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13 Ways to Start Sleeping Better Tonight
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13 Ways to Start Sleeping Better Tonight

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Much of the traditional sleep advice doesn't work. Getting a good night's sleep comes from understanding how the body signals it's ready for sleep and helping create an environment that is conducive …

Much of the traditional sleep advice doesn't work. Getting a good night's sleep comes from understanding how the body signals it's ready for sleep and helping create an environment that is conducive to good sleep.

Learn 13 scientifically-proven sleep techniques that you can start using tonight.

Published in: Health & Medicine

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  • 1. Ways to Start by Jen Waak / Keyboard Athletes 13 TONIGHT Sleeping Better
  • 2. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” A Bad Idea
  • 3. How Lack of Sleep Affects Us Memory • Learning • Productivity • Creativity • Weight • Mood • Energy • Chronic Disease • Life Expectancy
  • 4. Cortisol/Melatonin Relationship Cortisol • Stress hormone • Wake hormone ! Melatonin • Sleep hormone These two hormones largely drive our ability to sleep. Establishing the proper rhythm is critical for good sleep duration and high sleep quality.
  • 5. 3 Paths to Managing Hormones Pre-bed Rituals Lighting, electronics, food, alcohol, core body temp, supplements In the Room Dark room, cool room, relaxation Lifestyle Change Exercise, schedule
  • 6. Habit #1: Create a Ritual • The brain is predictive • Rituals provide habit and comfort • Poor sleep habits (sleep hygiene) lead to poor sleep “Rituals enhance the enjoyment of consumption because of the greater involvement in the experience that they prompt.” Rituals Enhance Consumption, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

  • 7. ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002 “Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.”
  • 8. Habit #2: Dim Lighting • Normal room light can still disrupt sleep • Amber glasses block blue light from electronics • Amber glasses simulate physiologic darkness • Buy Amber glasses from Uvex or Solar Shield “The amber lens group experienced significant improvement in sleep quality relative to the control group and a more positive affect. Mood also improved significantly relative to controls.” Chronobiol Int. 2009 Dec;26(8):1602-12.

  • 9. Habit #3: No Electronics I know you won’t actually give up your devices so... • Reduce mental and visual stimulus • F.lux (computers, tablets, smartphones) • Amber goggles “Melatonin suppressions after 1-h and 2-h exposures to tablets viewed with the blue light were significantly greater than zero.” Applied Ergonomics 2013 Mar;44(2):237-40.

  • 10. Habit #4: No Caffeine or Alcohol • Alcohol - limit to one drink • Avoid caffeine - half-life is 6 hours “Low doses of alcohol may partially improve sleep, but there are reductions in slow wave activity, and disturbances in REM sleep are likely above 0.32 g/kg.” Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1980 Jun;48(6):706-9.

  • 11. Habit #5: Warm or Hot Bath • We should have lower body temps in the evening • Hot bath will cause your body temp to rapidly drop when getting out “The core body temperature measure of insomniacs was significantly higher than good sleepers.” Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006 Apr;290(4):R1115-21.

  • 12. ~Thomas Dekker “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”
  • 13. Habit #6: Dark Room • Blackout or heavy curtains • Put anything with a digital readout where you can’t see it • The effect of light is cumulative - the more light, the harder it is to sleep Nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the major hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls sleep and wake cycles.
  • 14. Habit #7: Cool Room • Ideal ambient temp: 60-67 • Temp disagreement with a partner? Try cooling products like: • Wicking sheets & pillows: Sheex • Cool Gelmat / ChillGel / Chilipad “The thermal environment is one of the most important factors that can affect human sleep.” Journal of Physiological Anthropology 2012, 31:14 

  • 15. Habit #8: Relaxation Exercises It’s all about stress management! • Head-to-toe muscle relaxation • Unclench your jaw • Relax the shoulders “Both the biofeedback and progressive relaxation groups decreased their sleep-onset times and several physiological measures relative to the control group.” Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, Vol 1, No. 3, 1976
  • 16. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald “The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to.”
  • 17. Habit #9: Focus Elsewhere By counting or focusing on breathing, your brain can’t think about other things. • Count sheep • Focused breathing • Meditation “Increased practice of mindfulness techniques is associated with improved sleep.” The Journal of Science and Healing, Volume 3, Issue 6 , Pages 585-591, November 2007 
  • 18. Habit #10: Exercise • Moderate intensity exercise program • 150 minutes per week • Takes 10-16 weeks to see results “Compared with controls, subjects in the exercise training condition showed significant improvement in the [Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index] global sleep score at 16 weeks, as well as in the sleep parameters of rated sleep quality, sleep onset latency, and sleep duration.” JAMA. 1997 Jan 1;277(1):32-7.

  • 19. Habit #11: Schedule • The body and brain thrive on prediction • Keep a consistent schedule • Don’t sleep in on the weekend • Work with your body’s natural rhythms – early birds and night owls welcome! “Synchronization of the sleep wake schedule and the internal clock is essential to an individual's ability to maintain sleep and wakefulness when desired. ” Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
  • 20. ~Carrie Snow “No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.”
  • 21. Habit #12: Nap Early Naps rule! • 10-20 minute power nap • 60 minute brain booster • 90 minute creative boost • Napping after 4pm has been shown to disrupt evening sleep “Midday napping in apparently healthy individuals is inversely associated with coronary mortality.” Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(3):296-301. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.3.296.
  • 22. Habit #13: Skip the Drugs • Melatonin supplementation hasn’t been proven to work as a sleep aid. • Magnesium is only beneficial if you are already magnesium-deficient. • Prescription sleep aids are often addictive. “When scientists conduct tests to compare melatonin as a ‘sleeping pill’ to a placebo (sugar pill) most studies show no benefit of melatonin.” National Sleep Foundation.
  • 23. Want more like this? Get the Time & Energy Action Guide as an instant download! Sign Me Up! About the Author Jen is the founder of Keyboard Athletes and a human performance coach whose passion is helping people reclaim lost time and energy to perform at the top of their game and do what they love. She is a Results Certified Coach, Z-Health Master Practitioner, and Precision Nutrition coach with over two decades of experience as a coach, consultant, and mentor. Author of the Keyboard Athletes Guide to Pain Relief & Prevention, Jen lives, works, and trains in Seattle, WA.