Sleep Your Way to the Top
We are all aware that sleep is important. We want more. We say we will do better. How hard could it be? If you are anything like me, it’s a daily challenge. Some nights I struggle to get to sleep, while other times I’m out like a light, but then toss and turn later on. A good night’s sleep is hard to come by, but after months of trial and error, I’ve made progress. I wanted to share things that are working well for me, in case anyone else is struggling with this as well.
I’ve found that limiting my IPad, TV, and phone time a few hours before bed helps me unwind and fall asleep faster. I’ve been reading or doing other random odds and ends around the house before bed, and I that my brain quiets down much faster once I get into bed.
I also take magnesium before bed. Think of it as the relaxation mineral. Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of enzyme reactions in your body – mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. Deep sleep allows for an increase of growth hormone, which results in protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is what allows cell growth and repair. Deep sleep = better performance.
In addition to the limited electronics and magnesium, there are a few other things that help me fall asleep faster. Sleeping in cold, dark room has been very beneficial. The National Sleep Foundation has found that temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit are disruptive to sleep. Pick a temperature that is chilly, but doesn’t cause you to wake up freezing in the night. While you are turning down the thermostat, take a minute to cover up all the lights in the bedroom. Use black out curtains, cover the alarm clock and TV light, and turn cell phones over if you keep them in the room. My last suggestion for falling asleep quickly is the use of a noise machine. I like to use the sound of rain or thunder to help relax me while falling asleep.
The average sleep cycle is 90-110 minutes in length. In order to achieve full cycles, you must sleep for 7.5 – 9 hours. If you awake feeling groggy, you probably interrupted a sleep cycle. The best thing you can do is expose yourself to bright light first thing in the morning (preferably the sun).
My last piece of advice is to stick to your weekly schedule, even on the weekends. Once you’ve established a good sleep routine, it does no good to change it every 5 days. I do the best I can to get to bed within an hour of my normal weekly bed time.
Fun fact from The Better Sleep Council – You’ll die from sleep deprivation before you starve to death. It takes 2 weeks to starve, but 10 days without sleep can kill you. Off to bed!