We all know sleep is important. It allows our bodies to recover, to clean up toxins, and for cognitive function. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, causes many health problems, like increased inflammation, impaired focus, fat loss, lower testosterone, and poor cardiovascular health. In this episode, I review research conducted by examine.com, with their permission, and discuss the 10 ten things that can provide us with improved sleep quality.

In this episode, I review the top 10 science-backed methods for improving sleep, as researched by examine.com, and with their permission.
It is important to point out that examine.com does not endorse any supplement or ingredient, they only research them and let users choose the brands and products they prefer. Any products mentioned in this podcast are my personal recommendation, not those of examine.comWe all know sleep is important. It allows our bodies to recover, to clean up toxins, and for cognitive function.

Lack of sleep, on the other hand, causes many health problems, like increased inflammation, impaired focus, fat loss, lower testosterone, and poor cardiovascular health.

Also, it’s not just that people in our modern society aren’t getting enough sleep, the sleep quality isn’t as good as it could be either. When it is, we perform better mentally, physically, and sexually.

In short, good sleep habits are critical for our health and happiness.

The examine.com research focuses on 10 areas of study. The five things that most hurt our sleep, and the 5 things that help. See the original research here:
https://examine.com/nutrition/ten-tips-for-better-sleep/
Used with Permission.

What can hurt:

1. Light. Light helps regulate our biological clock, most notably through melatonin production. Blue light is the main culprit, which comes from the sun but also is produced by our smart devices and televisions.

I bought the Gunnar glasses recommended on the Tim Ferriss show.
https://amzn.to/2xbmchj

(Note that we are a company that makes income from the sale of our own goods as well as through affliliate links. Which means if you click on some of the links in this post, we may make money, at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own.)

Tim was out with a colleague who was wearing them and they looked stylish and cool but he could tell the lenses were unique. Anyway, when I use them at the office or in public they are nice looking, unlike other blue-blocking sunglasses. I have been lugging them back and forth from home to the office but have just recently ordered a second pair so I always have one at home an done at the office. When I’m standing and looking at my monitor at work for hours, it’s noticeably easier on my eyes when I wear them.

And at night watching TV I wear them as well. At first, the colors of the TV looked a bit weird but I got used to it in minutes and have noticeably less eye strain.

I will put a link to the ones I have in the show notes.

In addition to either cutting out screen time a couple hours before bed, or using blue blocking glasses, make your bedroom as dark as possible, or use a sleep mask.

There is an excellent, soft sleep mask on Amazon called Alaska Bear that I have used and really like. But, my dog really liked it too and chewed it to bits so just be advised that these things seem to be a magnet for dogs. She couldn’t stay away from it until she finally got it and destroyed it.
https://amzn.to/2NIsKOO

2. Noise. A noisy environment is obviously worst when the noise keeps you awake, but even if you fall asleep your sleep quality can be impaired.

But sudden noises are the enemy, constant noises like a fan or air conditioner can actually create a soothing white noise that blanks out exterior noises.

The kind of noise that is most likely to affect your sleep are noises that have meaning, like a conversation between people, or the sound of a television, versus instrumental music.

Try earplugs or white noise makers to mitigate the effects of noise on your sleep. We have been quite happy with an inexpensive fan in our room which creates white noise and airflow and isn’t expensive.

But if you want to check out the latest and greatest in white noise makers, there’s a link to a sound and sleep machine in the show notes that has 30 non-repeating sound environments, a sleep timberland all kinds of bells and whistles.
https://amzn.to/2p6E74U

3. Heat. If the room is too warm it can cause insomnia. Experiment with a lowered temperature in your house to find one that works for you. 68-70 degrees is ideal for me.

4. Alcohol. While alcohol is a depressant, meaning it helps you relax, you would think it helps you sleep. Not so. And it impairs the quality of your sleep. Whenever possible avoid any alcohol after dinner.

5. Caffeine. Caffeine is usually safe and has some proven health benefits, but it has downsides too. Caffeine increases alertness and dopamine, both of which keep you awake.

And just because you are used to caffeine and have it every day, don’t think that it doesn’t affect your sleep just because you don’t feel it anymore. Even if you sleep with caffeine in your veins, you are sleeping in heightened alertness and more shallowly than if you didn’t have caffeine.

As a general rule, don’t take in any caffeine within 6 hours of sleep. Also, I will link to a caffeine inhaler in the show notes. The beauty of a caffeine inhaler is that you need only a tiny dose of caffeine when you inhale it. So 2-4 MG’s per dose instead of 80-200 like in energy drinks. So, let’s say you really need some energy to continue a drive home, or you are a student with a big test you have to study late for, etc. Instead of using an energy drink that will keep you up for hours, you can use the inhaler for doses of energy when you need them, and it wears off within about 40 minutes.
https://amzn.to/2xatRwo

Now for the 5 things that most help sleep.

6. Exercise. Duh! People who exercise tend to sleep better. And your body associates exercise with activity, so exercise during the morning or day is best. Exercise at night can cause the body to think it isn’t time to sleep yet, so exercise at night is better than no exercise, but doing exercise in the morning or during the day is best.

7. A consisted sleep schedule. Studies show that the more regular our sleeping patterns are, the better our sleep quality is. Strive to go to bed at about the same time each night whenever possible. Our body works on a 24-hour schedule and keeping the sleep/ wake cycle constant keeps our circadian rhythm on track.

Going to bed at about the same time each night helps us fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Also, having a bedtime routine is helpful, but should be soothing, like meditation or reading, not stimulating, like a computer game.

That being said, if your mind is racing one study did show that just 10 minutes of playing Tetris helped “unwind” an overactive mind. I have tried this myself and it really works! Just don’t get sucked in and play too long!

8. Melatonin. The absence of blue light signals the body to produce melatonin, which then signals to your body that it’s time to sleep. This is why we all need to avoid blue light 2 hours before bedtime.

But if you have trouble falling asleep, melatonin is a proven supplement to aid in getting to sleep. I personally keep a sleep inhaler in the drawer beside my bed. Two shots and deep breaths in, and 30 seconds later I’m drowsy! It’s pretty cool. And much better than waiting for an oral supplement to kick in.
https://amzn.to/2QkrkIC

9. Magnesium
Lack of magnesium has been shown to lead to impaired sleep. Studies on the elderly have proven that supplementing with magnesium helps them sleep better, as the elderly tend to be more deficient in magnesium than younger people.
Also, athletes are at high risk as they lose magnesium through sweat.
But magnesium is something that is really best obtained through diet. It’s easy to get enough magnesium if you just eat a healthy diet that includes nuts, beans, spinach etc. I will put a link to the National Institutes of Health office of dietary supplements list of foods.
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h3

While magnesium is really important, there is a reason we did not include it in Mimi’s Miracle Multi when we were doing the research on those vitamins people are most deficient in. First of all is what I said, it’s easy to get enough through diet. Secondly, supplementing magnesium can cause stomach problems, and magnesium oxide has been shown to have very low bioavailability.

If you feel like you need to supplement with magnesium, a great way to do it is to buy a spray, and spray it on your thighs before you go to bed. That way it doesn’t go through your stomach, plus it has the effect of relaxing the muscles and helping you sleep better.

The downside of it is it can be itchy. I found one on Amazon that is Amazon’s choice and claims to be less itchy and stingy than others. Full disclosure I haven’t used it so I can’t personally vouch for it.
https://amzn.to/2xhzzN9

10. Lavender. Two of the most common reasons people don’t get enough sleep is that they either don’t plan enough sleep (they go to bed too late) or they think they will “catch up” on weekends (studies have shown this is ineffective.)

But Lavender has been shown to help you relax and alleviate stress. It has also been shown to improve sleep quality and aid in insomnia. Natures Way Calm Aid is Amazon’s choice for Silaxen.
https://amzn.to/2p3it1G
Note that it is not a bedtime supplement, but a one a day stress reliever.

On a personal note, I have found a couple of things out about sleep that may apply to you as well.

First of all, I have realized that while it seems like sleeping until I’m done sleeping would be best, I actually find I have more energy during the day and do better generally when I use an alarm clock and get up kind of early. Especially if I am in bed by 10 or 11.

Secondly, the anecdotal statement that every hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours of sleep after midnight is definitely true for me. Try it for yourself. I shoot for being in bed by 10 PM, and I do believe that those 2 hours of sleep before midnight are more valuable than hours spent in bed after that.

Third, I have had some of my best athletic performances on very little sleep. Many times before a race or competition I have had a bad nights sleep but still done well. So if you are somebody who gets nervous before a big event, but gets a lousy nights sleep, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t perform. One bad night’s sleep won’t ruin the last 6 months of training.

And lastly, I’m a huge fan of both naps and meditation, which unfortunately are too often the same thing. But, I did a lot of experimentation with afternoon nap time lengths and found that 25 minutes is ideal, and more than that is too much, I feel groggy after.

If you can fit in a nap in the afternoon, I think it’s worth experimenting with an alarm, and try in 5-minute increments lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes or more if you have that much time and think you may need it.

Note that this information is not intended to diagnose or treat a disease. If you are having persistent problems sleeping make sure and visit your doctor to rule out sleep apnea or some other sleep disorder.

And lastly, we spend almost a third of our lives in a bed, make sure it’s a good one! Mattresses are only good for 8 years. When’s the last time you checked out new mattresses? Often a mattress is something we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, but we spend a lot of time lying on it, might as well make sure it’s a really good one!

I don’t have a recommendation because it’s something you really need to experiment with, go to the mattress store and lie down on a bunch of them and figure out what works best. And if your mattress is over 8 years old it’s shot! You may not notice because you are used to it, but when you get a new one it will feel so much better!

I hope you enjoyed this episode, and that some of these tips help you get a better nights sleep.

Right-click here and save as to download this episode to your computer.

Note that this information is presented as educational in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure or prevent any disease.

Transcript:

Welcome to the dire roby health show, covering the world of fitness, nutrition, and supplementation with world class guests, the latest clinical research and plenty of tips you can use right away to boost your health and wellness. Here’s your host, Dave Sherwin will come to the disrobing health show, episode 60.

We have some excellent tips today for getting a better night’s sleep. Something that almost all of us are interested in. Sleep is something we spent almost a third of our lives doing and can make a huge quality of life improvement when we get a better night’s sleep. And, uh, the people over@examine.com have created really great list of 10 scientifically proven ways to sleep better. I invited them to be on the podcast. Kamala was kind enough to respond, but say that they’re absolutely swapped and behind on a scheduled projects they have right now and can’t fit in an interview, but gave me permission to use their content in this podcast. So appreciate the people that examine.com for allowing me to rob and duplicate their content onto this podcast. Giving them full credit. Of course, the link to the research they did will be provided on the episode notes and another thing that I need to mention in that regard as they are a neutral company, they’re like Switzerland.

They study supplements and ingredients and health, uh, various aspects of health like this sleep, but they do not endorse any particular product so that they can keep their integrity as researchers and, and not be accepting money from anyone that might skew their biases, et cetera. You know what I mean? So, uh, with that being said, any links or recommendations or products referred to in this podcast would be my own and I would take responsibility for them. They’re not recommended by examine.com. So with that, this content I just found it was excellent. I read the article myself, I immediately applied a couple of things for myself to get a better night’s sleep. And I hope that the same is true for you, that you’ll like some of these tips. And I also like the way they broke it down, what they did is have these top tips.

They first of all went through the five negative areas, the areas where are her, our sleep as being hurt, the top five things that hurt our sleep, and then they went through the top five things that would help us get a better night’s sleep. So we all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. It allows our bodies to recover, to clean up toxins. It’s critical for cognitive function and energy and general wellbeing, while lack of sleep causes many health problems like increased inflammation, impaired focus, fat loss, lower testosterone, and poor cardiovascular health.

Now it’s not just that people are not getting enough and our society, but often the sleep they’re getting is not good enough quality. So both are important. It’s not just about hours in bed, it’s about the quality of the sleep while you’re asleep. And in this article we will address both sides of that. So in short, good sleep habits are critical for our health and happiness. And let’s jump into what is hurting our sleep. And the number one thing that is hurting most people, sleep is light and light is something that can throw off our circadian rhythms of we’re looking at the wrong light, too late in the day, per a particularly blue light. So light helps regulate our biological clock. If you think back to the vast majority of time of human history and evolution of the world was regulated by the sun and when the sun went down, people went to sleep.

When the sun came up, people woke up and of course we have shattered that idyllic vision of, of living, of the the hunter gatherer way of living more close to nature. And of course in some cities and areas they are lit up all night long and there are distractions and things going on all the time. Even in our homes, we’re often looking at bright screens, whether small or large, late into the night, and that is really throwing us off and affecting our sleep. With blue, blue light being the main culprit. Now I heard this before, I knew this tip and I bought the gunnar glasses that I’d heard recommended on the Tim Ferriss show and I do recommend those. I, I, I liked them myself. Tim ferriss found out about them when he was out at night at a restaurant and someone at his table was wearing them and he was intrigued because he could tell the Lens, looked a little funky and the guy told him his, yeah, I wear these a couple of hours before I go to bed, but they’re designed to be stylish and nice so they don’t look like an odd, you know, functional glass.

They look, they’re nice looking glasses. I’m sure there’s others I’ll put a link to the ones I bought in the show notes and I also want to use those when I watch TV or use my screen at night now. So, um, my, my, uh, my phone, I mean, so, um, that is a tip that will block out the blue light so that, that light is not messing up your circadian rhythms. And within about two hours of sleep is when we ought to be avoiding that blue light, uh, in addition to cutting out screen time or at least using a blue blocking sunglasses a couple hours before bed. Uh, make your bedroom as dark as possible or use a sleep mask. A, there’s a really comfortable, nice, soft sleep mask on Amazon called Alaska bear. I’ve used it. I really like it. Uh, the only problem with mine was my dog liked it possibly even more than I did.

She was always after that thing. I don’t know what it is. There is something in the smell of that mask. And finally she got her little paws on that thing and totally destroyed it and I’m sure really enjoyed doing that. So if you get an Alaska bear sleep mask, keep it away from your dog, but whether you use a sleep mask or just one thing we have done is bought oversized curtains a that cover our window and are well above our window by about a foot and about 18 inches on each side of the window. A good thick drape so that when we pulled them shut at night, our room is very dark and that’s the main thing you want to get to, is just the darkest room that you can and that’s number one is eliminate light blue light before bed and make your room as dark as possible.

When you go to bed, the number two biggest thing that’s hurting our sleep as noise and noisy environment is obviously worst when the noise keeps you awake, but if you fall asleep, your sleep quality can be impaired. If you’re in a noisy environment, sudden noises are the biggest enemy. And so, uh, things like honking horns and I’m maybe a loud air conditioner in your room. I, if you’ve ever stayed in a hotel where you know when that thing comes on the whole room kind of shakes and it makes a big noise and it wakes you up so sudden noises are the worst, but constant noises can be fine. If they are creating a white noise, it’s actually helping you sleep. So the kind of noises that are most likely to affect your sleep in a negative way or those that have meaning like a conversation that you can hear through your bedroom door or music playing where you can hear the words or the sound of a television, something that where there’s a story or dialogue versus instrumental music, for example.

So to deal with noise, tried earplugs, try white noise makers to mitigate the effects of noise and your sleep. In our room we’ve been really happy with just an inexpensive oscillating fan. It creates white noise and plus it moves the air around and we’ve been very happy with that. Doesn’t cost much money, uh, but if you’re really interested in the latest and greatest and white noise makers, there is a super cool one on Amazon with all the bells and whistles, multiple sounds, multiple timers for example, you might set it that it stops making noise after 30 minutes or an hour or an hour and a half. And they have settings where it makes sure there’s no non repeating sounds and all these different sound environments can be created. So if you’re interested in that, there’s a link in the show notes. Number three is heat, the room should be cool and um, you know, this of course is a very subjective thing.

What’s cool to one person is hot to another person, et Cetera, but generally speaking, room temperature is 72 degrees and you’ll sleep best if you lower the temperature of your, of your sleeping environment to 68 to 70 degrees. Again, that’s subjective and won’t work for everybody. You need to experiment with whatever feels cool to you, but if you’re in a warm room, it is going to impair your sleep. Number four thing that hurts sleep is alcohol. It may seem strange to some of you because alcohol is a depressant, meaning it helps you relax so you’d think it would help you sleep, but that’s not so even if you do go to sleep from alcohol and it helps you get to sleep, it impairs the quality of your sleep. So whenever possible, avoid alcohol after dinner. And number five, of course, will be no surprise to anybody and that is caffeine.

Caffeine is usually safe and has even proven health benefits, but it has downsides. Caffeine increases alertness and dopamine, both of which keep you awake and just because you use caffeine on a regular basis and have it everyday, don’t think it doesn’t affect your sleep just because you can fall asleep while having it in your system. For example, if you’re used to having a cup of coffee late at night and you think, well, I sleep just fine. No. Studies have shown that people who have caffeine in their system do not sleep as deeply as those who don’t, so try to not have caffeine within six hours of going to bed. Caffeine stays in your veins at least four hours after you take it, so six hours is a good safe window to not take caffeine. Another thing that you can do is for those of you that use caffeine to stay awake for either work or maybe you’ve got a a, a school assignment, you’ve got to stay up late for a test or you got to drive late at night.

One thing I have been using as a caffeine inhaler for times like that, it’s a caffeine inhaler is really cool because you need a tiny dose of caffeine that only lasts about 40 minutes, so you inhale the caffeine and it’s only two to four milligrams and it gives you an immediate boost, like within about 30 seconds you feel this uptick in energy, but it only lasts about 40 minutes. So for the person who’s trying to stay awake with caffeine, the bummer is if you take 200 milligrams of caffeine, for example, a red bull at 11:00 at night, it’s going to be in your system till about three or 4:00 AM and keep you wired right? Even if you fall asleep, you won’t sleep as well. Versus if it is, let’s take that scenario of driving late at night and you take the inhaler, a tiny little dose of caffeine, you get that increased energy.

Uh, but then you get home 40 minutes later and you’ll be able to go to bed with just a tiny little bit of caffeine in your system versus 200 milligrams. So again, late, we’ll we will link to that product as well. Now for the five things that most help sleep, number six, this will not be a to anyone. It’s exercise. People who exercise tend to sleep better. It’s just a proven fact. Also, your body is so states exercise with activity. So you, uh, you ought to exercise in the morning or during the day, uh, well, exercise at night is better than no exercise. The problem is, again, back to that circadian rhythm and biological clock thing. It is signaling to your body that it’s time to be awake when you exercise. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of playing a sport late at night and thinking that you’d go to bed and just crash where instead you’re kind of wired.

That’s because the exercise is creating dopamine and it’s getting, you know, your body’s ready for action and it takes a while to wind down. So exercise in the morning if you can during the day sometime is second best and at night if you have to. Number seven, a consistent sleep schedule. There’s been multiple studies on this showing that regular sleeping patterns are better for sleep quality, strive to go to bed about the same time each night whenever possible. Our Body works on a 24 hour schedule and keeping that sleep wake cycle constant keeps our circadian rhythm on track and helps us develop that habit our body just knows about when it’s time to wind down and so as often as possible go to bed at about the same time. That also will help us fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. And one other point here by examine.com is to have a bedtime routine, uh, and it should be something soothing like meditation or reading, not something stimulating, like playing a computer game.

That being said, if your mind is racing and you’re one of these people that sometimes lies awake at night and your mind is just going. There was an interesting study done last year on people who had that problem and they had them play 10 minutes of Tetris the game on their, on their phone and they found that 10 minutes of tetris changed the way their mind was working. Help them unwind their overactive mind and go to sleep better. I’ve actually been doing that for about a year and I found it really does work. I have a simple tetris game on my phone. Uh, the one thing I’ve found is you got to be careful to not get sucked in, like literally only play it for 10 minutes. Sometimes I get going and think, man, I’m doing really good. I’m going to keep going. Well, that’s kind of defeating the purpose, so I try to keep it to 10 minutes, turn it off, and then sure enough, my mind is working differently than it was before and it just helps you unwind.

Number eight of the things that help us sleep better is Melatonin. The absence of blue light signals the body to produce Melatonin, which is why light is so bad late at night. So getting rid of light, our body will naturally produce Melatonin, which then signals the body that it’s time to sleep, but if you have trouble falling asleep, Melatonin is a proven supplement that can aid in getting you to sleep. A, just like I mentioned with the caffeine, I have an inhaler for sleep as well as just a small dose of Melatonin. I keep it in the table and the little thing, you know, piece of furniture beside my bed as a little bookstand with a drawer at the top and I just keep a, a ca cafe and Melatonin inhaler in that drawer. So that times when I feel like it’s gonna be hard to go to sleep.

I breathe in too deep breaths of the inhaler and 30 seconds later I start to feel that drowsiness kick in. So again, same as the uh, caffeine inhaler and that you only need a tiny dose so you don’t feel like you’re, you’re taking too much of something and the bigger benefit is you feel it right away. So that’s pretty cool. And uh, you know, if you’re going to take Melatonin in any other way it would be to swallow it. And then you got to wait about 20 minutes before you’re going to feel anything. So the sleep inhaler works really well. They’re not that well reviewed on Amazon. I will tell you that the problem is if you’re not used to using an inhaler, it’s kind of kind of a bummer. Like the first time I used it I was like kind of coughing up like I just wasn’t used to.

It took me a little bit of experimentation. Also, the first time I used it, I put it right on my mouth and then breathed it in and it was just too much. I found that I have to hold it about six inches away from my mouth and then get ready and I start breathing in. Then I shoot it and breathe it in deeply and then I hold it and then I breathe out and then I do the same thing again. I start breathing in, I pull the trigger, breathe it in, and sure enough, 30 seconds later I get that feeling of, of being drowsy. Okay. Number nine is magnesium. Lack of magnesium has been shown to lead to impaired sleep. Studies on the elderly have proven that supplementing with magnesium helps them sleep better as the elderly tend to be more deficient in magnesium than younger people.

Also, athletes are at high risk as they lose magnesium through sweat, but magnesium is something we really should all get from our diet. It’s easy to get enough magnesium if you’re just eating healthy. It’s in nuts and beans and spinach and quite a lot of foods. I’ll put a link to the National Institutes of Health Office of dietary supplements. It has a really good article about this in the show notes and this is why we didn’t include it in Mimi’s miracle multi. I know that many people think that magnesium is just one of those supplements that should be an a multivitamin. We feel like it’s some what of those supplements that should absolutely not be in a multivitamin for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t, you know, it can upset your stomach. Um, studies on rats have shown that only percent of the magnesium is even absorbed when taken orally. And again, it just, we really, no one should be deficient in magnesium if you’re just eating a decent diet.

It doesn’t even have to be a super awesome, you know, Vegan, vegetarian style diet. Um, check out the article. Just make sure you’re getting enough magnesium rich foods. If you do feel like you need to supplement with magnesium, the best way is through a spray, a topical spray, and if you spray it on your thighs before you go to bed, your body will absorb it so it doesn’t go through your stomach, which could cause the discomfort and not only that, it helps you calm down. It’s actually as a sleep aid in itself to spray magnesium on your thighs. The downside is it can be a little itchy. It’s kind of uncomfortable, but there is one on Amazon that I discovered that is actually Amazon’s choice for magnesium supplements and it does say in there that they claim that’s less itchy and stinky than others. So full disclosure, I haven’t used it.

I’ve used one that I just bought for my local health food store, but I found one on Amazon. It looks good, but I have not used it myself. Unlike some of these other things that I’ve referred to here. Uh, so far, number 10 is lavender. Two of the most common reasons people don’t get enough sleep is they either don’t plan enough sleep and they just don’t fit it into their schedule or go to bed early enough or some people think that they’re going to catch up on sleep on the weekends, but studies have shown this is ineffective, but lavender is something that can, can help with this. Lavender is something that helps people relax and alleviate stress. It’s also been shown to improve sleep quality and aid with insomnia. Again, there’s a good one on Amazon. Nature’s way. Call made a is Amazon’s choice for a clinically proven ingredient called skelaxin and that was the one that examined.com recommended.

Um, it is not a bedtime supplement. It’s a one a day stress reliever and that can help you generally, even though it’s not something that you take to go to sleep, it’s something you take during the day to just generally be more calm and, um, then come come night time. You should have a little less stress and hopefully be able to sleep better. Now that being said, that completes the list of 10 things that examine.com discovered from their research where the top 10 things to get a better night’s sleep, but I want to add a few things. I’ve discovered myself because over the years I personally have had a lot of trouble with sleep at different times and I just want to share a couple things I’ve discovered for myself and see how these relate to you. First of all, I’ve realized that, well, it seems to me that if I could just sleep until my body was done sleeping, that I would be at my best.

I’ve actually been able to do that. I’m self employed so my schedule is my own, but I have actually found that I’m better off when I set an alarm and I get up early before my body naturally wants to wake up. I don’t know why that is. I don’t know if it’s the same for everybody, but I’ve definitely found that when I set my alarm for 6:00 in the morning, which is what I do almost every single day, that I almost never wake up before that. But the alarm wakes me up and I have a better day than if I just slept until my body wanted to wake up. If I do that, I feel groggy. So take that, you know, for, for whatever that is worth. Secondly, if you ever heard the anecdotal statement that every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight.

That is true for me. I can’t say that that’s true for everybody and I haven’t seen any studies on it or anything like that, but it’s something you ought to try for yourself. I shoot for being in bed by 10:00 PM and I do feel like those two hours of sleep before midnight are more valuable than sleep after midnight. Third, if you’re an athlete or competitor. I have had some of my best athletic performances on very little sleep because we many times that I have not been able to sleep well before a race or a competition or I’ve had to get up at three or four in the morning to head out to a race or competition. And I’ve just, you know, when, when, when the first time this happened to me and I had an important race the next day and I had like three, four hours sleep, I was just thinking, man, I’m not going to be able to do very well.

I didn’t have any sleep. But then I’d get on the course and I would do really well. And what I found out is that one night’s bad sleep will not destroy six months of good training. And so if you’re an athlete and you’ve got a bad night’s sleep, I’ll tell you what, and I’ve heard this from many Olympic athletes, I know that a lot of athletes have had some of their best performances after a bad night’s sleep. So if you ever have that experience, you got something really important the next day you don’t sleep very well. Do not go into it with a negative attitude, thinking that you can’t perform at your best. I believe that most of us can. And lastly, I’m a huge fan of both naps and meditation, which unfortunately sometimes turn into the same thing. I sit down to meditate and I just fall asleep, but, and sometimes I just lie down to have a nap and for awhile I did a lot of experimentation with aptitude, afternoon nap time lengths, and I experimented with a 10 minute power nap and 15 minutes I did five minute increments over a few months just experimenting with how I felt afterwards and how will I slept that night.

And for me, I found that a 25 minute nap was really powerful. If I set an alarm for 25 minutes and sat in a comfortable chair or lay on a bed, that 25 minutes was enough that I could fall asleep, have a good nap, get up and go after the day with good energy. I found that if I did more than that, that I didn’t sleep well that night. And so more wasn’t very good and less wasn’t that great. So, um, you might want to try the same thing if you have time to take a break midday, uh, experiment with five minute increments of how long of a nap really works best for you. Now note that this information is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. If you’re having persistent problem sleeping, make sure you visit your doctor to rule out things like sleep apnea or some other sleep disorder.

This information is meant for people who are generally healthy and, uh, just looking for tips on sleeping better, but, uh, you know, if you’re dealing with a sleep disorder, make sure and get professional help with that. Lastly, we spend almost a third of our lives in bed, so make sure your bed is a good one. Mattresses are only good for eight years and, and you should be flipping them about every 90 days. And when’s the last time you checked out? You know, your mattress? Uh, often it’s something we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. Sometimes we have a mattress that we didn’t even buy ourselves. Our Yada mattresses are a funny thing. I know for my kids, for example, there’s Dave raised on the mattresses that we bought them and sometimes they move off to college with that same mattress. So they just go into a dorm or something and take whatever mattress is offered.

But a mattress is something we ought to all be proactive about and get the best one we can afford. I don’t have a recommendation because it’s so personal. Some people like a hard mattress, something like a soft, something like medium, something like a fancy bed that raises up a under their knees or whatever the case might be. So go to the mattress store and be intentional about your mattress. Lie Down on a bunch of them with your partner. If you have one in checkout. What really works best for you? And again, we’re going to spend almost a third of our lives on a bed. It might as well be a good and comfortable one. And with that, I hope you enjoyed this episode and that some of these tips will help you get a better night’s sleep. Until next time, this is Dave Sherwin, wishing you health and success.

Thanks for listening to the dire health show. Make sure and check [inaudible] dot com for a free copy of Dave’s excellent health book formula seven and enter to win. And our free bottle Friday contest. If you’re enjoying the show, leave a review on Itunes, see you next time.