Lately I’ve been trying to work out how to sleep properly.
I don’t mean that I’ve been falling out of bed during the night, or waking up the wrong side up, but instead that I’ve been experimenting with when I go to sleep and how long I try to stay asleep. The results have been… frustrating and confusing to say the least.
I don’t really believe that there is some ideal amount of sleep that suits every man, woman and child on this earth. I’m sure there are people out there who are functioning perfectly on 6 hours, just like I’m sure there are people who visit struggle-town on anything less than 9. For me though? Want to know how much sleep I need?
Well beats me, because I sure as heck can’t seem to figure it out.
6 hours? Horrible.
7 hours? Terrible.
8 hours? Ghastly.
The other night, desperately trying to release a post for this very blog, I pushed myself out to 1am before my fingers refused to land where my bleary eyes were pointing them. I slumped into bed and whimpered when my phone told me my alarm was set to ruin my life in just over 5.5 hours. Long story short? I woke up instantly with my alarm that next morning, just like I did when I was younger. Instant consciousness.
I give up.
As luck would have it however, today on the drive home I randomly selected a podcast that happened to feature a gentleman named Shawn Stevenson. He is a professional nutritionist, specialising in biochemistry and kinesiology with a website and a top-ranked podcast. The interview was all about little changes you can make to improve the quality of your sleep!
I enjoyed the interview so much that I decided to take on board a few of his suggestions for ensuring a quality sleep. In the interest of recording these tips for my own benefit alongside the added advantage of sharing them with my readers – I decided to post these tips here! So please enjoy!
#1 The Coffee Curfew
Okay so this one is dead simple and I’ll keep it short and sweet as a result.
Everyone knows coffee before bed is a silly idea, and it is just common sense that it will likely give you a terrible night’s sleep if you do.
What most don’t know (or at least I didn’t know) is that the half-life of caffeine, namely the time it takes your body to process 50% of the amount you have consumed, is around 6-8 hours!
So how to tackle this?
Put a curfew on that coffee, no caffeine after 2pm!
That sounds easy enough right? Personally I drink coffee more out of boredom than any real desire for the caffeine so I think I might just drop it for good… we’ll see how long that lasts!
#2 The Deep Dark Sleep
This is a slightly less obvious method for improving the quality of your sleep (as proposed by the good Mr Stevenson): Sleep in the dark. Or perhaps more accurately, sleep in a room as close to pitch black as possible.
I’m not entirely sure that I understand the logic behind this tip (if our animalistic past had us sleeping outdoors then surely we’d be okay with moonlight?) but I still plan to see if having our rather thick blinds closed at night makes any difference to my quality of sleep – especially as we enter these warmer months of longer days.
#3 Wake Up And Move!
This one sounds a lot harder to enact but is one of those things that just sounds so obvious that it’s hard to ignore. Every morning when you wake up, attempt to get your blood flowing through some form of activity – be it a short core workout or a power walk around the block – and get your body revving for the day to come.
There was some physiological explanation for why this would also result in better sleep at the end of the day but honestly… do you really need to have scientific evidence in order to think this is a good idea?
So I’m going to aim for a quick, cheerful stroll in the morning (I have boxing in the evenings to get a real sweat going) and as spring and summer come into bloom I’ll have the added benefit of soaking up some delightful Vitamin D.
#4 The Most Important Meal Of The Day
Okay I don’t have the knowledge or the energy (yet) to argue about what you should be eating, if “Carb’s are the enemy” or whether eating like a dinosaur is a good thing – but this one is something I plan to experiment on.
Currently I eat what I think would be classed as a pretty healthy breakfast; natural Greek yogurt with toasted muesli (no added sugar and often without fruit) and occasionally a banana on top. It’s a tasty breakfast that fills me up in the morning but I find that I am starving by the time that 11am rolls around.
As a result I think I will also experiment with some different styles of breakfasts; ones that incorporate fruit, greens and fat.
I think I may just give this smoothie a go:
- Frozen Berries (fruit)
- Almond and Cashew Butter (fat and Vitamin-E)
Just a quick question… What the heck is almond and cashew butter?
Take care people! And sleep smart!