I’ve long been a confirmed member of the 6 hours or less sleep club which I hadn’t thought was a big deal until my recent dive into healthy lifestyles. I was looking into ways to get rid of the last of the fat around my middle when I started to bump into the role of cortisol in fat deposition around your waist. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. Unfortunately your body sees amounts of caffeine in excess of about 300 mg as a stress, as it also does for inadequate amounts of sleep.
I found the video below entertaining and also a little alarming, particularly this
‘subjects who slept just six hours a night for 14 days had the cognitive wherewithal of someone with a .1% blood alcohol level. That’s legally drunk.’
Starting by measuring what my normal night was using an UP24 band I then experimented to find ways to get me closer to 7 hours of sleep a night. Here are some of the things that seem to have an impact for me.
Get some exercise – who hasn’t had the experience of seeing parents running their kids around in the hope that they will get tired out and sleep that night? It works for adults too? Implementing a regular exercise routine can really help stablise sleeping patterns. Just make sure that you’re not exercising just before bed. The elevation in body temperature can potentially be counter productive.
Chill out – I’ve found that I need the temperature to be below 72F and ideally around 70F for me to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Cut back on the stimulants – Avoid doing things before bed that wind you up, no coffee, exercise or things such as high intensity video games.
Eliminate screen time – the ever present screen – iPhone, iPad, laptop etc. inhibits melatonin production which makes it harder to fall asleep. Turn off the screens 30 – 60 minutes before bed
Review your plan for the following day – an hour or so is a good time to do a brain dump of all the ideas that a swirling around and to clarify next actions for them. This is also a good time to review your schedule for the next day to make sure that you have everything that you need for the day and to determine what is a must do for the day.