Devin Burke, professional sleep coach and founder of Sleep Science Academy, offers some simple steps to improve the quality of your sleep in this video.
First, let me make this distinction.
I’m not talking about the quantity or the lack of sleep but instead the quality of the sleep you are already getting. This distinction is important because people can often become confused.
You may have insomnia and say you are following all the steps like sleep hygiene, information from the Internet regarding sleep, and guidance from some of my videos like this one when seeking insomnia remedies. Yet, you are still unable to achieve quality sleep.
You failed to reach your goal because you are doing things to help your sleep quality but not necessarily addressing your issue, which is insomnia.
But how can you maximize the hours you spend in bed?
Two things control our sleep, temperature and light. Numerous scientific studies indicate that a cool room optimizes sleep quality, specifically the critical stage of Delta Deep Sleep, which occurs in the first quarter of the night.
Here are some ways to establish cold as a part of your lifestyle.
You could practice cold exposure by taking a cold shower or acquiring a temperature-regulating mattress, a chilling pad, or a bed jet, as a few examples.
Alternatively, you could take a hot shower before turning in because your body temperature needs to drop two or 3° to induce sleep. You can employ many strategies, and it can be as simple as turning down your thermostat to 68° (the optimal sleeping temperature) an hour before you go to bed.
These strategies allow the body to reach the deeper stages of rest, which help your body work as it should, repairing and recovering in the deep stages of sleep.
Darkness is essential to sleep. Ensure that your room is dark by installing blinds or blackout shades. You can opt for an eye mask. I am particularly fond of the Manta mask and keep one in my travel and work bag. This mask is an excellent product from a great company, but you could also just get an eye mask.
Eye masking can be necessary because as light enters your eyes, it creates a cascade of hormone responses. Ideally, we want our environment to be like a dark and cold cave.
You should remove any lights, electronics, and other light sources from your sleeping quarters. Many people know this and understand the importance of light regarding sleep, but they need to follow through on this knowledge. Still, darkness does make a difference when discussing sleep quality.
If you care about the quality of your sleep and want to get better or deeper sleep, ensure that your bedroom is dark.
A quiet sleep environment is essential because noises, alarms, sounds of animals outside, or any noises you can hear create a sense of tension. This tension is a form of stress which the brain equates to a life-threatening danger or something similar. This dynamic tension will disturb your sleep and prevent you from achieving deep restorative sleep.
For city-dwellers, traffic noises, sirens, and other nighttime activities can significantly challenge a peaceful environment. For those situations, a white noise machine or some soft music can create an environment that otherwise might be filled with the harsher sounds of the city that can keep you awake.
Ideally, you can have an entirely silent room to fall asleep faster. Unfortunately, silence can be hard to come by today, so we must be very intentional when creating a quiet environment. You could employ noise-deadening objects in your bedroom, like wallcoverings, plants, and other items that absorb sound.
The quieter your bedroom, the better your sleep quality.
It can be easy to ignore this one, and if I’m honest, I sometimes have difficulty following this critical advice; no food three hours before bed.
Why is this important?
Because we don’t want our bodies to digest food when trying to digest cancer cells, which is one of the functions of getting high-quality sleep, we don’t want our energy being diverted to the stomach to digest the hamburger you just ate.
People will say, “I need to have a full stomach in order to sleep.” This sentiment is not valid. You can train yourself just as you would in a gym or for a marathon. You can prepare yourself to go to bed on an empty stomach which is the optimal way to create the best sleep quality.
It’s not only about what you eat but when you eat when speaking about quality deep sleep. If you want higher quality sleep, implement the three-hour rule of fasting before bed to achieve quality sleep, deep, REM sleep.
Stress is the most significant thing that most people overlook. I love talking about stress because it’s very subtle and tricky for people. The key to dealing with stress is understanding how your body holds onto stress and how to release those patterns throughout the day.
This understanding can make a massive difference between getting a great night of quality sleep or having a fitful night of poor sleep. Comprehending and adopting a stress blueprint, how you think about stress, handle it, and mitigate stress throughout the day, both physically and mentally, is crucial.
Not all stress is bad, and we need stress as it can help move us forward in our lives. But when we don’t release that pressure, we take it into the night, where it gets in the way of quality sleep. We will wake up foggy and fatigued, a bit groggy, and experience more stress throughout the day because we cannot fully show up and make good decisions.
I am a huge believer in mindfulness practices, 10 to 20 minutes each day, or breathing exercises, which are powerful in the moment for changing the body’s chemistry to a rest and adjust process.
Getting outside and into nature, petting a puppy, or hugging your partner are some of the many ways to release stress throughout the day. But you must be intentional about what you do.
So, there you have it, five simple strategies and easy steps you can take to increase the quality of your sleep. It’s not rocket science. Perhaps you already know these things, but you’re not putting them to work.
Pick one or two of the steps and see how they improve the quality of your sleep. And, if you are not tracking your sleep, I highly encourage you to do so to determine how these five simple steps make a difference in the quality of your sleep.
You can learn even more strategies, techniques, and hacks for overcoming insomnia and other sleep challenges through Sleep Science Academy’s extraordinarily successful Dynamic Sleep Recalibration (DSR) program.
We assign each client their certified sleep coach to help support and guide them through each step as they gain the skills, tools, and knowledge necessary to overcome any sleep challenges for a lifetime of peaceful sleep.
This uniquely empowering program incorporates proven methods and techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), mindfulness, and many more. Our all-of-the-above approach allows your coach to craft strategies and create a plan specific to your needs.
Why wait? There’s no time like today.