Americans aren’t getting enough sleep.
It’s become such a large problem that, in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started calling it an epidemic.
Most adults need to sleep seven to nine hours a night, according to The National Sleep Foundation. (The National Institutes of Health often cites seven to eight.) And 37% of Americans are sleeping fewer than seven hours on work nights.
There are many people who do get enough sleep but still have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
The thing is, you can get eight hours of sleep at night and feel tired throughout the day.
That’s because it’s not just about how much sleep you get. It’s also about the quality of your sleep.
As we begin to enter the warmer months of the year, we tend to stay up later because it stays light out longer.
Even if you’re not staying up later than normal, you are usually performing more activity later into the evening in the summer months.
This can make it difficult for the brain and body to relax, resulting in less quality and total amount of sleep.
This is why I would like to share with you five easy ways you can use to improve your sleep in these so-called “lazy days of summer.”
1. Eliminate caffeine within 6 hours of sleep
It’s not earth-shattering advice, by any means, to avoid caffeine if you want fall asleep and avoid being up all night.
But most people highly underestimate the true power caffeine has on the body.
In healthy adults, caffeine affects the nervous system for five to six hours on average. Even if you don’t physically feel the awakening buzz you normally associate with caffeine, your body still does. And this will inhibit you from falling asleep and staying asleep.
2. Develop a regular sleep schedule
Your body has a natural circadian rhythm that dictates the optimal time your body needs to spend awake and asleep.
When we are constantly going to sleep and rising at different times, it causes chaos on this circadian rhythm. This can leave you feeling groggy and tired.
As an example, look at your weekend. When the weekends come around, most of us tend to stay up later and sleep in more.
Our bodies do not like this cycle disruption.
This is why you may wake up groggy on the weekends and exhausted on Monday morning. It’s very important for your body that you stick to the routine of when you go to bed and wake up.
3. Limit electronic-device use two hours prior to sleep
When the sun goes down, your body naturally begins to produce a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for telling the body that it’s time to sleep, and it keeps us asleep throughout the night.
However, a certain wavelength of light known as “blue” light suppresses melatonin. Blue light is the type of light typically emitted by devices such as televisions, computer screens and cell phones.
So when the sun goes down at night and you’re still watching TV and/or sitting in front of your computer, you’re actually setting yourself up for a less-than-optimal night of sleep.
I understand completely that the idea of eliminating electronics when the sun goes down is close to impossible for most people and their families in the age we live in. But limiting these technologies for an hour or two before bed can have profound implications on the quality of your sleep.
4. Cold Showers
Your body temperature is a key factor getting a good night’s sleep.
If like you’re like many Americans, you take a shower before bed. When we take a warm shower close to bed, we raise our body temperature, which naturally falls around 10 p.m.
You simply can’t get to sleep as easily if your body temperature is too warm.
One study by researchers in Lille, a city in northeastern France, found that “subjects fell asleep faster and had a better overall quality of sleep following behaviors that cooled the body, such as taking a cold shower right before bed.” [Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep]
Not only do cold showers help you get to sleep and stay asleep, they also provide many other incredible health benefits including:
• Fat Loss
• Improved Circulation
• Healthy Skin and Hair
• Increased Testosterone
• Better Fertility
• Decreased Inflammation in the body
So you can take a cold shower before bed to help induce a nice slumber.
5. Sleep with your phone on airplane mode
I, like many Americans, use my cell phone as an alarm to wake up in the morning. But the mistake many of us make is not turning on airplane mode on our phone, leaving the wireless signal still active.
This wireless signal gives off an electromagnetic field, also known as EMF.
EMF cripples mitochondria, which are the power plants of every cell in the body, and promotes oxidative damage. In addition, it heightens brain activity function from a beyond-alert state to a more-stressful beta state, making it nearly impossible to achieve adequate delta-rhythm sleep.
Delta-rhythm is our deepest phase of sleep. That’s when the brain, heart, respiration and organ systems slow down to a sufficient extent to where there is excess ATP (the body’s universal energy) available to pool inside the cells and re-energize the body.
This pooled energy, upon reaching its threshold, “triggers” physiological and neurological repair, hormone synthesis, immune function and memory consolidation. Insufficient ATP pooling equals insufficient nighttime repair, hormone production, memory consolidation and immune function.
So not only does EMF exposure not allow us to reach our deepest phase of sleep, but it can also negatively affect many other bodily functions.
All five of these simple ways to improve your sleep can be used right away, without hardly any hassle at all. They are simple, but highly effective and can lead to a more efficient and optimally performing you.
I would love for you to try one of these or all of them yourself and let me know by sending us your feedback.
Happy and Healthy Investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily