Hacks for Better Sleep

The typical person today goes to school for longer than ten years and it’s ironic the fundamental things we don’t learn because we have never been taught them. We really haven’t been taught the simple things that can compound as very important factors in our life. Simple things like how to ask questions in a healthy productive manner, how to walk and run properly, and even how to sleep. Sleep is one of the most important parts of your day and if you aren’t consciously preparing for your sleep you are missing out on a lot of what it has to offer from increased healing and recovery to increased energy and more mental clarity.

Most of our healing occurs when our nervous system goes into a deep parasympathetic state. While sleeping, our body goes through different stages of brain wave states.  When we first get ready for bed we are still awake and alert so our brains are in a fast beta-wave state. As we relax and get more sleepy our brain slows down and passes through alpha and into a theta-wave state. Experienced meditators can enter and stay in this theta brainwave state. When we fall into a deep sleep the brain slows down even more entering a strong period of delta waves. When this occurs you are in a very deep parasympathetic state and your body heals the fastest. However, as mentioned earlier, we have never been taught how to sleep and how to get into this deep sleep to maximize the benefits of what sleep has to offer us. The goal of sleep is to get a healthy night’s sleep so we wake up energized as our body has focused on healing throughout the night. This is the opposite of what occurs for most people that continue to wake up and feel tired and groggy stating …”I need coffee!”  If you are someone that wants to maximize your potential to heal, recover, and wake up with energy to be productive and accomplish your goals for the day please continue reading.

My favorite sleep hacks to accomplish optimal rejuvenation and performance:

(in no particular order)

  • Slow down the brain before getting in bed by stopping all technology (yes, that includes tv) at least 1 hour before getting in bed. Studies have shown that blue light which is a short wavelength that comes from tv’s and other light emitting devices greatly suppressing melatonin production that is needed in the circadian rhythm to slow the brain down and get it ready for sleep.   
  • Reduce the light in your bedroom below five lumens. One lumen equals the brightness of one candle so making sure that very little light occurs during sleep is a necessity. Light above five lumens decreases the production of melatonin.
  • EMF’s (electromagnetic frequencies) are a big problem affecting sleep quality.  When our body is bombarded with EMF’s from wifi or “dirty electricity”, our sleep is severely affected.  As we sleep, our brain speed slows and goes into a delta/theta state that ranges from .5hz to 7hz. The frequency of the earth is 7.83hz which is of course healthy for us to receive. However, wifi that has a frequency in gigahertz as well as spikes and surges of “dirty electricity” from appliances and electrical wiring causing electro-pollution that not only decreases melatonin production but also negatively stresses our nervous system. The easiest hack here is to unplug your wifi router before going to bed and flipping off your bedrooms electrical switch on your circuit breaker to stop all “dirty electricity” from occuring in your bedroom. Also, Greenwave filters are a technology that can help decrease dirty electricity.
  • Meal timing and the type of food we eat is of course important for sleep quality.  We have been told that we shouldn’t eat a large meal before going to bed but is this true and if so why? Bile production from the liver and gallbladder that is used to breakdown foods, especially protein and fat, decreases at night. Therefore, if we eat a large meal it is harder and takes longer to breakdown with lower levels of bile. Also, we only have so much energy to use at a time. When our body should be slowing down in order to use energy to heal, it has to wait and use energy to breakdown and digest food instead.
  • Binaural Beats are a  great hack for sleep. Listening to binaural beats while going to bed in the delta/theta wavelength will help entrain your brain to a sleep state quickly without having to take meds or supplements. There are many good apps that can be downloaded for free or for a minimal amount.   
  • Earthpulse PEMF is another awesome gadget to use for quality sleep. Unlike the electromagnetic frequencies mentioned earlier like dirty electricity and wifi, this device produces a variety of healthy frequencies to help us sleep better and heal faster.    
  • Supplements like melatonin, magnesium, 5-HTP, valerian, and kava can really help with sleep issues. However, if you take melatonin and it keeps you up instead of helping you sleep, you may have a toxic or inflamed brain. Melatonin helps to detox the pineal gland and in doing so will keep you awake instead of helping you fall asleep.  If this is the case you might want to focus on detoxing and/or see your integrative physician. It is my intent to help you get more out of your life. Quality sleep is the foundation for thinking and taking more efficient, productive action. Enjoy the sleep hacks and sleep well my friends.