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  • Writer's pictureFunctional Lifestyles

6 Ways to Optimize Your sleep

We all know how it feels the morning after a great night's sleep. You're energized. You're rejuvenated. You're ready to take on the world. We also know what it feels like the morning after an inadequate night of sleep. Take a look at a few facts on sleep patterns amongst adults in the US.

  • 35.2% of all adults in the US report sleeping on average for less than the recommended 7 hours per night.

  • Almost 50% of all Americans report feeling sleepy during the day for approximately half the week.

  • Up to 30% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia.

  • Women run a lifetime risk of insomnia that is up to 40% higher than the risk men run.

These are just a few of the staggering facts about sleep in America. Yet, sleep is extremely detrimental to our health and recovery. So, what are some tools and tactics to improve your quality of sleep? Let's begin with understanding a little bit about the circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. Every single biological function in the human body runs on a 24 hour cycle. Our circadian rhythm is highly impacted by light - more importantly sunlight! When looking to optimize your circadian rhythm, one of the most effective tools we have is the sun. So #1: 1. Get exposure to sunlight early in the morning and try to watch the sunset. Getting yourself exposed to sunlight early in the morning automatically sets your internal clock. And without making this too romantic - watching the sunset is another powerful tool to let your body know it's time to wind down. 2. Avoid bluelight as much as possible, especially after the sunsets. The sun is a full spectrum of light and is healing to the body (in moderation). We're exposed to soooo much blue light now from screens and we're now seeing the evidence of why it's so harmful to us. Experts call it "junk light" - when your body is staring at screens all night it still thinks it's "light" outside. This is the easiest way to screw your circadian clock up and it has been shown to suppress melatonin release upwards of 50%!!! 3. Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses This has been a game changer for me! (Even though my girlfriend gets sad when I put them on) I wear BLUBLOX glasses and I wear their night +, which have a dark amber/orange tint. Wearing these as soon as the sunsets are ideal to mimic how our bodies are supposed to take in light. The advancements in technology are great but they do come with a big as* stack of side effects. 1000 years ago the only light after sunset was maybe a fire, moon and stars. No joke - as soon as I wear these Blublox bad boys, 15-30mins later I'm falling asleep. Highly Recommended! 4. Meal Timing One thing from tracking my sleep with Oura Ring and Whoop is that when I eat closer to bed, I trash my deep stages of sleep. Perfect example is devouring a huge meal right before bed. Your body then uses energy to digest the food you just gave it and what ends up happening is your deep stage of sleep (which is supposed to happen towards the beginning phases of sleep) gets ruined. So try having your last meal/drink 2-4 hours prior to bed. 5. Daily Activity Movement and/or exercise is a simple tool to allow your body to fall asleep at night. When your body is sedentary during the day and does not expend energy, it makes the process of falling asleep that much more difficult. But make sure you're not exercising too close to your bedtime, because this is a sympathetic response that requires enough time to wind back down. 6. Bedroom Environment The required environment for your bedroom may vary person to person but will be a game changer to keeping you asleep. - 1st - First set the temperature! High 60's seems to be the ideal temperature for the room, (but you can play around and test to find what is perfect for you) - 2nd - Light!! (It's a game changer - period). Too much light can hinder your sleep. Invest in some black-out curtains if you're surrounded by city lights.Your body is extremely sensitive and responsive to light! - 3rd- Sound sensitivity! I personally use ear plugs, because my damn AC unit is so loud! But you can also use sound machines or even sound blocking curtains. - 4th - You spend 30% of your life on a mattress - don't skimp out on your mattress! FInd something that works for you, most companies have trial periods, test them for 30 days at least. The usual recommendation is a "medium firm" mattress to accommodate side sleepers and back sleepers but try out what works best for you. Lastly remember your bedroom is for sleeping and stripping, nothing else. Take out tvs, stay off phones, laptops,etc. Allow your body to get used to the environment of sleep. This is the biggest impact on your health, energy and recovery! Let us know if you have any questions, or contact your coach for more custom planning for you :)

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