5 Simple Hacks to Better Sleep
Not getting enough sleep? Waking up exhausted?
Dr Anthony Balduzzi, founder of The Fit Father Project, talks about sleep and some simple and practical strategies you can use to sleep better, to get deeper sleep and to wake up feeling more rejuvenated in the morning.
Sleep; the importance
I don't know of too many topics that are more important than sleep. It is the foundation of your entire health routine. You can try any kind of diet or any kind of workout and if your body is in a sleep deprived state it will not work for you.
Sleep is the foundation of your body's ability to regenerate all your cells. It actually reduces inflammation in your brain and helps you think better.
In today's society so many of us miss sleep because we're busy or stressed or we can't shut our minds off.
So I am going to cover some practical tips to help you get better sleep.
1. Night-time Electronics Shutdown
Sleep tip number one is we need to do a nighttime electronics shut down.
This is probably one of the hardest things for some people to do. But also one of the most important.
We need to start shutting down our phones, our computers and our computer screens after dinner.
Biological Benefits of an electronics shutdown.
Televisions, computer screens and smartphones give off a particular spectrum of light called blue light.
This is a problem becablue light is a very bright light which shuts off our brain's production of melatonin when it hits our eyes .
Melatonin is our brains natural sleep and relaxation hormone which prepares us for bed. Normally our brain releases a lot of melatonin as the day gets darker; but looking at screens all the time decreases melatonin production which makes our brains go haywire.
That can lead to a ton of sleep problems.
So my challenge for you is after dinner What can you turn off? Can you turn off the computer? Can you put your phone away?
If you are a dad this will also give you a chance to be a role model for your children.
At the very least you should install a blue light blocker such as F.lux s on your technology which reduces the blue element after dark.
If you're someone that likes to watch TV or movies at night you can get some blue light blocking glasses.
Those are those orange glasses that you might have seen people wear around and they look funny but they do work. They block that blue light from disrupting your brain's melatonin production which can help you sleep a lot better.
Psychological Benefits of an Electronics Shutdown
The psychological reason that it's so important to wean yourself and your kids off the technology at night is the way "Push Notifications" are designed to create addiction.
Our brains get addicted to this push notification life where our phones are constantly buzzing with the next Facebook Like or the next news story or the next call or text message.
That really keeps our brains on high alert where eventually we're just looking for that next fix. This makes it harder for our brain to shut down and relax.
So give yourself a seven day challenge to say "OK no phone, no computer after 9pm during the week. Try that and you're going to see a big benefit in your sleep. It really is that powerful. Often some gentle stretches and exercises can help the body to heal itself. Typically, four to six sessions are enough, although you may need additional exercise sessions.
2. Bedroom Temperature
Tip number two is as simple as managing the temperature in your bedroom.
Our bodies naturally like to sleep in lower temperatures.
Because for our bodies heat equals metabolic activity when our core temperature heats up. When we exercise or eat all of our enzymes work hard but they relax at night so naturally our core temperature drops a little bit. And that's a signal to our bodies to say "OK we're we're slowing down, we're going to rest and relax.
Bu the problem is a lot of us sleep in rooms that are too hot.
An ideal room temperature is somewhere around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a lot colder than some people sleep so if that includes you, you may find you can get some benefits by just getting a fan in your room to decrease the temperature.
3. Light and Sound
When it comes to bedtime there's actually some compelling research that even having small lights in your room, such as a little flicker from a TV or from an alarm clock or from a screen can actually disrupt your sleep.
You have a couple options here.
One is you can get those big blackout curtains and get rid of all the flickering lights in your room.
Or you can put a face mask on when you sleep. And this is a really really important thing that's becoming a lot more popular is sleeping with a face mask and some earplugs. That creates a perfect environment for nice and peace and quiet and it can really help improve the quality of your sleep.
4. Sleep Rituals
The next thing is we need structure around our sleep routines.
Our bodies run on a series of biological clocks where our bodies like to be hungry at certain times, get sleepy at certain times, wake up at certain times...you get the picture.
So how structured is your routine? Is there any way we can make it a little more structured so you have a nice evening wind down routine and you get to bed at roughly around the same time every day.
5. Thankfulness and Journalling
There really is research proven to help improve the quality of sleep is to do some gratitude journalling. This is where you get to consciously train your brain in the same way that weightlifting consciously trains your muscles.
Just writing down three to five things that you're grateful for every single day over time trains your brain to look for more grateful situations to be more positive and actually to sleep better.
So it's a fantastic way to end your day.
After you've done the technology detox just write down five things that worked well that day and five things you're grateful for. It is really going to help your brain get some closure on the day.
I also like to do is write down at night what your plan is for the following day. What are your big priorities. What are the things you need to focus on because that helps your brain know what. What's coming up the next day. And you don't have to worry about it as much it's written down. You have the action plan so you can get up the next morning and get to work.
(Article adapted for DAD.info with kind permission from The Fit Father Project)
ABOUT DR ANTHONY BALDUZZI AND THE FIT FATHER PROJECT
Dr Anthony Balduzzi NMD is the founder of the Fit Father Project
Following the loss of his father at a young age, Dr Baluzzi has dedicated his life to one thing: helping busy fathers lose weight and build muscle to stay healthy for their families.
"Growing up, I never dreamed of becoming a men's health doctor. I became one out of necessity".
Learn more about The Fit Father Project story at his website here.