In Part 1 of this article, we talked in-depth about how important sleep is when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. Now that we know why sleep is important, we’re going to talk about how to create your best nights sleep ever.
You can condition your body to do almost anything. Intermittent fasting can keep you from feeling hungry, mobility work can help correct posture, and creating a nighttime ritual can help you fall asleep easier.
Here’s how to create a regular schedule conducive to the best nights sleep possible:
Just as important as your schedule is your sleep environment. Keeping your room as dark as possible will help maximize melatonin production. Light has the opposite effect on melatonin, so doing things like dimming your alarm clock, shutting your blinds or getting blackout curtains, and turning off your phone ensure you’re exposed to as little light as possible while trying to fall asleep.
You also need to make sure you’re comfortable. Most people sleep the best in a cooler or neutral temperature room. Some prefer it dead quiet, while others like a little noise, such as a white noise machine or fan.
Controlling your environment also means having a mattress, blanket and pillows that are comfortable for you. This is one area where you should spend the money if you have it. We spend a third of our lives in bed after all.
Lastly, how you wake up also affects your sleep. Waking up as naturally as possible is key. The best way to do this is to use the body’s circadian rhythms to tell you when to wake.
As you sleep, you go through cycles of deeper sleep and lighter sleep. But as the night goes on, your sleep gradually gets lighter and lighter, culminating with your lightest sleep in the mornings as the sun comes up.
Techniques such as using an alarm that gradually gets louder and louder will help making waking up much easier that one that starts blaring as soon as it goes off. Another tip is to use an alarm clock that gradually emits more and more light, helping the body stop melatonin production.
One trick I like to use is setting my alarm, and then putting it on the other side of the room so I need to physically get out of bed to turn it off. Movement helps make waking up much easier, and once you’re up, you are less likely to go back to bed.
Sadly we live in a society that places less and less emphasis on sleep, as we try to squeeze more hours out of the day in the name of productivity or whatever else we think is more important.
But the reality however, is that sleep is more important. As I’ve laid out in the last two articles, sleep governs our ability to function on pretty much all levels. So instead of sacrificing sleep to squeeze more hours out of the day, try squeezing more out of your hours. If you’re getting a quality night’s sleep each night, you’d be surprised just how much more productive you can be.