- Your work suffers – as you are less focused and motivated.
- Your marriage suffers – as you are more stressed and less patient.
- Your decision making – as you are more impulsive.
- Your body gets fatter – as missing sleep dysregulates your metabolism, fat burning, and blood sugar.
Now, it's a simple fact of 21st-century life that we don't always get adequate sleep. Between work, families, and other responsibilities, those extra few hours of needed sleep often get put on the back burner.
And that’s precisely the goal of this article: to arm you with 3 tips to sleep better this week.
You deserve a healthy, long, and happy life. These sleep tips will help…
First, we need to get REAL about the 7 ways POOR sleep is literally killing your body.
Because you're reading this, it's safe to assume that you've experienced the groggy, irritable feeling the day after a bad night of sleep. Now, it's very easy to write these symptoms off as being an “unpleasant but bearable” side effect that's easily fixed with a cup of coffee.
YET, if you consistently sleep less than 6-7 hours… new research shows that there are more serious consequences than mere grogginess. New research reveals that even a few days of poor sleep creates the following dangerous effects in your body:
- Dramatically impairs optimal brain function (1, 2)*
- Halts your ability to lose weight (3, 4, 5)*
- Decreases recovery from exercise (6)*
- Impairs immune function & disease resistance (7, 8)*
- Increases your risk for heart disease (9)*
- Promotes insulin resistance and diabetes (10)*
- Increases the risk for depression (11)*
Many of these effects happen after ONE single night of poor sleep. Most become very noticeable after 2-3 nights of poor sleep.
Now, if you've read our foundational article “Weight Loss For Men Over 40” – you know that you must get ~7 hours of sleep before even attempting to lose weight. Otherwise, you'll simply end up losing muscle – not fat (the scary truth).
That's why we're going to spend the next few minutes going over 3 simple tips to sleep better you can start using today for more restful sleep.
Strategy #1: Build Your Rock Solid Sleep Routine
The first of our 3 tips to sleep better rests on one fundamental principle: the human body runs on a series of “biological clocks.”
- You have a clock that controls your internal temperature.
- You have a clock that controls when you get hungry.
- You also have a very important sleep clock.
In fact, there is a pea-sized region in the center of your brain called the Pineal Gland that naturally secretes the relaxation hormone Melatonin at night.
In the morning, the sunlight inhibits melatonin secretion to restart your body to its dynamic, daytime phase.
Since your body thrives on its regular biological clocks, you should aim to both fall asleep & wake up at consistent times each day to maintain your optimal sleep rhythm.
By failing to maintain a consistent wake-sleep cycle, your body is forced to constantly “guess” which times of the day to activate energy and which times to promote restfulness.
This sleep rhythm “confusion” causes the dysregulation of key hormones like cortisol and epinephrine – which leads to fluctuating energy & restless sleep.
Here are 2 key steps to optimize your sleep rhythm:
Step #1: Create Your Evening “Sleep Ritual:” To improve your sleep, designate a 45-minute time period each evening that you will aim to go to bed during each night. This consistency trains your body to relax at the same time each night, which is crucial for effective sleep.
If your mind normally races at night, consider the following:
- Drink a relaxing tea – like Raizana Sleepy Tea.
- Spend 10 minutes journaling about your day.
- Read a book (instead of TV). More on this in a bit…
Step #2: Create Your Morning “Wake Ritual:” To improve your morning energy & alertness, designate a similar 45-minute morning window that you will consistently aim to get up during each day.
Again, this will train your body to regulate morning wakefulness hormones like cortisol & epinephrine to energize your body.
Pro Tip: Have you ever wondered why your body feels stiff in the morning? And what you can do about it?
Morning stiffness is actually due to the stagnation of lymphatic fluid – which normally helps regulate both your immune system and flow of interstitial fluids in your body.
When lymph gets stagnant during sleep, you feel heavy.
The trick: move your lymph in the morning. 5 minutes of basic stretching and exercise moves lymph tremendously well. Set a small timer (like this one), and perform some squats, arm circles, neck circles, & jumping jacks.
This simple morning routine will help your body feel 10x more alert, light, supple, and energetic. Test it out tomorrow.
Strategy #2: Watch What You Drink At Night
The second of our 3 tips to sleep better has to do with what you drink BEFORE you hit the sack. There are 2 main liquid concerns when it comes to sleep…
Avoid Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol is a nervous system depressant. Practically, this means that alcohol impairs the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of your body.
As a depressant, alcohol is inherently relaxing, and can actually help you fall asleep faster… BUT… here’s the snag.
Since alcohol is a systemic depressant, it also affects your brain's ability to carry out a critical phase of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM).
This is one reason that too much alcohol makes your brain sluggish.
If you value retaining the information you learn each day, it’s probably best to skip alcohol close to bedtime.
Your liver can metabolize one drink per hour, so having an occasional drink earlier in the night is fine from a sleep perspective.
Taper Your Fluid Intake: At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, if you drink a lot of water in the evening, you will have to wake up to pee in the middle of the night.
Waking at night to urinate is only exacerbated by prostate swelling that many guys over 40 are facing.
The solution is simple: start tapering your water intake 4 hours before bed to keep your bladder empty.
You'll wake less and sleep better.
A lot of guys already use this strategy; however, most miss the second aspect of tapering fluid intake—rehydrating immediately upon waking!
When you wake in the morning – especially if you've been properly tapering your evening water consumption – your body is dehydrated. Each of your 100 trillion cells requires water to produce energy and function optimally.
Within the first 10 minutes of getting up in the morning, drink 32 oz. of good ol' H2O.
This small habit alone will enhance your morning energy. Pair this water drinking habit with 5 minutes of stretches when you wake up for greater morning energy.
Now onto the very last of our tips to sleep better…
Strategy #3: Create Your Perfect Sleep Environment
The final sleeping strategy may be the most overlooked of all— creating a perfect sleep environment in your bedroom.
Most guys don't realize that both the temperature of your bedroom and the amount of light you're exposed to at night dramatically impact your sleep quality.
Here are the 2 sleep environment issues I see guys face:
Problem #1: Too much bedroom heat—Keeping your room temperature too hot is killing your body's ability to unwind.
Biologically speaking, heat means activity.
Anytime your metabolism increases – be that after exercise, like our FREE 24-min workout, or eating a big meal – your body produces heat.
When your bedroom is too hot, you never fully relax.
The solution: Cool down your bedroom to 63-71 °F.
I challenge you to run your own little experiment. Cool down your room's temperature settings, and see how it impacts your sleep. Post your results in the comments below.
If better sleep is not enough of a benefit of cooling your room, consider this: new research has shown that sleeping in a cool room dramatically increases fat burning (13).
Greater fat-burning all night long while doing absolutely NOTHING is a pretty damn good deal.
Problem #2: Too much bedroom light—Remember our talk about sleep clocks? In particular, recall how your Pineal Gland produces Melatonin at night to prepare us for sleep.
When we are exposed to too much light in the evening (mobile phones, TVs, computer screens), your brain's natural melatonin secretion shuts off.
Less natural melatonin production = less sleep.
To improve your sleep, I recommend you limit the technology in your room and set boundaries for yourself.
- 1-2 hours before bed, turn off your computer, TV, & phone.
- If you live with somebody who stays up later than you, use a sleep mask. Here's one that I use when traveling.
Summary: Your Tips To Sleep Better Action Steps
I hope you have gotten a lot of useful strategies from this article on the best tips to sleep better. Here's the quick & dirty summary of the key takeaway points:
Key Point #1: Designate a consistent night sleep time. This allows your body to wind down.
Key Point #2: Create a consistent morning ritual. Just like the evening, wake around the same time each day.
Key Point #3: 5 min of morning stretching & drink 32oz H2O. Remember, we want to move lymph in the morning and rehydrate your body for more energy.
Key Point #4: Lower your room temperature to 63-71°. Your body needs to be cooler at night to fully relax. Heat = body activity = restless sleep.
Key Point #5: Avoid lights, TVs, computers, & phones. The light from these devices kills your brain's natural melatonin production, which, by proxy, harms your sleep.
That’s it. Test out those 5 strategies and let me know how your sleep improves.
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Liked this post? Please share it with a friend or family member who could use a few tips to sleep better!
Also, drop me a comment below and let me know…
• How many hours are you sleeping on average right now?
• What of these tips to sleep better are you going to try?
• Which tips to sleep better are already working for you?
I look forward to speaking with you in the comments below.
Drop me a line. Your new friend & weight loss coach,
P.S. If you haven't seen my FREE 1-Day Meal Plan for busy fathers, I highly recommend you click here to get a free copy sent directly to your email. Remember: nutrition and sleep are two foundations of health.
*Always remember: weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual. Just because these studies cite certain data does not mean you will experience these results/outcomes. Always consult with your doctor before making decisions about your health. This is not medical advice – simply well-researched information and tips to sleep better. Thanks for reading!