Why We Need Sleep
We hear everyone talking about it. We notice it when we don’t get enough. Sleep is a part of our lives, whether we like it or not. But, why do we need to sleep?
The two main reasons to get some shuteye:
1). The brain cleans cellular garbage while you sleep
2). The body repairs itself while you sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain becomes crowded with memories leaving little to no space for proper central nervous system function. The control center, aka your brain, begins to malfunction. This affects your body’s recovery too. You become vulnerable to immune system issues, imbalances in blood sugar regulation, increase in inflammatory hormones, among other things.
7 Hacks To Start Improving Your Sleep
Short of changing your lifestyle completely, there are several hacks to help you sleep better and have more energy throughout the day.
1). Expose your face to sunlight for 5 minutes in the morning.
Light is an important guide in your circadian rhythm. Exposing yourself to natural light in the morning is the best way to amplify cortisol levels and normalize your rhythm. Cortisol naturally spikes in the morning, turning your brain and body “on”, which then naturally declines as the day goes on.
If your schedule or location doesn’t allow for morning sunlight, try
A sunrise alarm clock
2). Put away all artificial light after sunset or 45 minutes before bed.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the negative effects of bluelight on sleep rhythm, but it can be so easy to stay on Instagram or TiTok as you lie in bed. Putting your phone, tablets, computer, and TV away for 45 minutes before bed (or once the sun sets) is going to increase your ability to sleep better and have more energy the next day. From what we just learned, light signals cortisol production. Right before bed, we don’t want that hormone producing. We want it’s counterpart, melatonin naturally secreting instead. This, too, is part of your natural circadian rhythm.
If your schedule or location doesn’t allow for bluelight free evenings, try these steps:
Install f.lux on your computer and tablets to dim the screen light at night
Put blue light blocking screen on your computer
Use blackout curtains in your bedroom
Wear blue-light blocking glasses like Felix Gray
Install low-blue light bulbs in your bedroom and office
3). Listen to the right sounds for deep sleep.
Hearing cars go by at 1 a.m. or sirens at all hours of the night may be disrupting your sleep more than you think. Download a white noise app or use a contoured face mask with ear plugs to block out disruptive nightlife. In situations where you know sound will be an issue like airplanes or AirBnBs, download Meditation Station by Stin Hansen or Zen Mindwaves. These particular audio tones are for calming dominant brain waves and relaxing your mind.
4). Take Supplements 30 - 60 minutes before bedtime.
Before taking any sort of supplement, always contact your doctor first. Having a hard time falling asleep may be from a mineral balance. Dosing potassium and magnesium 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed can help you relax more naturally. Potassium citrate (400mg) balanced with Natural Calm magnesium (200-400 mg) is most effective. If you notice loose stool, it could be from the magnesium and at that point I recommend changing dosage or switching to magnesium glycinate.
5). Nap for 30 - 60 minute in the middle of your day.
Napping can sometimes be seen as lazy or weak when actually it improves cognitive function, alertness, and memory for the rest of the day. The trick is to nap about 7-8 hours from when you woke up. Avoid napping right before or after dinner because it can actually have the opposite effect on nighttime sleeping at that point.
6). Avoid setting an alarm at least 1-2 days per week.
Biohackers call this Free-Running sleep. The idea is that when you feel tired, go to bed and when your body is ready to wake up, it will. This allows your body to normalize its sleep pattern on its own. Listen to your body and create an environment to hear its signals.
7). Learn more about your sleep cycle with a sleep tracking device.
Much like we do with exercise and food, track your sleep to learn more about it. Maybe a spouse says we snore or that we wake up randomly in the night. Tracking your sleep is the best way to know what your current sleep pattern is and give insight to fixing it. WHOOP has extensive sleep algorithms and tools to learn and change your sleep patterns. Use WHOOP's tools along with your own intuitive biofeedback to improve your sleep. I believe in this product so much that you can sign up for FREE using my affiliate link here. No catch! Sign up, strap is included, and watch your sleep improve.
How To Improve Your Sleep: Final Thoughts
There are plenty of things you can do to improve your sleep for tonight. Think outside the box when it comes to solutions! Things you do in the morning, like putting sun on your face, will affect your sleep later the same day. Sounds have a remarkable influence on your sleep yet they can be so easily overlooked. Pay attention to when you take nighttime supplements too.
7 Sleep Hacks Recap
With more sleep, you’ll gain energy, perform better, and allow your body the reset it needs.
Start a new daily 5 minute habit of sunlight on your face in the morning
Make sure you are off light after sunset
Sounds impact your deep sleep. Create a strong playlist or white noise for bedtime
Time your nightly supplements appropriately 30 - 60 minutes before bed
No shame in napping! A 30 - 60 minute nap makes you more productive
Free- Running sleep is a great way to reset your circadian rhythm clock
Try a sleep tracking app like WHOOP to learn more about your current cycle.