5 Tips to Improve Your Sleep
If I could recommend only ONE health habit that every individual should work towards improving it would be sleep.
Sleep is tied to so many important body regulators and has been shown to have a direction impact on:
-Muscle building and recovery
It’s no wonder that quality sleep is able to improve our quality of life so dramatically.
Chronic sleep disruption or insomnia can have MANY causes. But here are some tips that may help to improve your quality of sleep when practiced consistently.
As always- this information is never meant to replace the advice of your doctor. It is always my goal to provide evidence based health information but you should always see your doctor with any specific questions regarding your health.
Establish a Sleep Hygiene Routine Our bodies thrive on routine because our brains have to spend less energy when navigating what it already knows. Having a sleep routine helps your brain signal to your body what is going to happen next and can therefore help prepare your body for sleep. A solid sleep routine can include going to bed within the same 30 minute window of time each day- including the weekends!
Reduce Screen Time Before Bed It has been commonly understood for a while that the blue light from our phones can reduce quality of sleep as it sends signals to the brain that it should be awake, therefore disrupting the body’s release of melatonin- a sleep hormone that makes us feel drowsy. Recent research has brought into question the validity of such theories but there are other reasons to avoid screen time before bed. What you are doing on the screen could matter. If you are watching movies, playing stimulating games, or engaging in reading high emotional content, you are triggering the fight or flight response in your brain. This makes it difficult for your body to go into “rest mode” as it comes down from what it perceived as a threatening situation. The anxiety that is developed during this response can then also impact quality of sleep once you are able to fall asleep.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol. Caffeine impairs the build up of adenosine- a sleep promoting hormone produced in the brain- therefore causing us to feel more awake and alert. Additionally, caffeine can take up to 10 hours to fully clear out of your bloodstream so laying off the late night espressos can drastically improve your sleep quality. Alcohol has been shown to disrupt the REM cycle in the first two sleep cycles therefore creating an imbalance of sleep cycles (REM vs NREM) you experience during the night. You need both! This disruption of your REM sleep can lead to feelings of fatigue in the morning even after a long night’s sleep.
Supplementation Supplements such as Melatonin, Magnesium, and Zinc help the body to relax and signal sleep. Deficiencies in your body’s ability to produce or regulate these hormones and minerals can also be a cause for poor sleep, therefore supplementation can be a useful tool in treating insomnia or the occasional sleep disorders. *Always consult with your doctor before beginning any supplementation regiment-especially if pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Adjust Your Bedroom Temperature Temperature plays a crucial role in sleep quality as too warm conditions can affect the regulation of body temperature which decreases at night when you sleep. It is recommended to keep your bedroom temperature between 60-67F (15.6-19.4C) for optimal sleep comfort.
Sleep affects EVERYTHING. Therefore making the effort to improve your sleep quality and duration can have massive impacts not just on your ability to achieve your best health but in your ability to perform in every aspect of your life.
Sleep is one of many biofeedback markers that are tracked as a part of the wholistic approach to health in Poelhuis Performance Coaching protocols.
It is often in tracking these biofeedback markers that clients are able to break through plateaus and make progress towards their goals where they previously felt stuck and hopeless.
You can learn more about our coaching services and explore if coaching could help you better understand your own biofeedback markers and use them to finally get results and achieve your best health.