Main content starts here, tab to start navigating

Health Hack #5 - Sleep (pt. 2)


Last week we hit on some topics pertaining to why sleep is one of the most important aspects of our physiology. Affecting everything from our immune system, cardiovascular health, to our memory and learning functions, sleep is paramount to maintaining a healthy, long life. With mounting evidence linking sleep deficiency to various forms of cancer and even Alzheimer’s, it is too often a neglected topic when we talk about health and wellness. This week we want to focus on how to get and maintain better, longer sleep, reaping those longevity benefits.

How can I improve my sleep habits?

If you are like us and dive a little deeper on this topic, then it’s very likely you may be scared straight into better sleep habits. You aren’t going to change bad habits overnight (pun intended), but we have some tips to get you started on the road to true beauty sleep. Here goes!

Cut the blue light - bombarding our brains with blue light at night, i.e., TVs, phones, computers, inhibits the production of melatonin (a hormone that signals the brain to start the sleep process). Consider a pair of blue light blocking glasses or even making the bedroom a “no tech” zone. Here’s what we are wearing:

Regularity - go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. Regularity in your sleep habits will go a long way toward developing better quantity and quality of sleep.

Keep it chill - if you have ever noticed that it’s easier to fall asleep when the AC is cranking, you wouldn’t be wrong. Your body drops its core temperature to initiate and sustain the sleep process. Keeping your room cold at night will aide in sustaining longer periods of better sleep.

Meditation/journaling - If you are having trouble falling asleep due to anxiety or anxiousness, a simple meditation practice before bed will help calm down the nervous system. In a similar vein, journaling may also be helpful. Noting your concerns and things on your mind has shown to be a cathartic experience.

Diet - This is simple. A healthy, balanced diet will get you better sleep. Limit your sugar intake. Try not to go to bed hungry, but also not too full. Find a medium that works for you. Finishing your last meal about 3-4 hours before bed seems optimal. 

Avoid sleeping pills - sleeping pills are sedatives; sedation is not sleep. Sleeping pills do not produce a naturalistic form of sleep.

Avoid caffeine - caffeine stays in your body for long periods of time. If you drink a cup of coffee at 12 PM, 25% of that will still be present in your system at 12 AM.

Avoid alcohol - alcohol falls into the sedative family. A nightcap (or 3) is not going to lead you to a sounder slumber. Alcohol leads to a fragmented sleep and even blocks your dream sleep.

Fun fact

Admittedly, limiting tech, alcohol, and caffeine is a buzzkill (more puns). So, we’ll offer up a fun fact in their place: birds and dolphins are able to sleep with half their brains turned on while the other half rests!

What are we reading?

For a deeper dive on this subject we’d recommend picking up Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker. It’s an eye opening read that reveals the importance and complexity of sleep in a language that is easy for the layperson to understand. Check it out here.

Sleep tight,