiate the correct biological processes—one of the most important being sleep. By watching the sunset in the evening, our brains are getting the message that it is time for rest and repair. Just this simple act can go a surprisingly long way towards enhancing your sleep quality.
4.) Create a cool, dark environment for sleeping.
Under normal conditions, the natural, inverse relation between light and temperature offers a reliable cue for circadian entrainment—i.e. the presence of sunlight during the day stimulates wakefulness, whereas colder temperatures and complete darkness at night trigger rest and repair.
However, the modern world is anything but normal. Instead, we layer ourselves in blankets and allow artificial light sources to enter our sleeping space. Make every effort to keep your bed and bedroom as cool as possible by keeping windows open or using fans. Also, focus on eliminating the presence of all light—the effect on sleep quality will be enormous.
5.) Track your sleep.
You cannot fix what you don’t measure. Feedback and data are critical to making purposeful changes and understanding the effects of decision making. Using a wearable like the Oura ring is a great way to optimize your sleep experiment and track progress over any period of time. Listen to the data and analyze it carefully—the results will make all the difference!
Making substantial improvements in your sleep quality takes very little investment, but will have huge payoffs for your overall health. Give these quick tips a try and fuel your full day with the power of optimal sleep!