Struggling To Catch Those Zzzs?
With the rise of stress, screen addiction, and societal pressure to do more, it’s safe to say we’re (also) facing an epidemic of poor sleep.
And although you probably know one of those people, the one that can’t resist bragging about the fact that they only had three hours of sleep last night and still turned up to work…
What’s cool about low moods, compromised performance, and a weakened immune system?
Because that’s what you’re going to get without a good night’s sleep.
Head of Health and Fitness at Mindvalley Ronan Oliviera is a huge advocate for catching forty winks, affirming that ‘sleep literally improves your entire life…and the benefits are endless.’
7 Simple Steps To Optimizing Your Sleep
Wearing our lack of shut-eye (and obsessive Americano consumption) like a badge of honor is no longer working for us, and the world is beginning to wake up to the benefits of optimal sleep.
We all know that hitting the hay in a conscious, healthy way leads to better overall mental and physical health…but did you know that sleep can uplevel your body’s ability to burn fat?
And lower your blood pressure?
And improve your memory?
You get the picture. If you want a happier, healthier, smoother life experience…sleep is where it’s at.
That’s why Ronan got all geared up to equip you with his professional toolbelt of seven optimizing sleep hacks you can start using right now.
1. Wake Up At The Same Time Every Morning
That way, you’re working with your natural groove – more formally and sophisticatedly known as your Circadian Rhythm.
You can see your Circadian Rhythm like your body’s favorite pocket watch – telling it when to be active, rest, heal and balance itself.
So you don’t want to mess with it and give yourself jetlag without the perks of your tropical package holiday. By setting your alarm to go off at exactly the same time every morning, including weekends, you’re clearly signaling what your body can get on with doing and when. That includes that deep, delicious sleep you’ve been craving.
Make sure you work backward and figure out what time you have to go to bed too. And that brings us nicely to step two.
2. Get Enough
Sleep, that is. Based on what time you set your alarm for in the morning, figure out when you need to be under the sheets so you get enough.
Seven to nine hours tends to suit most people. So if you wake up at 7:30am, try going to sleep at 11:30pm…and feel free to experiment with what feels best.
As The Mindvalley Sleep Doctor Michael Breus says, ‘everyone is different…so the eight-hour rule is a total myth.’ If you’d like to figure out your personal Sleep-Hours Formula (and Sleep Animal Category) click here.
3. Build An Evening Routine
Once you know when you’re going to sleep and what time you’ll wake up, you’re ready to design your evening routine.
Whether it’s thirty minutes to read a book, a gentle yoga session or a warm, nocturnal shower, Ronan suggests setting an alarm to remind you to begin winding down.
You’ll directly begin to associate your bedtime routine with sleep – and over time, you’ll (healthily) brainwash yourself sleepy, Pavlov’s Dogs style.
4. Fast For 3 Hours Before Bed
Digestion takes a surprising amount of energy.
So if you’re going to bed on a full belly, your body’s main focus WON’T be deep sleep – it’ll be on breaking down your food.
Moreover, digestion raises your body temperature – which is the exact opposite of what conditions your body would need for rest. Your body temperature must naturally fall as bedtime approaches, paving the way for a good night’s sleep.
5. Steer Clear Of Stimulants (In The Afternoon/Evening)
That’s right. Ronan is asking you to cut out your coffee after 2pm and avoid alcohol consumption.
But before you throw your wine glass at the screen…hear us out.
Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, yerba maté, and many soft drinks) can easily stay in your bloodstream for up to six hours. According to the Sleep Education Org, studies show that consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime reduces total sleep time by ONE WHOLE hour.
And your preferred nightcap of choice? It may make you fall asleep faster – but don’t be deceived. Your sleep will always be lighter and of less quality when alcohol is thrown into the mix.
6. Turn The Lights Down Low
If you want to get your sleepy head on, you’ve got to turn the lights OFF.
Especially blue lights. That’s because the blue lights from your phone, laptop, and television directly trigger the ‘GET UP AND GO’ chemicals in your brain and suppress melatonin.
Melatonin is the holy grail of hormones that leads to us falling into deep, restorative sleep. So stock up on it, turn off your devices at least one hour before bed and try talking to one another. Pretend it’s 1969!
7. Expose Your Eyes To Morning Sunlight
So building on our last point, it’s actually just as important to get sun exposure in the morning as well as laying off on the light in the evening. That way, your body will know it’s go-time, aligning with that Circadian Rhythm we were talking about earlier.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a hot country or sunshiney state, the best way to do this is to literally go out to your backyard and soak up the rays.
If you’re still singing ‘Hello, darkness my old friend’ as you despondently munch on your cornflakes, don’t despair. You can purchase an artificial lightbox, also known as a S.A.D. lamp (oh, the irony) so you can join the morning light club.
Get Better In Bed
Being better in bed is easier than you may imagine…
And if you follow these seven steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the king of your king-size mattress. If you’d like to discover more of Ronan’s health, fitness and performance tips, you can catch him on our Mindvalley YouTube channel here.
But for those of you inspired to dive deeper into that deeper sleep your body’s been begging for…
We hooked up with the world-renowned Michael Breus, knighted the official Sleep Doctor of America, to bring a FREE Sleep Masterclass to all of our blog readers.