I've been studying ways to improve my sleep for the last few years and am now ready to share what I've learned. After consistently tracking my sleep app data for over a year and journaling my results, I've seen dramatic improvements that might help those of you who are also struggling on occasion with sleep issues.
The following behaviors dramatically improved my sleep and if you are in the 50-65 demographic, they should work for you too. (hint: you must actually do these practices. I've tried things at various times but until I made a conscious effort to practice what I was reading, my results were unreliable.)
*** indicates level of importance in my personal sleep study
*** No food after 7:00. Food, left to be digested in the stomach, seems to have the greatest impact on restorative sleep. Since it takes about four hours to digest most food combinations, it's best to let that digestion occur while you are awake. Otherwise, your sleep will not be as renewing as your body and brain need. I tend to wake up around 3:00 and toss and turn the rest of the night or until I give up and get out of bed when I go to bed with a full stomach. There are other schools of thought on this topic but my sleep patterns reveal they were most profoundly interrupted by sleeping on a full stomach.
*** No blue light from a computer screen four hours before bed. Blue light kills melatonin, our body’s natural sleep hormone, according to Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep. Read a book printed on paper instead of looking at a phone or computer screen before sleep.
** Get in bed when you feel sleepiness calling you. Ignoring sleep signals from your brain and body is a dead give away you are not honoring your body’s needs. Quality sleep is a building block to every other health indicator.
** Seven and half hours a night is commonly recommended as an appropriate dosage for restorative sleep and the hours between 10:00-12:00pm are considered "double golden hours" by sleep experts. If you can tag any part of those two hours, you're doing your whole system a favor. One of my favorite experts, Timothy Ferris, author of The Four Hour Body http://fourhourbody.com/ clocks 8-9 hours and takes a 90 minute nap in the afternoon. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298567 I'm lucky that my body starts calling me to sleep around 9:30-10:00. Not sure what my night owl friends will do with that but there is always a solution.
* Write down your tasks for the next day in your journal before you turn out the light or start reading. It frees your brain to rest without anxiety about what tomorrow might hold.
* Make your bedroom as dark as possible. I now close my blinds so I don’t enjoy the moon in my window anymore but my sleep has dramatically improved.
* Wear an eye mask to get to sleep if your partner is watching tv or has the light on.
* Alcohol - I can usually enjoy one cocktail or glass of alcohol if I ingest it three -four hours before sleep. If I drink red wine or more than one glass of anything, I wake up at 3:00 sweating and tossing in bed.
Let me know if these help...I'd love your feedback!