PERFECT Morning SQUAD!
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” – Old Irish Proverb
Sleep plays a vital role in our mental health. We sleep for a staggering 33% of our lives. Matthew Walker, sleep expert was quoted saying “sleep is the greatest natural performance-enhancing drug that most people are likely neglecting.” Poor sleep can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, increased risk of stroke, weight gain, increased stress, lower testosterone and even poor decision making (as Bill Clinton so eloquently explained to Obama when he took office.)
Sleep is your secret weapon and when optimized, allows you to perform at peak potential. Growing up, I had some real issues getting to sleep (and sometimes still do). It is because of this that I’ve relentlessly researched how to optimize one’s sleep. Here are some of my favorite methods and techniques for getting to sleep sooner and staying asleep as it relates to your 5 senses:
- Sight: Power down or avoid using all smart devices 90 minutes before bed time. Light effects your sleep, and blue light (found in your smart devices) effects your sleep the most. Melatonin helps you sleep and blue light delays the production of melatonin in your body. By exposing yourself to blue light shortly before bed time, you are essentially informing your body it’s time to wake up and start the day! To improve my sleep quality, I use these Sleep-Aid Bulbs during the evening which emit zero blue light!
- Touch: Pillows, mattresses, sheets. Research shows that you should be changing out your pillow every 18-24 months (excluding memory foam and latex). Your head weighs 8-10 pounds. That is the equivalent of a bowling ball resting on a pillow for 33% of the year. No wonder why they need to be replaced every 2 years! I recently bought a Luxe pillow and can say with complete honesty that it has singlehandedly upgraded my sleep performance.
- Sound: Many of us have experienced unwanted, annoying sounds in our hotel or home that has made it nearly impossible to get to sleep! Consider using a sound machine or meditation application (i.e. Calm) to get to sleep. There is research out that states the sound of crashing waves helps us sleep because it turns off our stress response and notifies our bodies that the environment is safe. Personally, I love “Rain on Leaves” setting on the Calm App. Note: if you are going to use the Calm App to help you get to sleep, put your phone on airplane mode to avoid unwanted disturbances during your slumber.
a. Side note: In my opinion, the SNOOZE button is the single worse invention ever. Your body cannot get back into deep sleep within the 7-9 minutes from snooze. You don’t actually get that sleep back. Just set an alarm for the last possible moment you need to wake up.
- Smell: Aromatherapy works wonders. Investing in an air diffuser and adding a few droplets of lavender oil in the diffuser or on your pillow before bed will help you get to sleep. DO NOT use candles. Fire and sleep don’t mix.
- Taste: Caffeine has a half-life of 6-8 hours so it might prevent you from getting into deeper stages of sleep. I recommend terminating caffeine intake around 2pm. 2 glasses of wine no later than 3 hours before bed (it takes approximately 1 hour to process an alcoholic beverage) are probably okay, but anything past this might be detrimental to your sleep.
By implementing just 1 of the recommendations above, you are well on your way to a more efficient and rejuvenating slumber! Next week, I will provide you with activities and techniques that you can engage in during the day that promote healthier, restful, deeper sleep at night!
Enjoy what comes of today!