It’s pretty obvious that sleep is more than necessary for overall health. We don’t need scientific evidence to show us the simple truth. Recall a time you missed your beauty sleep — how beautiful did you look the next morning? It’s okay, I’ve had my share of eye bags too.
For whatever reason, we have this tendency to resist things. We fight bedtimes rather than embrace them with nightly rituals — regardless that we all know a peaceful routine would improve the quality of our sleep and health.
It’s been shown that quality of sleep matters more than the amount of sleep you get, but what are the best ways to our sleep? Better yet, what are we doing that is destroying our sleep?
Here are the top 5 things we do that destroy our sleep:
- Sleep with too much light- Before electricity, iPhones, computers and alarms we were entertained and maintained by Mother Nature. Though technology has it’s benefits, they don’t belong in the bedroom. Light interferes with our hormones like melatonin, making us stressed out insomniacs.
- Resist having a bedtime- I find most adults relationship with sleep hilarious. As kids, we resisted naps because we were being forced to, not free too. Now, because were too busy too nap, we crave them. When we have to do things, we are not free to. However, take a look around, no one is stopping us from enjoying the sweet rewards of a peaceful nights sleep but our own minds.
- Keep stimulated- As much as you might love your energy jolt from a cup of Bulletproof Coffee, don’t drink it past 12 p.m. I hate to say this but…you might want to stop eating dark chocolate at the same time (you might get away with sugar-free dark chocolate). I know, it’s going to be okay, tomorrow is another day. Plus, they will be that much tastier when you’re energized and happily enjoying them — not purely because you’re exhausted. Let’s keep a healthy relationship with our true loves (coffee and chocolate) my friends.
- Stay up later than the Sun- I know this one just seems so much easier said than done. But I will be honest, your health will never reach peak if your sleep is skimped. Not only is all of our youth/repair hormones generated during deep sleep but it’s also what rejuvenates our immune system. Proper sleep is the difference between radiant health and disease. Don’t take my word for it, just miss 3-5 days of good sleep and see how fast you fall into a winding spiral of obsession and depression. I don’t suggest it, but for the doubters, be my guest.
- Think about the next day. Planning is essential for cultivating good luck. We are typically either planning to fail or planning to succeed. However, the time and place is not bedtime. This creates endless thinking that typically yields no actual helpful results considering your brain is functioning fragmentally because well…it’s bedtime and it’s trying to shut off. Save planning for the morning, when you’re brains actually working. You can do like me and create a “6 impossible things before breakfast” list, where you put down 6 things that if you did that day would produce 80% or more of your desired outcome and happiness. All fueled solely by Bulletproof coffee, before any solid food 😉
5 Free & Simple Sleep Hacks
Whether or not you currently have trouble sleeping, there are actually quite a bit you can easily do to improve your sleep. These are the most basic yet most critical activities that will help you improve both the quality and quantity of sleep so you can properly rejuvenate every night. Best of all, they cost nothing!
- First, make your room as dark as possible. Make your room pitch-black. Shut off everything that glows and cover your windows with dark curtains. If your bedroom doesn’t slightly creep you out then you’re doing it wrong. Get it darker than Prince’s soul when he wrote Purple Rain. This might not be the best decor advice but you’ll sleep like a baby and feel like one too. Insert the struggle of modern life — would you rather look healthy and feel vibrant or have just a fancy bedroom? If you’re creative enough you can have both! In short, make it as dark as you possibly can for the best sleep. Block all the light sources you can find. If you have an alarm clock that you need, cover it with black electrical tape while you sleep. Light is hormonal pollution. You’ll thank me later when you notice the difference in how deep you sleep!
- Create a bedtime ritual. Start winding down at least two hours before bed. Most importantly, give yourself permission to relax! The work never ends, let’s face and accept that — there will always be more. Now that we can own that, let’s start getting out of our heads and creating a life worth living. Design a bedtime routine that excites you as much as vacation does. One that starts about 2 hours before bed, filled with essential oils, love making, classical music, massages, candles, writing and good books. This is the time to start shutting off the lights. You’d be surprised what little odds and ends you can pick up for a ritual sacred for little to nothing. A bag of epsom salts and a bottle of lavender oil can be the difference of waking up looking like Jack Nicholson or Brad Pitt and all for the low-price of like $7.
- Third, coffee is not a sleep tonic – stop drinking it by 12:00 p.m. Caffeine ramps up cortisol and inhibits the release of melatonin. Cut the coffee by noon or at least 8 hours prior to bedtime. Perhaps even earlier if you’re sensitive to it, or completely if you’re adrenals are in bad shape.
- Go to bed by 10:00 p.m. The body creates an extra surge of cortisol after 11 p.m. to keep you awake if you push it past 10 pm. A good general rule of thumb is to make it to bed before 10 pm. This way you avoid the “wired and tired” syndrome. This is best for restoring our natural rhythms and keeping our immunity at peak. Not to mention, sleeping truly does make you beautiful!
- Don’t exercise within 2 hours of bedtime. Exercise also stimulates the rise of cortisol. Work out first thing in the morning after some Bulletproof coffee (do not work out to close to eating — it will shut off digestion). Plus, intermitten-fasted workouts release more youth hormone HGH. Working out first thing balances our hormones and promotes healthy sleep later on. If you must move at night, make it relaxing such as a gentle yoga, stretching, Tai Chi or Qi Gong.
- Consider taking supplements. This one ins’t free, unless you’re a bandit, but I don’t advocate it. I am not a huge supplement fan either; however, the right ones used supplementally can provide incredible assistance. The only ones I’d honestly recommend are CALM (Magnesium) grass-fed Collagen, Krill Oil, or Jing Herbs such as Peaceful Spirit — all of which improve sleep in different ways.
Honestly, I say this time and time again health is not about what you put in, it is about what we can comfortably and happily take out. This rings true for our sleep as well, it is less about what we do and more about what we don’t do.
These are sleep basics that are easy to implement immediately at zero cost (aside from number 6). Commit to these, save some major money — especially down the road by boosting your immunity — and you will ensure a great night’s sleep and even better next day.
Other Hacks for Amazing Sleep
You could very well stop at those 6 suggestions and be well off. The recommendations remove the silent killers of good sleep and prepare the body for quality sleep hours by lowering stress levels and promoting natural relaxation.
If you have this down pat, or are just interested in optimal solutions (like me!) then consider some of these sleep upgrades for some of the most incredible sleep of your life:
- Coconut Charcoal is an “upgraded” charcoal supplement by Bulletproof. Charcoal has been used medicinally by many indigenous cultures as a powerful detoxification aid. When your sleep cycle is disturbed, such as in jet lag. When your circadian rhythm is off, your gut bacteria can make more endotoxins that will slow you down the next day. It makes sense to bind them.
- Try Glutathione. This is one of the most powerful (if not thee most powerful) antioxidants our bodies use. Primarily, it helps your liver do its detox work at night. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is said that an overactive liver is a connected to insomnia. That is because the liver detoxifies the body at night around 12am-2am. If your liver is full of toxic crap then it’ll be working on overdrive during these hours — using up energy that could otherwise been used to sleep and restore.
- Here’s a new tip I picked up. Putting your phone on airplane mode to avoid EMFs which can disturb sleep. This is surprisingly effective! I also keep my phone and laptop strictly outside of my room in a separate office for this reason. Give it a try! If anything, it’ll keep you from checking the phone or thinking about Instagram likes every 10 minutes.
- Massages or Sleep Induction Mats- My personal favorite is a hand massage by a beautiful lady with raw organic cacao butter and Frank Ocean playing in the background. However, this is much more difficult to maintain than a Sleep Induction Mat. It looks like a big pillowcase crossed with a swedish sex toy, but it’s so much better than any of that. You lay on it before bed and the little prickles actually help you get to sleep fast and stay asleep. Not to mention it works like acupuncture, reducing muscular pain/stiffness. In general, it’s design to induce sleep and promote relaxation. It does this by hitting powerful acupressure points, which cause a surge of endorphins to release. It sounds whacky, but it’s freaking amazing and works.
Food and Sleep
Your brain uses a lot of energy while you’re sleeping for releasing rest and repair hormones. Not to mention a bunch of other things science doesn’t even know about. Sleep is still largely a scientific mystery.
However, we still know enough about it to know somethings that work and some that don’t. That being said, there is a powerful connection between what we eat and how we sleep. Our diet can either help or hurt it our sleep. It helps to fuel your body (especially the brain) so it has nourishment to heal the rest of the body.
Here are a few specific dietary guidelines that will optimize sleep even more:
- Consume omega-3’s before bed. A few ways to do this would be to eat low-mercury fish for dinner (such as wild-caught sardines, mackerel, halibut). You could also take a supplement like krill oil 2 hours before bedtime. Krill is the cleanest and most effective omega-3 supplement. Trust me, I’ve researched the it relentlessly. Or don’t, and research it yourself! The reason omega-3’s help is that they aid brain function. I’ve tried chia seed puddings with grass-fed collagen and egg yolks before bed and they’ve all helped with my sleep personally. Raw, easy-to-digest fats are great before bed because fat keeps your energy level stable for longer, and it takes energy to sleep efficiently. Otherwise, you go into a blood sugar drop in the middle of the night and the body switches back into survival mode.
- Eat 1 tbsp of raw honey and 1 tbsp coconut oil before bed on an empty stomach. Your brain uses liver glycogen at night, and raw honey replenishes this supply and can create stable glucose levels for hours. Not to mention raw honey improves bifidus bacteria in the gut, which populate during sleep and create neurotransmitters like serotonin. You can take it with MCT oil instead of coconut oil for even easier digestion, so your brain can burn glucose and fat while you sleep with minimal energy spent on digestion.
- Try Grass-fed Collagen before bed. This is perhaps one of my favorite’s because it has so many additional benefits; it improves skin dramatically, thickens hair, and repairs joint and muscle tissue! The best part about collagen is that because it’s a fluffy powder, you can blend it into something like avocado with some stevia and upgraded vanilla bean for a sweet sleepy bedtime tonic! Add some melatonin to the mix and i’ll see you on next weeks blog!
Here’s my pro-sleep tonic:
- 1 avocado
- 1 gram of krill oil
- 4 drops bio-fermented melatonin
- 1 Tbsp of Brain Octane
- 1-2 Tbsp of Collagen protein
- 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey
Blend everything in a Blendtec until a mousse consistency, enjoy, then pass out!
You may not want to take everything all at once the first time because you won’t know which worked best for you. These are just my personal favorites, all which personally have worked wonders on their own. It only made sense for me to make the super sleep bomb!
However, this is pricy of course and we each respond to things a little differently. Start off by first isolating them and try them out one by one. See what works then create your own personalized bedtime tonic.
I know this was a lot of information on sleep, but hopefully it helped you in some way. Start with the easiest things for you to implement and go from there.
Cheers to the best sleep of your life!