'Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day' Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
SLEEP, forever 'there', yet, sometimes so hard to master it! Over the years we have got to appreciate the unbelievable value of it. After reading books about it, listening to countless podcasts, tracking it and more, it is fair to say that the more we learn about it, the more obsessed we get with it. Here we will share with you some of our favourite resources and experiences...one favour to ask, share with us yours, so that we too learn something 🙂
Many people have a hard time sleeping, and that's a challenge worth all your attention as sleep plays an essential role in your health, energy levels, and ability to function at your best. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night to feel well rested and energized each day...that is asleep, not time in bed...did you know the difference?
If you want to have a better quality of sleep, it is important to understand sleep and you as 'sleeper', identify what you are doing wrong or that may be affecting your sleep hours, as well as strengthening the good habits you have. Think of it as a session part of your training, you have to start from understanding where you are, track it. For this, we have to say that having Whoop did help tremendously, but you can of course do it without it.
If restless nights have become the norm for you, the first step towards better sleep is to observe your sleep patterns. Take note of how much you sleep each night, what time you go to bed, vs what time you think (or whoop or other tech tells you) you fell asleep, what is your sleep consistency...arguably as important or more as amount of hours asleep, what factors contribute to your sleep or lack of sleep, whether you feel rested the next morning, and how much energy you have throughout the day.
After observing your sleep patterns for a week or two, try the following strategies to help improve your sleep. Keep making adjustments until restless nights are a thing of the past.
'The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life' so this topic is definitely worth all your effort and attention!
6 SLEEP HYGIENE TIPS: THE IDEAL SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
We could have here an entire book about it and yeap you guessed it right, they are very personal which is why you have to start your own wonderful sleep journey.
Good bedtime habits are just as important as making sure you have the right environment. For some people is noise, light and not having a suitable place to sleep, for some others may be a late coffee or hiit session, find what are yours, what are those things that are taking you away from that deep and restful sleep that we all need? Cool, quiet and dark bedroom definitely seems to be the norm for most, and you?
- Minimize light. Darkness causes your brain to release melatonin for a calming and drowsy effect. Using dark or blackout curtains
- Eye mask and ear plugs
- Having a good mattress and pillows is essential. It's all about comfort!
- Not too hot, not too cold
- The right PJs or none at all 👀
- Mind Up and many other meditation apps, have different options for you to try, from nature sounds to bedtime stories, white noise and more.
- Put pets out, especially if they seek attention.
- Turn off phone at night. Better still, set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ a few hours before bed and charge it outside the bedroom, in the kitchen is good.
- Turn your phone blue light off for the night, very important, there are huge amount of research about the impact of blue light.
- Get Blue light protection glasses if you are going to have to use digital screens at night...ask yourself why already lol.
- Read a book, it encourages falling asleep.
- Set a wind down period of 60 minutes before bedtime without any light from TV or computers.
- Conrad Iber says choose a place where you only sleep, not where you do texting, Twitter or TV.
- SLEEP CONSISTENCY....this is our top pick, making a schedule for your week and trying to go to bed at the same time every night come what may is critical. We encourage you to read more about this topic, it is fascinating.
Just as it is important to have good sleep hygiene, diet plays a very important role, it has been found that the consumption of foods that help us increase the melatonin (hormone) and serotonin (neurotransmitter) that participate in the sleep cycle.
Some of them are: dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, some carbohydrates such as oats, rice, potatoes and vegetables.
There is a school of thought that says that meals before going to sleep should be light but they should provide our body with the necessary energy for its nighttime functions.
A team from the University of Colorado, in the United States, and the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, shows that caffeine delays this biological clock by 40 minutes: that is, the caffeine in an espresso Double consumed three hours before going to sleep would delay our biorhythms by 40 minutes, making it difficult for us to fall asleep. For that reason, avoid Coffee consumption at least a pair of hours before going to sleep, in fact, more and more comes out about caffeine staying in your system for about 4 hours...so that bedtime cup of tea, maybe time to check what is doing to your sleep and consider swapping it for another option.
🔥 TOP TIP: Caffeine nap. Siesta is a pleasure of kings, but sadly hardly seen these days, but, if you need a double boost, have an expresso and set your alarm for 20 minutes during your day. Boom! perfect cycle booster.
EXERCISE: BENEFITS AND HOW TO AVOID INSOMNIA
The practice of cardiovascular physical activity increases the heart rate (pulsations) proportional to the intensity of the exercise, and a greater release of endorphins and catecholamines, among which is adrenaline, which produces body activation. Therefore, these types of exercises should not be done before going to bed. Some tips should be taken into account to find sufficient relaxation, fall asleep and get a better rest after exercising:
- Do sports at least 4-6 hours before sleeping
- Taking a hot shower: helps lower blood pressure
- Using breathing or muscle relaxation techniques in bed
SLEEP AND MENTAL HEALTH RESILIENCE:
😴 The best bridge between despair and hope, is a good night sleep' - Matthew Walker - Why We Sleep. BANG! oh yes, this is definitely our favourite resource.
In the book 'Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers' by Timothy Ferriss, he highlights how one of the key habits of peak performers is a good night sleep and meditation. So it is a thing of the past, of leaders claiming with pride poor sleep nights.
I have a saying 'It is best if I discuss this with my pillow' There is a very strong relationship between our emotions, our coping mechanisms, basically our emotional integrity and a good night sleep. REM sleep almost acts as a soothing balm to the emotional experiences from our day.
So when you are getting edgy, when your fuse is getting shorter and you become all emotional accelerator pedal and too little regulatory control brake...prioritise on your sleep.
'Practice does not make perfect. It is practice, followed by a night of sleep, that leads to perfection' Matthew Walker
It is a matter of time, dedication and patience to find out which one of these tips are the ones for you, so that you can see results, years of bad sleep will not be solved in a week, but it is not impossible. Start adopting better habits, your future self thanks you in advance!
Please share in the comments what has helped you improve the quality of your sleep?...so that we too can learn
OUR FAVOURITE PODCASTS AND RESOURCES:
- Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
- Whoop Strap
- Huberman Lab Podcast: Matthew Walker, The Science & Practice of Perfecting Your Sleep
- Whoop Podcast: Understanding stress: How it affects sleep performance and cognitive functioning
⚠️ We are not doctors or specialists in this matter, we are simply sharing our own experiences and the best collection of thoughts in our opinion from years of learning about sleep.