How to improve sleep

HOW TO IMPROVE SLEEP

One of the most important thing for weight loss, muscle building and health in general is sleep, the quality of it, and getting enough of it. You have to look at how to improve sleep if you want good progress.

Lack of sleep can cause weight loss plateaus, increase appetite, slow down recoveryy adittional stress and a plethora of health related problems, from cancer to diabetes and so on.

I’m a night shift worker so I know how badly lack of sleep can affect you. The list below in how to improve sleep is what I use and it has helped me and my wife tremendously.

ELIMINATE BLUE LIGHT AT NIGHT

Light at night, throws your body’s biological clock aka circadian rhythm out of whack – especially blue light.

Even dim light can interfere with your circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion, which in turns causes your sleep to suffer.

So if you can’t stop playing with your smartphones or laptops at night before bed, I suggest using apps that at least somewhat limit blue light.

RECOMMENDED:

Twilight for android and f.lux for your computer. 

EXERCISE DAILY

Physical activity improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration (Loprinzi, Cardinal, 2011).

Exercise may also be used as a tool in how to improve sleep in other ways, because it reduces stress and tires you out.

Be it early in the morning or afternoon. Exercise may also help reset the sleep wake cycle by raising body temperature slightly, then allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later.

SLEEP AIDS

Taurine

It is an amino acid, that reduces cortisol levels and increases production of GABA. It’s a neural inhibitor and a very is an effective anti anxiety supplement. It helps us relax, as it is our bodies “off” switch.

RECOMMENDED DOSE: 3 g

Magnesium citrate

It is the most powerful natural relaxer, an antidote to stress. It is THE relaxation mineral, decreases the activity of sympathetic nervous system, reducing stress and in turn allows you to relax.

Supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency (Abbasi, Kimiagar, Sadeghniiat, Shirazi, Hedayati, Rashidkhani, 2012).

RECOMMENDED DOSE: 5 g

Melantonin

Does melatonin work? Yes it does!

Melatonin is a hormone and a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

Its the body’s most efficient free-radical scavenger. It has hypnotic (sleep-inducing) and sedative (anxiety-relieving) effects.

In a review of 15 studies of sleep in healthy adults, the scientists noted that administering melatonin significantly reduced the so called sleep latency (the amount of time you need to fall asleep), boosted sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in bed spent asleep) and increased the total sleep duration (Brzezinski et al., 2005).

Exogenous melatonin supplementation along with reduced effect of shift work is very important from the practical point of view (Bilski, 2004).

Phenibut

You may have heard of Phenibut, and chances are you heard about it being a powerful nootropic. But I use it for sleep. Since it is a powerful anxiolytic for stress reduction. On top of that it stimulates GABA receptors and supports sleep.

Phenibut was created by the good old’ crazy Russians, and has usually been used to help deal with anxiety and stress since the 1960’s.

Originally it was developed for astronauts, to help them eliminate stress of living in space for a prolonged period of time.

My experience has been that it makes it easier to fall asleep, and achieve deep and restful sleep.

RECOMMENDED DOSE: 250-1000 mg

NIGHT SHIFTS

You need to simulate night time as much as possible. Your room should be like a coffin, cold and pitch black.

I personally use blackout shades and heavy curtains. They prevent even the tiniest bit of light to come through, which is a powerful cue that tells your brain, HEY IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP!

You may also want to consider ear plugs.

How to improve sleep
This is how your room should look like

 

By following these tips and suggestions, on how to improve sleep, your sleep will improve immensely regardless if you are a night shift worker or a regular peon.

If you have a tip of your own in how to improve sleep, feel free to add it in the comment section.

 

 

REFERENCES

  1. Loprinzi, P. D., & Cardinal, B. J. (2011). Association between objectively-measured physical activity and sleep, NHANES 2005–2006. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 4(2), 65-69. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755296611000317
  2. Brzezinski, A., Vangel, M. G., Wurtman, R. J., Norrie, G., Zhdanova, I., Ben-Shushan, A., & Ford, I. (2005). Effects of exogenous melatonin on sleep: a meta-analysis. Sleep medicine reviews, 9(1), 41-50. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087079204000607
  3. Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: a double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 17(12). http://jrms.mui.ac.ir/index.php/jrms/article/view/8839
  4. Bilski, B. (2004). Shift and night work–is it a cancer risk factor?.Medycyna pracy56(2), 175-178. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/20067218

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Author: Ivan Vlahinić

I am not a scientist. But i don’t have to be a scientist to be able to deftly use the scientific method in your daily life. In fact, you can be one helluva ‘thinker’ (in the scientific sense) and not be a scientist. For instance, nutritionists and personal trainers like me, who use and embrace science and the scientific method are better trainers because of it. Why? Because rather than just being a parrot and telling my clients what to do, because that’s what I have been told when I was younger I understand the “why” of my advice. And if I dont? Then I fully admit that i don’t, and that’s fine. The more you learn in the field of fitness and nutrition, the more you realize there is a lot of stuff that you dont know. But this is something that is true of all fields of work or life. The scientific method is the single most powerful way of thinking, that’s why I embrace it. Anecdotes are nice, but data and facts trumps anecdotes.

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