Sleep, an often-neglected health practice, can drastically elevate both body and mind performance, making it one of the most valuable wellness hacks available.
Although it can be tough to prioritize getting enough sleep, it's crucial to ensure you're getting the optimal amount and quality of it. In this article, we'll delve into some proven sleep-enhancing hacks to help you maximize your performance and improve your overall health.
But first, let's explore why getting sufficient sleep is so crucial. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Insufficient sleep can lead to a range of issues, including lack of energy, sugar cravings, afternoon energy crashes, and overeating or binging. Furthermore, studies indicate that getting less than eight hours of sleep per night can result in cognitive function decline later in life, and those who suffer from insomnia have three times the risk of developing various diseases.
In 2002, the Neuron Journal reported that a night of sleep resulted in a 20% increase in motor speed without a loss of accuracy. Similarly, the 21st Annual Meeting of Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) found that athletes who got extra sleep had a higher likelihood of improving their performance in a game. The Journal Nature published an article in 2004 that stated that sleep plays a facilitating role in a process of insight that leads to mental restructuring, allowing for a sudden gain of explicit knowledge and qualitatively changed behavior.
While sleep quantity is critical, studies indicate that sleep quality is equally, if not more, important. So, what can you do to ensure that you get the right amount of high-quality sleep necessary to maximize performance?
Here are 10 tips to improve your sleep:
1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends, to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm and improve the quality of your sleep.
2. Boost your melatonin levels by eating foods like pumpkin seeds or wearing blue light-blocking glasses, such as Gunnar glasses, for at least three hours before bed.
3. Reduce light and noise pollution in your bedroom by using blackout curtains, covering lights and radios, or wearing earplugs or using white noise.
4. Track your sleep to learn what works best for you, using apps like Sleep Cycle or Beddit.
5. Establish a pre-bedtime routine that relaxes you, such as doing some light yoga or meditation, writing in a journal, or having an intimate moment with your partner.
6. Avoid consuming caffeine and other stimulants in the afternoon, including chocolate, coffee, and green tea.
7. Try natural sleep aids like relaxing teas or supplements, such as magnesium or valerian root.
8. Create a comfortable sleep environment, with a supportive mattress and pillows, breathable sheets, and a temperature between 60-67°F.
9. Exercise regularly, but avoid working out too close to bedtime, as it can keep you awake.
10. Seek professional help if you have persistent sleep problems, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, or if your sleep is affecting your daily life.