Are you ruining your sleep before you even lay down?
Today we are going to start you down the path to fix that. Before you start adding habits that will improve your sleep it is often much more beneficial to correct the things you are doing wrong first! Basically learn what you need to stop doing before you start trying to add some new activities in.
- Too much caffeine - There are many people who are very slow caffeine metabolizes to the point where if you drink 4-6 cups of coffee (keep in mind 1 mug is usually 2 cups) then they still have high amounts of caffeine in their body when they try to shut down. If you don’t know your caffeine metabolism but you don’t sleep well you’d do best to have <2 cups of coffee and do it before noon.
- TV/Phone Screens in bed - when bright lights particularly of blue wave length stimulate your eyes, your brain assumes that light is coming from the sun. This delays your body's natural production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) for up to 90 minutes. SO when you play on your phone getting ready for bed for those 10-30 minutes your body won’t be ready for sleep hormonally for another hour and a half! If you must have screen time we’ll get into how you can cheat later but for now start limiting screen time the last hour before bed.
- Sleeping too hot - most people make the mistake of keeping the thermostat in their house too high at night. Research says that you should sleep between 64-68 degrees to get the best quality sleep. This is because the temperature drop is one part of what stimulates your body to shut down and get into deep, restorative sleep. Turn that temperature down!
- Irregular bedtimes - Yes as adults we need bedtimes too! If you change the time you prepare for and go to sleep each night your body can’t find a good rhythm. Many people change their bed time depending on the day of the week and their body hates them for it. Keep a more regular bedtime and try to change it by no less than 60 minutes on the weekends and watch your sleep quality continue to improve.
- Not expending enough energy during the day - if you aren't burning calories, moving a lot or exercising then your body won't have as strong of a signal to shut down for recovery. I find that I sleep the best when I do zone 3-4 type of exercise (fairly intense HIT type exercise) but some research shows benefits to zone 2 or slow cardio training.
- Staying inside all day - not getting a moderate amount of sunlight during the day will ruin sleep very quickly. Your natural circadian rhythm relies on you getting sunlight during the day. Even just 30 minutes of sunlight will help to regulate your circadian rhythm.
Next week we'll dive into some of the habits you can add to your daily routine to get the best sleep of your life. In the meantime start cleaning up the bad habits that may be ruining your sleep!