Are you neglecting your best friend??
One of the often overlooked/underused tools to optimize your health is quality sleep!
There are so many metabolic benefits from establishing good sleep hygiene, but we often challenge ourselves to perform with limited sleep – almost as a sign of toughness or resilience. The negative cascade of sleep deprivation is incredibly detrimental to our health.
So how do we improve this fantastic Health Optimization tool?
Sleep – Wake Cycle
Our sleep cycle starts first thing in the morning. As soon as we wake up, let’s open the curtains and get some bright natural light, and when possible, fresh air!
Ideally, get up and out in the early morning sun – maybe take the dog out for a quick 15-20 minute walk. Up here in the winters of the Great White North (Canada), some of us opt for white light tools like the Human Charger, then step outside to the cool winter air. Either the early morning sun and fresh air, or white light alternatives and chilly winter air, will kick start your circadian rhythm, telling your body that in 12 hours or so it should start preparing for sleep.
The much needed but dreaded COFFEE!
Although I admit I love coffee, we should have our last cup of Java no later than 8 hours before bed to help wind down in the evening. A simple add-on to our early afternoon cup of Joe might be a 200mg capsule of L-Theanine. Get the boost from the caffeine, without the jitters!
On to the early evening…
Soon after supper, or at least 2-3 hours before bed, is a good time to start winding down and settling the mind. While watching TV, cleaning up, doing homework, or reading, make sure you put on your blue light blocking glasses! I prefer to use the amber coloured lenses as they block out almost all blue light.
When to use the different blue light blocking lenses:
- Clear (40%) – daytime use, especially if you need to see detailed colours (Graphic artist).
- Yellow (75%) – daytime or early evening for reading or watching tv.
- Amber (98%) – evening, especially after alot of screen time or late studying.
- Red (100%) – an hour before bed if you really need to shut down fast or for late studying
Prepping for bed routine…
This is when we should already be relaxed and ready to fall asleep but instead we stress about not doing enough earlier in the day, and now look for the magic supplement/sleep-aid!
But before that, what else can we do?
How about a warm bath with magnesium salts (epsom salts) to help relax the muscles and unwind?
Turn down the temperature in the bedroom and make the room as dark as possible (black out blinds/curtains)?
Turn the tv off, put on our red lens glasses, and read a few pages of that book you wanted to finish?
No social media?!?!
So this could/may be a long list for different reasons. Maybe you forgot about all the other stuff you could have done earlier in the day so you need more help at bedtime? More often than not, a little trial and error may be required to get your optimal supplement, so lets give you a few that has helped my clients over the years:
- Magnesium – the original chill pill! Magnesium glycinate after supper and before bed, will help relax your muscles to facilitate falling asleep and help prevent cramping.
- Inositol – helps to relieve anxiety and improve insulin sensitivity, thus positively affect our ability to stay asleep.
- L-Theanine – as mentioned above, contributes to the release of GABA, causing a sedative effect on the body and mind.
- Glycine – helps you fall and stay asleep by lowering core body temperature and having a calming affect on your brain.
So the formula for BETTER SLEEP…
- maintain the same sleep/wake routine the whole week.
- get up, open the blinds/curtains and get some fresh air.
- coffee no later than 2:00.
- blue light blocking lenses as early as possible.
- switch to amber lenses 2-3 hours before bed.
- magnesium with supper and before bed.
- take a warm bath an hour before bed, and prep your room for sleep.
- no tv or social media at least an hour before bed – otherwise, red lenses on!
We often hear – “…I sleep more than 8 hours but I’m still tired!”
Remember, with regards to sleep, you need both quantity and quality! There are many wearables (Oura ring, Apple Watch, Whoop Band, Fitbit, etc.) that can show you if your sleep is productive or not.
In my particular case, the amber lenses were key in falling asleep quicker, while the inositol helped increase my REM scores.
We are all different, and may require a different cocktail to get our best sleep, but figuring it out is a game changer!!!
If you need help figuring it out, please reach out to Coach Kayla in order to expedite the process!