Everybody is running around tired and stressed.
We’re drinking coffee and energy drinks in an effort to stay productive.
We’re getting wired to hide the fact that we’re tired.
We want to keep going, we don’t ever want to sit down and take a rest because we don’t want to waste precious time.
This is having a very problematic effect on our health.
We want to be the absolute best we can be.
There is just one problem…
Most of us are ignoring sleep.
Good sleep is the #1 essential ingredient for good health, and we are ignoring it.
We put more effort into our workout or diet routine that we do our sleep routine.
But the reality is that our sleep routine is equally as important (or even more important) as our gym and diet routine.
Without good sleep, we will make bad diet decision and no matter what we do in the gym.
If we’re not sleeping well then we aren’t going to be building muscle and burning fat.
Good sleep is essential, fundamental, vital, indispensable, necessary, and crucial for good health.
Good sleep cannot be ignored!
So let’s look into it and learn how to sleep well…
16. Understand the power of sleep
This is what good sleep does for you:
- It helps you burn more fat during the day
- It helps you stay awake, alert, and vigilant throughout the day
- It helps stay productive and creative
- It helps your body heal from sickness
Sleep helps you with every function in your day to day life.
Sleep even kills one of the most common problems modern people suffer from – brain fog.
People are having a hard time waking up because they aren’t sleeping well and this manifests as “brain fog.”
In reality, brain fog is often nothing but poor sleep.
The better your sleep is, the more you’re going to be alert and productive throughout the day.
15. Disconnect from the modern life as often as you can
Living the modern life will always leave us sleep deprived.
We’re always on the go, trying to make this deal happen and trying to make that deal happen.
We’re so busy we forget the most important thing in the universe is our health.
Our health starts and stops with good sleep.
It is important to take time away from the modern chaos and get back in tune with who we actually are. We are not virtual reality robots, we are living beings who belong in nature.
This is where we must frequently return in an effort to “ground” ourselves and not take city life too seriously.
We are all going to die, but the people who neglect their sleep are absolutely going to die much sooner than they should.
Sleeping in a cabin in the cool woods is one of the best things you can ever do for your health. Do it as often as you can.
14. Get a sleep mask
A sleep mask is great for when little beads of light shine through in your bedroom and keep you awake.
I am personally very sensitive to any light, I can even feel it on my body, so I use a sleep mask every single night and it makes a HUGE difference.
I use the 3D sleep mask.
I’ve tried many sleep masks over the years and this one is by far the best sleep mask I’ve ever used as it covers my entire eyes when I sleep and absolutely works to make everything black.
13. Make your bedroom completely dark
A sleep mask is great but it isn’t enough to get great sleep. You also need to black out your sleeping room.
Any bit of light shining though is enough to mess up your rhythm.
Remember, we only have lights at night because of electricity. Throughout most of our history, the only light we had at night was from the stars and the moon.
We are not meant to have lights at night, and even if we use a mask and cannot see the lights they are still affecting us.
Make sure your room is as pitch black as you can possibly make it.
Use blackout curtains if you have to. I know it’s expensive but how much is your health worth?
12. Make your bedroom completely cool
We sleep better when it’s cool to cold. Sleeping in the heat is terrible.
Insomnia has been linked directly to the body’s temperature rising to high levels when attempting to rest.
Heat can jolt one awake whereas a cooler surrounding will give comfort to the body allowing it to drift off peacefully.
Normalizing the body temp, by cooling it down, will lead to falling to sleep faster and staying asleep throughout the night. (source)
11. Get more vitamin D from sunlight
We are not made to live inside all day like cockroaches.
We are meant to be outside in the sun during the day.
In the modern life we stay inside and sit under fluorescent lights and watch screens that emit blue light keeping us awake.
We have to get away from the inside of our houses and offices and we have to spend time outside.
The sun is vital to the health. Vitamin D supplements will never replace the sun.
10. Avoid computer/phone screens when it’s dark outside
All screens should be OFF by 9:30 pm.
You have to let your body wind down at night.
The more you look at a screen the longer it’s going to take to calm you down.
The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm.
Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Most Americans admit to using electronics a few nights a week within an hour before bedtime.
But to make sure technology isn’t harming your slumber, give yourself at least 30 minutes of gadget-free transition time before hitting the hay.
Even better: Make your bedroom a technology-free zone—keep your electronics outside the room (that includes a TV!). (source)
9. Download and use f.lux when you use your computer at night, turn your phone to invert colors at night
Never look at a bright screen at night.
The blue LED light lights up your brain and tricks you into thinking it’s still daytime, thus decreasing your melatonin production.
[In a study …] volunteers exposed to an LED-backlit computer for five hours in the evening produced less melatonin, felt less tired, and performed better on tests of attention than those in front of a fluorescent-lit screen of the same size and brightness.
Similarly, for subjects in a 2013 study led by Mariana Figueiro of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, interacting with an iPad for just two hours in the evening was enough to prevent the typical nighttime rise of melatonin.
And in a two-week trial at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, published in 2014, volunteers who read on an iPad for four hours before bed reported feeling less sleepy, took an average of 10 minutes longer to fall asleep and slept less deeply compared with those who read paper books at night. (source)
At night, always use f.lux on your computer and always turn your phone to “night shift” or invert the colors on your phone.
F.lux is a free program that is designed to reduce your eye-strain at night.
I use f.lux 100% of the time to reduce the hideous blue light glare of the laptop screen.
Every night when it’s dark outside I use “darkroom” mode to change all the colors on my screen to just black and red.
8. Don’t drink any caffeine, especially not late in the day
Caffeine drunk later in the day can keep you awake at night.
It’s best to not drink any coffee at all while you learn to sleep properly but if you must drink coffee never drink it later in the day.
A good rule of thumb is never have coffee or caffeine after 4pm.
7. Try to get to bed by 10pm
In nature, the sun goes down and we go to sleep at around 9:30 pm.
Our modern world is artificially lit by artificial lights therefore we get tired later.
It has to be dark for us to get tired. Our world is not dark, therefore we have to exercise self-discipline and make ourselves get to bed at a decent time.
You should be winding down and preparing for sleep by 9:30 pm and in bed by 10 pm.
This is your guide for getting the best sleep possible so do not cry about going to bed early, it is good for you.
During the hours between 10 pm and 2 am your body releases the most growth hormones which heal and repair your body.
For bodybuilders this is the time when your gym work pays off and you actually rebuild muscle.
6. Don’t train after 5pm
Training later in the day can disrupt your circadian rhythm and cause you to stay awake later than you should.
In nature, we’re built to hunt in the morning and afternoon. At night we rest and relax.
To achieve the healthiest life we have to do what is most natural to us.
It is not natural to be lifting heavy weights or doing hard exercise in the evening.
Evening is for playtime with the misses, it’s not for lifting heavy weights.
NOTE: A night walk is fine and will help your body release toxins and make you tired earlier.
5. Turn off all gadgets and wifi in your bedroom
So many people make the big mistake of sleeping in a room with a running computer, modem, alarm clock, etc.
All of this electricity buzzing messing with your bodies internal system.
Turn off EVERYTHING in your bedroom at night.
Turn off your WiFi modem every single night.
EMFs from the gadgets in your room send out electrical signals that disrupt the communication of cells in your body.
If you have a smart meter in your home you should have it removed immediately.
4. Don’t drink alcohol or smoke reefer
Alcohol and marijuana seem like they make you fall asleep easier, and they do, but what they don’t do is give you better sleep.
Alcohol and marijuana give you significantly worse sleep.
With alcohol in your system, REM sleep is significantly disrupted.
How does alcohol influence or change your sleep? (source)
- Alters the quality of your sleep. Even if you sleep a full night after drinking, you may not feel rested in the morning. Alcohol lightens sleep and suppresses REM.
- Disrupts the total time you are asleep. You may wake up frequently throughout the night and have problems falling back asleep as the alcohol works through your system.
- Increases the prevalence of pre-existing sleep disorders. Millions of Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which can intensify after alcohol consumption. Sleep apnea is a breathing related sleep disorder, characterized by heavy snoring and abnormal pauses in breathing. Moderate to large amounts of alcohol consumed in the evening can lead to a substantial narrowing of the airway, increasing the frequency and duration of breath holding episodes.
Marijuana reduces REM sleep.
Though reefer supposedly helps you initially fall asleep, studies found that people who used marijuana every day were more likely to have insomnia.
3. Sleep in less clothing
Your body sleeps better when it is cool.
It is best to sleep in the east amount of clothes you can (while still remaining warm enough to sleep).
I personally sleep in nothing but a pair of shorts.
If the weather is very cold of course you’ll want to sleep in more clothing and especially socks if it’s truly cold.
On any normal night, sleep in less clothing and use the blankets to keep you warm.
2. Put a pillow between your knees
The best thing I ever did for my own sleep was to place a pillow between my knees.
It sounds simple but it makes a huge difference in your quality of sleep.
This tip is for side-sleepers, and if you snore at night you should consider sleeping on your side.
1. Wake up earlier
When you wake up earlier you go to sleep earlier.
Our natural rhythm is to wake up as the sun is coming up and go to sleep as it is going down.
If we wake up later then we mess up our natural rhythm.
To be healthy, it is important to be in harmony with nature.
We should not try to fight it, we should embrace it.
Nature says go to sleep when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light.
Don’t you think we should listen?
BONUS TIP. Throw away the alarm clock
It robs you of fulfilling sleep and the only thing it does is get you to the job you hate.
It is better to wake up when your body is fully rested, not when the “eek! eek! eek!” sound of the alarm clock wakes you up.
There is no worse way to wake up than to wake up to an alarm clock and there is no better way to wake up than to wake up naturally refreshed.
To wake up without an alarm clock, try to go to bed at the same time every single night.
This way your body will be on a routine and will have no need for an alarm clock.
When I go to sleep at 9:30 pm every night I wake up at 5:30 am like clockwork.
Even when it is still pitch black, I am able to wake up by 5:30 without an alarm clock just by going to sleep at the same time every night.
Originally published at boldanddetermined blog, and republished in 2020.