Written by: Craig Warrian
If you’ve been with us from the start on the EWYN Studios sleep journey, then welcome to the finale! If you missed part 1 or part 2, please feel free to pop over to those articles before you consume part 3. We’ll wait here for you… don’t worry, we’re in this together.
Parts 1 of this series focused on what sleep is. Part 2 focused on the damaging effects of not getting enough sleep. Today, we will be diving right into 15 effective sleep strategies that you can implement immediately to improve the quality of your slumber.
1. Know the importance of sleep
If you have gotten to this point in our 3 part series on sleep, I hope you have gained a little more appreciation for the importance of quality sleep. All of the below recommendations won’t be worth much if we don’t first put a priority on getting solid sleep each night. Whether you want to lose weight, stop feeling sluggish, avoid modern day disease or feel a little more refreshed each morning… giving sleep the attention and the importance in your daily routine is key.
2. Come to the Dark Side
Plain and simple, get your bedroom as dark as you can while sleeping.
If you have unnatural light coming into your bedroom from the outside, it’s time to invest in some blackout blinds. If it’s moonlight that’s coming in, you don’t need to black that out if it doesn’t bother you. Cover or block lights from fans, electronics, light switches etc. as best you can. Even a small amount of unnatural light can have an impact on your sleep quality.
3. Just chill dude
Body temperature and room temperature matter. Keep your room cool overnight.
Keeping cool goes for both the winter and summer months. In the summer, rather than just cranking the A/C up, try using a fan in the room (ceiling or floor standing) and remove thicker blankets. In the winter, crack the window a bit to let cool fresh air into the room.
Another method of keeping your body temperature at a cool comfortable level is taking a bath. Have a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime. The initial increase in body temperature from the bath is not what we’re after. It’s the natural cooling your body does after the bath that lines you up for success when timed right. This is also a way to relax going into your evening/bedtime routine.
4. Caffeine/Alcohol/Nicotine Curfew
Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol or nicotine within 4-6 hours before bed. Caffeine and Nicotine are stimulants and can impede the body’s ability to get to sleep naturally.
Many think alcohol is a great sleep aid. Yes, it can lower brain activity and allow you to fall asleep faster, but an unfortunate side effect is that alcohol consumption before bed can prevent you from getting into the deeper restorative levels of sleep. So avoid the “fermented grape” before bedtime.
5. Block the “Blue”
This might be the most impactful immediate change you can make to improve your sleep quality. TVs, tablets, laptops, phones etc. all kick out a blue spectrum of light which can trick your body. Being bombarded with blue light during the evening, sends incorrect signals to your body saying “it’s day time, keep producing day time hormones” (such as Cortisol). If your body is producing day time hormones, it is not able to effectively prepare for rest (such as producing Melatonin).
If you just can’t put the electronic buddies down, enable “Night Shift” on Apple iOS devices and “Night Mode” on Android devices to block some of the cooler blue spectrums of light.
Try blue light blocking glasses in the evenings when using screens/watching TV at night. There are lots of options out there now and they no longer look like the BluBlocker Infomercials from back in the 90’s.
6. Early bird gets the…better sleep
Get your day started early to help set you up for a good night’s sleep. By getting up early, you start syncing your body clock up with the rising and setting sun. This starts bringing what’s called our circadian rhythm into alignment with planet earth. Here’s the thing, we’re animals on this planet and we’ve evolved over millions of years with the ebbs and flows of mother earth. You’d think we’d be in sync with it by now, but alas we need to continue making these changes to do so.
7. Get more sunshine during the day
Get some sunshine during the day. Optimally, first thing in the morning get natural light on your face. This is a perfect time to get outside and go for a walk. More sunshine on our bodies during the day, once again helps align our circadian rhythm with the sun. As the sun rises, as do we. The sun sets… time for us to start calming things down and prepare for rest.
8. Get your sweat on, earlier in the day
Exercising early in the day has many benefits, but here we will focus mainly on those impacting sleep.
This is a great opportunity for fasted cardio first thing in the morning. Right after getting up, toss on a ball cap and your runners and get walking! Not only will this produce a great weight loss benefit, but you are getting the right hormones released and getting that valuable sunlight earlier in the day to set you up for a good night’s sleep later that evening.
NOTE: No workouts within 4 hours of going to bed. Going for a walk in the evening is okay, but anything too strenuous should be kept to earlier in the day. Evening strenuous workouts will actually hurt your sleep quality and prevent the “repair” you need to recover from that workout.
9. Consistency is key
As we briefly mentioned is part 2 of our series on sleep, try and keep a consistent bedtime and wake time. This goes for weekdays and weekends. Try to go to bed within about a 30 minute window (optimally before 10:30pm) each night and wake up at a consistent time. This will set your body into a good rhythm and improve your sleep quality over the long term.
10. Eat dinner early at least twice a week
One thing that can conflict with a good night’s sleep is digestion. How you ask? If you eat a large meal close to bed time, your body is busy trying to digest that large meal. It focuses much of its attention (in the way of blood flow) to your stomach and intestines. What it’s not doing is sending that blood flow to your brain which needs it for memory sorting, cleaning waste products etc.
Try and eat dinner early (at least 4 hours before bedtime) as many times as you can per week.
On the flip side, don’t go to bed crazy hungry either. If you’re not hungry before bed, it’s okay to fast until morning. If you are quite hungry after dinner have a small snack about 90 minutes before bed (preferably protein rich and avoid the processed carbohydrates, a hard boiled egg could work) so you don’t disrupt your sleep.
Magnesium is an anti-stress mineral. It is involved in over 400 chemical reactions within the human body and amazingly 70-80% of us are deficient in it. It helps relax tense muscles, improve blood pressure and calm the nervous system along with countless other benefits. Since magnesium has so many uses in our body, it tends to get depleted quickly. Supplementing with Magnesium is a way to help your body deal with the Magnesium demands and get a good night’s sleep.
12. Make your room a little less “Social”
Get your social media devices (phones, tablets, laptops etc.) out of your bedroom! Did you know that device you have in your hands upwards of 8 hours a day called your cell phone emits these lovely signals called EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields)? Unfortunately these EMFs have been confirmed to impact the communication between cells in our body. Things such as hormonal problems and even cancer are associated with prolonged EMF exposure. Those aren’t the only concerns. EMFs can impact your sleep. Charge your cell and tablets overnight in another room, or at least put it on airplane mode, so it is not constantly sending and receiving during sleeping hours.
The Wifi in your home is also emitting EMFs. Most home internet routers today, allow you to turn on a “schedule” to turn off your Wifi at certain parts of the day (either to keep Billy away from Fortnite, or to eliminate EMFs while you sleep.)
13. Make your bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary
Only use your bedroom for sleeping and perhaps that “other” thing you might do in a bedroom (*wink, wink*).
Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. By adopting many of the points above, turning your room into a place of rest and relaxation is optimal. Try not to make your room a place of stress or action by making it your COVID work from home space and the local home theatre drive-in.
If your bedroom only represents a place of calm and relaxation, then as you enter it in the evenings, your brain will make a connection that it is time to start winding down.
14. Create a bedtime routine and stick with it
It’s important to give your brain cues that it is time for sleep. Put on comfy PJs, read a book, dim the lights, listen to relaxing music or sounds etc. Do this consistently before bed and your body will start to recognize these signs and will reward you by falling asleep faster and giving you a deeper more restful night’s sleep.
You probably thought we may have missed supplementation. No, no… but I recommend adopting some lifestyle changes first and stick with them. Sometimes, we need a little extra assistance and that is where supplements come in.
As mentioned above, Magnesium is the most deficient mineral in an adult body. EWYN’s “PM/BM Magnesium” powder is something that you can take before bed, to help you relax, improve your sleep quality and replenish this valuable mineral.
Chamomile is another supplement that you can try before bed in a tea or give EWYN Studios’ “Sleep Slimmer” a try. Sleep Slimmer has many key sleep aid ingredients (Chamomile, Gaba, Valerian and more) to help you relax, fall asleep quicker and dip into those deeper restorative levels of sleep.
Working towards better quality sleep is a journey. Adopting all or some of the above mentioned sleep strategies are going to have a different impact on different people over different periods of time. First and foremost, you need to make sleep a priority in your life. The rest is tweaking things, trying new tactics and letting nature take its course. Enjoy the journey to a lifetime of better sleep. Please work with your EWYN Studios health coaches to discuss and game-plan your sleep improvement strategy today.
Happy Sleeping Everyone.
- Book: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stephenson