In this final installment of my trainer, Ryan Hodge’s three daily habits for a better you, we get into sleep! I remember when my doctor told me, “I can’t help you unless you sleep.” That single sentence shifted everything about how I prioritize my routine and sleep.
Three daily habits for a better you:
1) Movement – every part of your body needs to move every day
2) Breathing/mindfulness – re-center, re-focus, re-imagine
3) Sleep and sleep prep – your body repairs and the cycle repeats
“Sleep is the best meditation.” – The Dalai Lama
Prioritizing high quality sleep, and overall recovery, is probably one of the most undervalued things you can do for health. There are mountains of research out there showing the benefits of great sleep. Research aside, we can all attest to the massive difference felt after a great night’s sleep versus a few hours of sleep.
Before we start talking about the multitudes of ways to improve our slumber, let’s first talk about how to measure good quality sleep. Sleep is much more than the total number of hours you spend in bed. Most adults need 6-10+ hours of sleep but this is all very dependent on age, activity levels, stress levels, and even current location on the planet. I highly recommend investing in a sleep monitor such as an Oura ring (or at least a sleep monitor app on your smart phone). Your sleep monitor should not only clock the number of hours you sleep, but more importantly it should track your sleep cycles and how much REM and deep sleep you get per night. These two phases of sleep are the most important for the recovery of our minds and tissues.
Start with your environment. Make your bedroom a dark, cool, and comfy place to snooze. Ideally no warmer than 69-70 degrees.
Get into a great bedtime routine. This could involve journaling, (I personally love Kelli’s journal for the prompts and guidance!) meditation, breathing, easy movement or stretching, a hot bath full of Epsom salts and essential oils, reading and even sex! Yes! It’s an important part of our routines.
Turning off all screens and bright lights 1-2 hours before bed. Blue light coming from our screens can negatively impact our sleep. This is because the type of light going into our eyes after the sun goes down tricks our brains into thinking it’s high-noon. Taking away these kinds of lights 1-2 hours before bed can make a huge improvement on your sleep quality.
Wake up and immediately get into the sunlight. Proper light exposure can be a real game changer for some struggling with sleep. The sooner we get sunlight exposure in the morning, the sooner our bodies will register that when the sun goes down it’s almost sleep time. For extra credit try to see the sun rise and set every day!
Some nutritional changes can be necessary too. Download Kelli’s amazing resource here and she will help you find the right foods that will aid in enhancing your sleep and overall help support a healthy, well-balanced life.