In part one of this article series, we gave you the basic knowledge about sleep, its importance and how bad quality sleep can impact your overall quality of life.
But what is it that you can actually do today, to make falling asleep easier and get the best quality sleep possible? In this article, we’re going to give you 4 power-tips to instantly start improving your sleep.
But first, let’s briefly go through the natural daily human cycle.
The Circadian Rhythm
Humans are typically active during the day and sleep at night.
Some people say that they are more awake and alert in the morning.
These are the so-called “morning people” and quite frankly, there aren’t many of them!
On the flipside though, you have the so-called “night owls” which tend to fall asleep later during the AM and are more active then.
The thing that governs this, is what we refer to as the “Circadian rhythm”, more commonly known as the biological clock of the human body.
This biological clock regulates the secretion of certain hormones that in turn regulate appetite, satiety, hormone production and have a significant impact on most bodily functions.
In terms of sleep though, here’s how this goes:
Upon waking up, sunlight goes through the eyes and signals the brain to produce serotonin.
Serotonin is the main daytime neurotransmitter that makes you feel awake, alert and aware of your environment.
Think of it this way - Sunlight basically signals the body it is time to secrete hormones that will make you feel awake.
As the day goes by and darkness falls, the reverse thing happens - The absence of light signals your body to secrete melatonin.
Melatonin is the nighttime neurotransmitter, which makes you feel drowsy and sleepy.
This of course is just one of the mechanisms that induce a drowsy state and it is linked to many other substances and hormones that regulate your sleep cycle.
The reason why this information is important for you, is that it basically tells you that your body is intricately connected and (supposed to be) tuned to the day-night cycle of the planet you live on.
The closer you get to that natural rhythm, the better your sleep will be.
Now let’s have a look at our 4 actionable tips to help you improve your sleep, starting - TODAY!
4 Steps To Master Your Biological Clock
We all know how exhausting it can be to have chronically bad sleep.
For this reason, let us suggest 5 actionable tips you can start doing today to improve your sleep!
Setup A Schedule
Make a bedtime schedule for yourself and go to bed at the same time every night.
Since most of us are on a repeating schedule, picking a moment when you’re tired is pretty easy! Once you setup your sleeping schedule, try to stick to it even on weekends.
In doing this however, you have to make sure that you are not making drastic changes to your sleep schedule.
This way, your body can adjust naturally and seamlessly.
For instance, if you are a late bird and go to bed at 4-5 am, start off by going to bed 1-2 hours earlier at around 3-4 am and slowly work your way towards midnight.
Try to set a wake time and wake up at the same time every morning, in addition to going to bed at the same time.
If you get enough sleep, you should be able to wake up automatically without the use of an alarm clock.
So, if you really need an alarm to get out of bed on time, you may want to try going to bed earlier.
To get the most out of your new sleep schedule, make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible - If necessary, purchase a new pad!
People's noise sensitivity varies, but there is one universal rule that states that the quieter your room is, the better your sleep will be.
This isn’t only valid for hearing, but for all your other senses as well - The lesser information in your sleeping environment, the easier and better you sleep.
So besides noise, consider switching off any TVs or monitors in your room; you'll need as much darkness and silence as possible to get the most out of your 6-8 hours of sleep.
Think of it this way - As you drift off to sleep, you get away from the conscious mind which perceives and interprets information from the environment, so make sure there is little to no such information!
Set Your Alarm Tone
As previously said, if you get enough sleep, you should be able to wake up naturally.
If you must have an alarm, try to avoid the excruciating, irritating alarm tones and instead choose a more relaxing melody.
This way, you will be on your own for the most part, when it comes to waking up and the alarm will be just a reminder.
The more you tune into your natural human sleep patterns, the easier waking up will become and you may even wake up before you have to snooze!
Watch Your Mouth!
One of the most underrated factors when it comes to sleep, is pre-bed nutrition.
In order to maximize the quality of your sleep, you must make sure that you are not consuming heavy meals around bedtime.
Your best bet would generally be to consume your last big meal within 2-3 hours before bed.
If you are hungry before sleep, rely on something light, that contains slow-digesting protein, such as milk, yoghurt, other dairy products or even a casein supplement.
This will allow your body to get some good night-time protein, while not being heavily engaged in digesting.
Think of it this way - Sleep is the time when the body ramps up the use of the nutrients you gave it during the day.
The human body is in an intimate connection with the Earth and its day-night cycles.
Your ultimate goal would be to synchronize with that cycle, while covering other aspects like nutrition and environment.
In doing all of the above, you are greatly increasing the chances of fighting off insomnia and getting the best out of your sleep.
And quite frankly, if you sleep for 30% of your 24 hrs available every day, that just HAS TO BE a good quality sleep.
A good night’s sleep will have an impact on your overall quality of life, so don’t ignore it!