How to Create a Sleep Routine

by: Adam Meadows

Quality sleep is by far one of the most key components in our journey for longevity and living a healthier life. Why?

  • helps our bodies and minds recover
  • reduces inflammation keeping us lean
  • increased cognitive function – aka mentally sharp

On the flippity flip… poor sleep quality means:

  • higher body fat
  • disrupted hormone function
  • swifter aging
  • increased chronic illnesses
  • decreased cognitive function
  • increased chances of drop kicking a co-worker chomping on chips … or maybe your sister who always orders popcorn to munch on during quiet parts of the movie

How do we improve our sleep quality?  The first step is creating a sleep routine.

This routine provides us with some transition time and external cues indicating to our bodies… it’s time to back off and relax. 

Here’s a few strategies on how to create a sleep routine to improve the quality of your sleep… giving your body and mind the best environment to dominate your day… and saving a life.

sleep routine Basics

Consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time helps your body know when to release the right hormones (relaxing hormones before bed – stimulating hormones when you wake up).

Depending on where you’re at in life… kids, job, etc… this may be hard to do ALL the time. Just aim for a little bit better.

Higher quality sleep comes from that knocked out, face plant, tiny bit of drool on your pillow… deep sleep.

Although you may feel like alcohol helps you relax… and caffeine doesn’t affect your ability to fall asleep… both can interfere with the quality of the sleep you’re getting.

In other words… you may still “sleep” for 7-9 hours … but the quality of that sleep will suffer.

  • stick to the suggested amounts of alcohol
  • reduce caffeine after 2 pm

Pounding a Caniac combo from Raising Cane’s right before bed might sound like a great idea… and delicious… but it’ll definitely impact your ability to get good, restful sleep.

  • eat a normal to smaller sized meal; ideally, 2-3 hours prior to bedtime
  • limit what your drinking 2-3 hours prior to bedtime

This has been key for quite a few of my clients.

Take a few moments before bed and list what’s on your mind:

  • who you need to call
  • new ideas you have
  • items you need to pick up
  • emails you need to send
  • bills you need to pay

Clear your mind and relax.

“Oh hello kettle, this is the pot…you’re black.”

This one hits home with me.  I’m constantly wandering down the youtube rabbit hole right before bed.  

The fact is, digital devices stimulate our brain and limit the brains ability to produce melatonin.

  • 45-60 minutes before bed – shut down all electronics: laptops, phones, tablets, TVs
  • use the nighttime dimmer if being on your phone or computer is absolutely necessary

Whatever you enjoy that calms you down … do it:

  • stretching
  • going for a walk
  • easy reading
  • meditate
  • breathing exercises

Two schools of thought here… experiment and see what you like:

  1. Warm water before bed can help us relax (add some magnesium-based epsom salts)
  2. Cold water stimulates a strong parasympathetic nervous system response – keep it short and very cold

summary

  • Sleep quality is important
  • Test out and find a nightly routine that works for you
  • Our bodies love routine and will work for us if we create consistency

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