“Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.” ~ Dr. Matthew Walker
Sleep Is the Most Important Aspect of Our Health
Sleep is the most powerful and most important thing we can do for our health.
When we have a bad night of sleep, it affects our emotions, our mental clarity, and our physical health. Everything that occurs in our day to day can be severely affected by poor sleep.
On the contrary, if we get good sleep, everything else will excel. Things will become easier. Emotional processing will be more stable. Mental clarity will be more accurate and precise.
Here are some ways you can fix your sleeping problem.
Ways to Fix Sleep Problems
1. Limit caffeine intake.
If you are having caffeine in the afternoon, it could be severely damaging your sleep.
Dr. Matthew Walker states that “Caffeine has an average half-life of five to seven hours. Let’s say that you have a cup of coffee after your evening dinner, around 7:30 p.m. This means that by 1:30 a.m., 50 percent of that caffeine may still be active and circulating throughout your brain tissue. In other words, by 1:30 a.m., you’re only halfway to completing the job of cleansing your brain of the caffeine you drank after dinner.”
If you plan on going to bed at 10 pm, have your last cup of coffee (or any form of caffeine) before Noon.
2. Know what the bed is for.
The bed is for two purposes - sleep and sexual intimacy. There is no other reason for our beds.
To get better sleep, avoid watching T.V. in your bed. Doing so triggers the brain to think the bed is a place to watch shows and movies and stay up rather than sleep. This, in return, makes it difficult for the brain to wind down.
If you have a T.V. in your room, consider placing it in another room or storing it in the closet. Better to sleep well and enjoy the following day than to stay up and feel groggy.
3. Avoid screens 1 hour before going to bed.
Refrain from looking at screens one hour before going to bed.
Most screens emit blue light/blue wavelengths. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night.”
Our brain interprets blue light the same way as looking at the sun. When our body is tired and ready to sleep, but our screens overstimulate our brain, the brain becomes confused. It knows the body wants to sleep, but the screens make it questions whether or not we should stay up.
Giving an hour before bed of no screens will help our brain to wind down and be much more able to get a good night’s sleep.
4. Avoid naps (or take them before 3 p.m.).
Naps are okay to take, but only in their proper place.
Preferably, it is best not to take naps throughout the day. Of course, some of the greatest minds in the past are known for having taken naps.
If you decide to take naps, take them for no longer than 20 minutes. Anything past this will have the body begin to enter a sleep cycle. If you were to wake up 45 minutes into your nap, you would be entirely out of it (due to being in the middle of a 90-minute sleep cycle).
Again, if you take a nap, do it before 3 p.m. Anything after will disrupt your sleep.
4. Do not eat anything three hours before going to bed.
This will give your body time to digest and not have to work overtime when going to bed.
If we have a meal or dessert near bedtime, our bodies will work throughout the night to digest our food.
Cleveland Clinic also states, “those extra calories coming from your late-night meal or snack are stored as fat while you sleep instead of being burned throughout the day.”
Better to give the body time to digest and burn off some of the extra calories than lying in bed and disrupting sleep.
6. Work out, but not four hours before going to bed.
Movement is imperative to good sleep. Without moving throughout the day, we tend to become much more restless.
The reason is that our body is not burning enough calories. We are pent up with energy because we have not taken the time to exercise and work off some of that energy.
The Sleep Foundation states, “Previous studies have noted that proper exercise can alleviate sleep-related problems and help you get an adequate amount of rest.”
Take time to move for at least 30-60 minutes each day.
7. Have a “going to bed” routine.
Waking up and going to bed at the same time helps the brain and body to synchronize with its circadian rhythm.
The more routines we build throughout the day, the more productive we will be. If we go to bed and wake up at different times, we will not have a set schedule. Our body and brain will become confused, as they won’t know when to wake up and wind down.
When scheduling going to bed and waking up, give yourself nine hours in bed. The majority of us are in bed longer than we sleep. You will be much more prone to getting the required 7-9 hours of sleep by giving yourself nine hours of in bedtime.
Want to Keep Learning About Improving Sleep?
If you want to continue to improve your sleep, we would recommend the following articles to read from Tiger Medical Institute:
To talk to one of our professionals about getting better sleep, click here to schedule your call!