Imagine the feeling when you wake up after the perfect night sleep…you spring out of bed full of energy ready to take on the day – you feel alert, happy, confident, and motivated because your cognitive ability can be increased by as much as 50%. Unfortunately for most people this is an uncommon scenario… but why?
Sleep is an extremely important part of your overall well-being, it plays big role in how you think and feel during the day. Since we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, it makes sense to optimise the benefits. The fact is, there are a number variables that determine the quality of your sleep – here I will show you how to use some simple methods to boost your chances of getting the perfect night sleep.
There are a few basic principles I see people getting wrong that I want to correct.
Principle 1 – The quality of the sleep is more important than the quantity of your sleep
A lot of people waste time in the light phase of sleep not really accessing the benefits of the deep REM sleep.
Principle 2 – What you eat directly affects how well you sleep
When you sleep your body and brain are in recovery mode. You need to feed it with the right fuel to ensure it recharges to full capacity.
Principle 3 – You don’t need 8 hours to get a good night sleep
There has been research done in California that actually proves there is no statistical reason to sleep longer that 6 ½ hours a night. The healthier you are – the less sleep you need!
So, I want to address the “quality of sleep” statement because this is probably the core of the problem for most people – as for others, it could be difficulty falling asleep in the first place.This can be determinant on a number of factors which you should identify and address immediately; reducing caffeine intake after 2 pm is a good start.
Here are 3 ways to improve the quality of your sleep which I have summarised from Dave Asprey’s book – ‘The Bullet Proof Diet’
Eat more fat at dinner
You need fat in your diet to fuel the brain, you also need it to fuel the body because when you sleep it craves fuel for muscle recovery. Getting a good serve of clean fats can provide your body and brain with the energy it needs to restore itself so you wake up feeling fresh, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle the day.
A great way to get some extra fat before you sleep is adding coconut oil or MCT oil to a green tea before you sleep and/or adding grass fed butter to your meals.
It’s important to have the right kinds of fat: clean fats from avocados, grass fed-animal fat and coconut oil are the best options.
Take fish or Krill oil
Most people know that fish oil is beneficial for you but they don’t know why. DHA, which is the omega 3 fatty acid found in fish and krill oil has a number of benefits to the body and brain.
DHA supports the secretion of serotonin in the brain which is the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good – this is particularly important when you sleep because this affects how you feel when you wake up.
I noticed a big difference when I started taking Krill oil before bed. Studies have shown it can improve mood, reduce anxiety and improve insulin sensitivity – placebo or not, I highly recommend taking a 1 gram capsule before bed.
Drink whey protein before bed
Your body needs protein to repair when you sleep, if you live an active lifestyle and go to the gym during the day like me, you will want to include some whey protein in your nightly ritual before you hit the pillow.
All the muscle repair from the day’s workout occurs when you sleep so you want to support this process. The most effective option as recommended by Dave in his book is grass-fed – undenatured whey protein concentrate.
‘Getting high quality sleep is one of the most important variables in improving your brain function, longevity, and performance in all aspects of life’ – Dave Asprey
I implemented the above techniques and it had a profound impact on the quality of my sleep. I start my day full of energy, enthusiasm, and vitality because I get my sleep right!
If you would like further information on how to boost the quality of your day check out this blog on morning rituals.
If you have any other sleep hacks that work for you, please share in the comments below