What if I told you the most important thing you could do for your health doesn’t involve going to the gym or eating vegetables?
That’s right– you don’t have to give up your favorite desserts, eat a steady diet of brussels sprouts, or drink a gallon of water a day.
You just have to lay down and go to sleep. More.
In a previous video, I talked about how Americans are chronically tired. We simply don’t get enough sleep to support the demands of our bodies and minds.
We now have overwhelming evidence that more sleep leads to:
- Improved mood
- Healthier heart
- Regulated blood sugar
- Improved Mental function
- Restored immune system
- Stress relief
- Athletic performance
- Healthy weight maintenance
How can you get better sleep? What can you do starting tonight?
Here are a few easy steps:
Make your bedroom dark
Putting up some cheap blackout curtains or shades to ensure that sunlight doesn’t get in is a quick and easy way to get better sleep. Our circadian rhythm uses light as one indicator of if we need to be asleep or awake. Keeping the bedroom dark helps our brain know “this is time to be asleep”. Be sure that you eliminate any lights coming from electronic devices, too. I have used black duct tape over many lights and LED indicators on our air purifier, internet router, wall plugs, and other light-emitting things.
Keep your phone out of your bedroom
Move your charger into your bathroom or right outside your room. You can turn your ringer on in case of an emergency, but all that phone sitting next to your pillow is doing is increasing your anxiety. Plus, the blue light put off by the phone screen tells your brain to stay awake longer. Sitting on your phone to fall asleep is most likely causing you to get LESS sleep.
Get your bedroom COLD
The ideal sleeping temperature for a room is between 60 and 67 degrees F. Ideally, the relative humidity is also between 45 and 50 percent, too. A bedroom that is too hot can cause restlessness and discomfort. It can also impede your body’s ability to regulate its temperature. During REM, your body stops temperature regulation, so if it is too warm, you will spend less time in this important restorative sleep stage.
Exercise during the day
Moderate to intense exercise during the day will improve your ability to fall asleep AND to stay asleep. It makes sense, but being physically exhausted helps your body be…tired. In fact, before I started at Lakeland Health and Fitness, I had chronic insomnia. I tried giving up caffeine (not fun), taking sleeping medicines, and all kinds of other things. None of them worked until I tried exercise.
How do you know if you’ve gotten a good night of sleep? I use a whoop band, which is used by pro and amateur athletes alike all over the planet. It has hospital grade sensors that tell you how recovered you are each morning.
Sleep well tonight, friends! Make it cold, make it dark, and get those Z’s!