So the first thing you want to start to do if you’re having issues either getting or staying asleep, is you want to start to get on a consistent schedule. Bedtime, and especially wake time. Now, this is really hard and a lot of people will misunderstand this and miss this step, but it’s so critical. Our bodies love routine. So getting on a schedule where you’re going to bed at the same time and you’re waking up at the same time is super, super important to re-regulate your body’s natural body or circadian rhythm. Now, this does take some discipline. What you can do to make it a little bit easier is setting alarm, not only just to get up, but also to get in bed. It’s very common for us to set an alarm to wake up, but a lot of people don’t think about setting an alarm to actually remind them to shut down Netflix, turn off the computer and literally get themselves in bed. Consistency is key here.
The second thing you want to do is create a sleep sanctuary. Now, sleep sanctuary is cold, between 65 and 70 degrees or 68 degrees. It’s dark, maybe with blackout shades or you can wear an eye mask. It’s quiet. Maybe you have a noise-canceling machine or a white noise machine, or wear earplugs. It’s cold, dark and quiet. It’s also clean. It’s clear of clutter. You have fresh bedsheets, you have fresh pillow cases, you have a comfortable mattress and comfortable pillows. That is a sleep sanctuary. Your sleep environment is really critical to how much REM and deep sleep you get. So you might be sleeping, you think you might be sleeping pretty good, but if you’re waking up not refreshed, chances are you’re not getting into those deeper stages of sleep, the REM sleep and the deep sleep, which is probably linked to your sleep environment.
Now, the next thing you want to focus on is what I call a PM ritual. Now, this is critical, creating a ritual around getting yourself into a state to be able to fall asleep. Now, what does that mean? That means doing something relaxing. It could be reading, it could be taking a shower, it could be stretching, it could be meditating, it could be making love to your partner, something that’s going to relax you. You want to do it consistently and you want to want to create a ritual around it. Something that you do every night. Maybe you make some tea, you take a hot shower, you do some stretching and then you get in the bed. Something that allows the space between your day and the bedroom and your bed really, really, really important.
Another thing you want to watch out for is getting enough sun. Now, a lot of times, depending on where you live, this might be challenging and depending on your schedule, it also might be challenging, but getting about 15 minutes. Studies show that getting about 15 minutes of sunlight first thing in the morning is really critical to keep your body consistent, to keep your circadian rhythm, that clock, balanced. Now again, if you live up north where it’s… I’m down here in South Florida, so we get the sun a little bit longer, but if you live up somewhere where it’s dark and you’re waking up and you’re having to go to work and then you’re coming home from work and it’s dark, you want to consider maybe investing in some sort of natural light therapy. There’s light boxes. They make these cool little glasses that you could wear that give you light stimulation. But our bodies are designed to see the light, and we need that. Ideally, it’s from the sun, but that’s really, really important to keep your circadian clock balanced and in sync, is getting that sun first thing in the morning.
Now, a few things to avoid, stimulants. This is a big one. You might not realize that you are consuming a lot of caffeine in the form of soda or coffee or energy drinks or literally… Or always getting stimulated from the food we eat, the drinks that are available. So cutting back on the amount of stimulants that you have in your diet, specifically caffeine, will make a world of difference for sleep quality. Alcohol, it’s another big one. A lot of people use alcohol as a sleep aid, and to be honest, alcohol will make you feel tired, but it disturbs quality of sleep. So you wake up and maybe you’re not as rested, because you’re not getting into those deeper levels of REM and deep sleep, because alcohol disrupts that.
Another thing you want to avoid is eating late at night. Now, this is very common, and I’ve done a lot of tests with my patients and my clients and with myself. Eating too close to bedtime destroys the quality of your sleep. Why is that? Because it takes a lot of energy to digest food, and during the night, that energy is supposed to be used to repair our cells, to re-boost our immune system. So if you have a bunch of food in your stomach, all that energy is getting diverted to digest the food that you consumed and it disrupts your circadian rhythm, it doesn’t allow you to get into the deeper levels of sleep and then you wake up not feeling restored, not feeling rested.
If you’re taking naps, napping after 3:00 PM can disrupt your circadian rhythm. I’m a big fan of naps, but if you have challenges with your sleep, you want to avoid naps, because naps reduce what’s called sleep pressure. So there’s this neurochemical that builds up in our brain called adenosine throughout the day, it builds sleep pressure, and when we nap, we release a little bit of that pressure. So again, for somebody who doesn’t have challenges with sleep, which probably isn’t you, because you’re watching this video, naps are great. A 20-minute nap can restore you, make you feel energized and refreshed. But for people that have issues with sleep, napping it’s not a good idea, especially after 3:00 PM.
The last thing I want to share with you guys is really, it’s around practicing calm. Now, the number one reason why most people experience sleepless nights is stress and anxiety, which then can become stress and anxiety about sleep, which is insomnia. But having a way to master stress, not just manage it, master it, which is when you understand it and you’re consistently applying a technique or using tools to release stress, is so critical. We live in a very stressful time. We live in a stressful world. Stress isn’t going away, so we got to learn better ways of mastering our stress. Now, I have a lot of videos on my channel with a lot of different techniques and tools for how to do that, so I’m not going to get into the specifics of how to do that in this video, but if you’re interested in that, again, just look at my channel for stress mastery techniques. There’s going to be a ton of videos with a lot of different tools and techniques that you can implement, to help you create more of a sense of calm, because at the end of the day, that’s what really allows us to naturally fall asleep, is having that sense of calm at night, which allows our body to naturally do what it’s designed to do, which is sleep.
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