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Engineering the Perfect Sleep (10 things to try tonight)

Fact: It doesn't matter how hard your workouts are or how healthy you eat -- if you're not getting a solid night of good sleep, you're actively hurting your results. We all know that.

We are truly a product of our environments.

And if our goal is to live our best lives possible, we need to pay attention to how we set up our environment.

Everyone says "You are the average of the 5 people you spent your time with. Choose wisely."

But we believe it goes further than that...

  • The 5 books

  • The 5 quotes

  • The 5 places

  • The 5 podcasts

  • The 5 newsletters

  • The 5 role models you look up to and listen to the most...

  • And on and on.

When it comes to sleep, there's FIVE important things you need to think about in setting up the best sleeping environment:

1) Make your room cold. Like really cold.The best temp for long term sleep is between 60-67 degrees. Temperatures below 54 and above 75 actually disturb your ability to sleep.

You'll have to experiment to figure out the best temp for you but most athletes and sleep apnea patients prefer a chilly 60 degrees. I personally prefer 68 degrees.

2) Make it a firm habit to go to bed within 30 minutes of the same time every night.Your circadian rhythm thrives on regularity.

3) Don't use an alarm clock. Yeah... this one is quite controversial but even my husband jumps out of bed at 4am every morning without an alarm.

This may or may not be possible for you. In fact, for some, waking up without an alarm clock might be a huge liability. But if your sleeping pattern is a habit, and you're consistently sleeping and waking up at the same times, eventually the need for an alarm goes away. Needing to wake up to an alarm clock predisposes you to high BP, inflammation, metabolic syndrome and Type-2 diabetes, according to one study.

4) Make your room quiet. White noise like a fan can help drown out traffic noise or trains.

5) Make it dark. Really dark. Even a tiny amount of light can interfere with melatonin production and impair your sleep.

Do this tonight: Turn off any electronic devises with LED's or cover the lights with a small piece of electrical tape (class, I know). Consider buying blackout curtains. You can get them anywhere (even Walmart).

6) Control red and blue lights. Red lights (like fire) do nothing to impair your sleep. So if your alarm is red, that's great. If it has an LED backlight, not so good. Try downloading f.lux app, a free program that alters the color spectrum on computer and doesn't affect your melatonin levels.

7) Go outside when you wake up. (The scientific term is Cortisol Awakening Response). The more awake you feel in the morning, the more sleepy you'll feel at night. So make it a habit of going outside and exposing your body to sunlight as soon as you wake up. Your body will respond to the change in daylight. Coffee time outside? Yes please.

8) Take Vitamin D in the morning. Vitamin D is what your body normally produces in response to sunlight and it is also tied to your wakefulness patterns. The optimal time to take Vitamin D supplements is mid morning (around 10am)

9) Get a good mattress. It doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive. But investing in a good mattress is super important. You can pick one up for as cheap as $300.

10) Establish a ritual. It might take awhile to figure out what works best for you but once you find out what helps you to sleep most consistently (aka taking the dogs on a walk a couple hours before so they don't wake you up), then develop it into a consistent ritual so you have a reliable path to good, quality sleep.

Oh- and don't forget to take your liquid melatonin right before bed! (If you missed our last blog post, Melatonin or Chunky Thighs- Your Choice, go back and read it)

Now go craft the perfect sleep!

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