Recently, I had a couple of nights of poor sleep. That’s when I remind myself what I can actually do about it. Let me share!
As a “Vata” person (#Ayurveda #dosha ) I have a light physique, have fast mental activity and naturally have a light sleep. What body type are you?
Basically, my sleep quality comes down to balancing lifestyle, habits and daily choices. When I have something on my chest that I didn’t talk about, it might bug me all night. Scientists (#hubermanlab) explain, why talking changes the whole chemistry in the emotional/mental body, it’s really incredible! Obviously, a tired body makes you sleep easier as well. Some kind of exercise outdoors such as garden work, walking to the store instead of driving, jogging, cycling, whatever you prefer helps.
So here’s a good-night-list:
1) View sunlight by going outside within 30-60 minutes of waking. Do that again in the late afternoon, prior to sunset. If you wake up before the sun is out and you want to be awake, turn on artificial lights and then go outside once the sun rises.
On bright cloudless days: view morning and afternoon sun for 10 min; cloudy days: 20 min; very overcast days 30-60 min. If you live someplace with very minimal light, consider an artificial daytime simulator source.
Don’t wear sunglasses for this practice if you safely can, but contact lenses and eyeglasses are fine.
No, you don’t have to look directly at the sun, and never look at ANY light so bright it is painful to view! That said, you can’t wear a brimmed hat, sunglasses and remain in the shade and expect to “wake up” your circadian clock.
2) Wake up at the same time each day and go to sleep when you first start to feel sleepy. Pushing through the sleepy late evening feeling and going to sleep too late (for you) is one reason people wake at 3 am and can’t fall back asleep.
3) Avoid caffeine within 8-10 hours of bedtime. Dr. Matt Walker (sleep expert from UC Berkeley) might even say 12-14 hours.
4) If you have sleep disturbances, insomnia, or anxiety about sleep, try meditation. If the word meditation sounds unattractive to you, call it training your mind! BTW I teach all my coaching clients using a tool I call “the torch of awareness”, shifting perspective and looking at your mental, emotional and physical state from above, from meta-perspective. Simple and even fun. If you play with the torch of awareness during the day, this will help you to get into a meditation practice.
You can also play with the zero-cost research-supported protocols on the Reveri meditation app (for Apple or Android phones) Do the Reveri sleep self-hypnosis 3x a week at any time of day. It’s only 10-15 min long and will help you rewire your nervous system to be able to relax faster. Headspace is another cool app you might like.
5) Avoid viewing bright lights—especially bright overhead lights between 10 pm and 4 am. Here is a simple rule: only use as much artificial lighting as is necessary for you to remain and move about safely at night. Blue blockers can help a bit at night but still dim the lights. Viewing bright lights of all colors are a problem for your circadian system. Candlelight and moonlight are fine. (Shift workers should see the Huberman Lab Podcast on jetlag for offsetting shift work negative effects. Same for jetlagged travelers.)
6) Limit daytime naps to less than 90 min, or don’t nap at all. I tend to nap for 30 min some afternoons… maybe 45 min, but not longer.
7) If you wake up in the middle of the night (which is normal ) but you can’t fall back asleep, consider doing an NSDR protocol when you wake up. Enter “NSDR” into YouTube and the top 3-4 options have different voices, durations for you to select from. Or simply do a “Yoga Nidra” protocol (enter “yoga nidra” to YouTube; 100s to select.)
8) Huberman also suggests consider taking (30-60 min before bed) which I don’t do:
145mg Magnesium Threonate or 200mg Magnesium Bisglycinate
50mg Apigenin (Swanson is the only source I know of; we have no affiliation to Swanson)
(3-4 nights per week I also take 2g of Glycine and 100mg GABA.)
*I would start with one supplement (or none!) and then add one at a time as needed. Some people do not need any supplements, and some people like theanine but not magnesium, etc. so you have to determine what is best for you.
**Don’t take theanine if you have overly intense dreams, sleep-walk, or have night terrors.
***Also, some people (~5%), get an agitated stomach from magnesium supplementation, in which case, do not take it.
****I use supplements from Thorne for all of the above, except the Apigenin, as they don’t make it. Also, they do not manufacture Magnesium Threonate either. Magnesium Bisglycinate is a good replacement for Threonate. You can get 20% off all Thorne supplements at https://www.thorne.com/u/huberman or you can pick another source you like and trust. Thorne does not ship outside the USA.
9) Expect to feel really alert ~1 hour before your natural bedtime. This is a naturally occurring spike in wakefulness that sleep researchers have observed.
Don’t freak out if it happens. It will pass!
10) Keep the room you sleep in cool and dark and layer on blankets that you can remove.
Your body needs to drop in temperature by 1-3 degrees to fall and stay asleep effectively. Body temperature increases are one reason you wake up. Thus, keep your room cool and remove blankets as needed. If it’s too hot you would have to use a cooling device and that’s harder than simply tossing off blankets if you get too warm.
11) Drinking alcohol messes up your sleep. As do most sleep medications.
We might be night owls at 15 but become “morning people” as we age or need 6 hours a night in summer and 7-8 in winter. It will vary.
12) The light from Watching TV and looking at the phone just before sleeping easily messes up you sleep. Also, the content you consume may wind up the mind. Consider an electronic-free diet a couple of hours before bedtime and turn off wifi and mobile data at night.
For many people not eating within a couple of hours before bedtime helps. For me it is more about eating easily digestible foods for dinner and avoid salads at night.
Sweet Dreams tonight xxx
BTW, if your sleep quality is influenced by the moon cycle, the next full-moon is a potent one, so don’t worry. Astrologers say it’s a good day to set your intentions. I will certainly make sure not to fall into the trap to focus on what doesn’t work for me and instead focus on what I want, practice some focused dreaming, as I call it (visualization) and keep my spirits high. The June full Moon, the Full Strawberry Moon, will occur on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
#bettersleep #sleepcoach #changehabits #improvesleep #sleepquality #mentalpower #howtorelax #relaxationremedies #parasympaticus #relaxationhabits #relaxation
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