5 Habits That Ruin Your Sleep and How to Stop ThemSep 10, 2021
Have you had some restless nights lately? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Millions of people deal with sleep issues each year, and what makes it worse is that our current sleep environments have gotten less and less supportive of our natural sleep cycles as our world advances.
So, to understand why you're not getting adequate sleep, you have to first understand what is disturbing your sleep. This can be super easy to identify, but sometimes harder to fix since our daily habits are what make or break our day.
Let’s dive into the 5 habits that could be ruining your sleep and how to stop them.
HABIT #1 - You are exposed to blue light before bed
Blue light is the new villain in town when it comes to sleep, and health in general. Before we had artificial lights our sleep/wake cycles, also called our circadian rhythms, ran off of the sun.
Now the light from our phones, TV’s and computers have artificial blue light coming at us at all times of the day.
This is a problem because that blue light is the same blue light as the sun in the morning.
If you are someone who tends to look at your phone or watch TV before bed, without “protection”, like blue blocking glasses, then you are basically signalling to your brain to stay awake and suppress your sleep hormone called melatonin.
The Fix: Turn off all electronics an hour before bed or purchase blue light blocking glasses like RaOptics to help block 95% of the blue light coming from your devices.
HABIT #2 - You are not sleeping in a cold, dark tundra
Have you ever tried to find the cold side of the pillow? Or have you maybe covered your face when someone is watching TV and you are trying to sleep? Light and temperature are two huge regulators of your sleep cycles.
If you are not literally tripping over things when trying to find your bed at night, your room is not dark enough.
The ideal sleep environment is pitch black, to signal your pineal gland to secrete melatonin, and at a cold temperature, to help keep your core temperature low and in a rest and digest state. If you are not careful these two alone can massively disrupt your sleep.
The Fix: Try to keep your room from 60-68ºF at night to help keep your body in the rest and digest state while sleeping.
Waking up hot can be one of the biggest sleep disruptors. Another fix is blackout curtains and light stickers.
These you can both get cheaply on Amazon to ensure, especially if you live in a city, that no lights are keeping you up at night.
HABIT #3 - You aren’t timing your meals for sleep
Have you ever eaten a huge meal before bed and then felt your stomach rumbling for hours? This is because you are not leaving enough time for your body to digest your food before trying to fall asleep.
This can keep you up for a few reasons like having to get up to go to the bathroom or uncomfortable gas, but the most important reason is that you could have spikes in blood glucose and dips during your sleep.
This causes disruptions throughout the night and makes it harder to fall asleep.
The Fix - Try to eat all your last meal of the day 2-3 hours before bed time. If you eat closer to bed try to take a post meal walk for 10-15 minutes to help with digestion and lowering blood glucose.
HABIT #4 - You are going straight from your busy day to bed
Going straight from work, stressful conversations or exercising to bed is a recipe for disaster when it comes to sleep.
Your brain have four different levels of brain waves that it needs to go through to go to sleep. When you are working or having stressful conversations before bed you are in a beta brain wave state. To go to sleep you need to drop down into a delta, theta brain wave state which is also the state that you drop into with meditation or breathwork.
The Fix - Have a wind down routine. Even if it is 10 minutes. Make sure that you take time to turn off all devices and take a warm shower, read, journal, meditate and/or do some breathing exercises before bed.
This will help you to fall asleep faster and increase the hormones necessary for deep sleep.
HABIT #5 - You don’t get sun on your face in the morning
This is probably the most important habit to do for sleep, and it doesn’t even happen at night. When you wake up in the morning your body needs to get the signal to suppress melatonin secretion so you have the energy to go about your day, not continue sleeping.
The blue light from the morning sun is what facilitates this signalling process through something called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). When your SCN gets that blue light signal it then tells the pineal gland to suppress melatonin. Then 12-14 hours after this process happens your melatonin will start being secreted again.
This is why is it so important to get sun first thing when you wake up so you can limit drowsiness and also ensure that your melatonin is on the correct rhythm for night time secretion.
The Fix - Every morning before looking at any devices, go outside and put your face in the sun. If you live somewhere where there isn’t a lot of sun in the morning you can purchase ReTimer glasses that can help facilitate this circadian rhythm reset.
If you want to get coached on how to optimize your sleep easily every day, check out my Biohacking Sleep 101 Workbook. There you will find everything you need to know about mastering your sleep for more energy and improved overall health.
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