By David Scott Kipers

More Better Sleep

My grammatically correct family would have a fit over that one. Scott, you can’t use the phrase “more better”; if something is better, it is better. It is simply a comparison of quality, not a scale. It is the same thought process as the fact that my younger brother is older than I am. But, that is exactly what we are going to investigate. I want to have more sleep. I want to have better sleep. I want to have more better sleep.

Sleep is arguably the most important thing you can do to build and retain body health. It is the regenerative state and allows both body and mind to repair the damage and wear from the day’s activity. Because of its importance, I am going to use as a theme over the nest several posts. So sit back, relax and try to stay awake while we discuss that blissful state of more and better sleep.

Today, I want to recap a list of five things you can do immediately to improve both quality and quantity of your slumber. This list has been suggested by a nationally known sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus. Two reasons for this. One, you can sleep better tonight and two, it is a cheat to get this post written. Kaizen. You may have noted an absence of posts for the last several weeks. I fell off the wagon, and became that famous quote of of physics, “a body at rest tends to stay at rest.” This small step will allow us to build momentum and become that other body in physics, “a body in motion.” Enough, let’s move on to rest….

Five steps to improve sleep

Stick to one schedule

Wake up at the same time every day, no matter when you went to bed. Your body loves consistency and sleep rhythm is no different. By getting up the same time every day, you begin to build the routine and need for sleep at the same time every night. Regular sleep is better sleep. There are a number of apps that will help remind you to start winding down your day. Remember, it all starts with waking up the same time every weekday and every weekend day.

Don’t drink caffeine after two

Caffeine has a half-life of between five and six hours, so you want to allow time to eliminate the impact. Even if you believe you can fall asleep after a cup of coffee, you typically will stay in stage one or two of sleep and not get the quality REM sleep your mind needs to process and regenerate.

No alcohol for three hours prior to bed

The body processes one drink in one hour. While some studies indicate one or two glasses of wine can improve sleep, anything more will detract from quality sleep, again that stage three and four physically restorative sleep. This is one of the causes of hangovers as  even though your body may be passed out, it is not the deep healthy sleep you need.

Stop exercise four hours before bedtime

Exercise is great for making us tired and ultimately ready for sleep and sleep is when you get the real benefits of exercise in the rebuilding of body and mind that makes us stronger. But, we all know the heightened metabolism of exercise stays with us long after we are done with the workout. By allowing time for the body systems to slow down and cool down, sleep is improved. You rest more completely when your core temperature is less than a wakeful state and exercise elevates that core. This is also why sleep is improved in a cooler bedroom temperature.

Wake up and spend 5 to 15 minutes in the sun

In the hunter-gatherer environment, we all woke up with the sun and began our day of hunting and gathering. Even the most dedicated “night owls” among us developed this family trait within the last couple centuries, which is nothing compared to the ancestral pull that the sun has on our animal brain developed over millennia. Just like a set schedule, having the sun start your circadian rhythm will build the routine of going to sleep at a set time. This will also shut down the manufacture of melatonin in the brain and cuts through the fog. Just stand by a window and your eyes have special receptors that react and shut down the sleep cycle. This starts the day better and will lead to a better shut down at the end and blissful slumber.

There you have it, a simple to remember and follow set of steps that you can do now and sleep more better tonight. It even has a memory trick in it so you didn’t even have to take any notes. Over the next several posts, we will talk more about some details to improve the quality of your sleepy time and work on how much a body actually needs. A lack of sleep is not something you have to take lying down, you can take action to have more better sleep.

HOW: I hope everyone is walking and eating an apple everyday. Double points if you can do it at the same time.  😉