Signature Talk: Sleep Redefined

Do you ever catch yourself thinking I should be able to sleep well, like a normal person. The problem with changing our sleep habits is that we have self-defeating thoughts that set unrealistic expectations, exaggerate the problem, and leave us feeling hopeless. Sleep is the foundation of wellness and is the single best way to reset the body and the mind.

Your Wake-up Call 

  • Sleep is solvable; lack of sleep is not a badge of honor
  • Don’t stay awake in bed for longer than 20 minutes 
  • Lack of sleep increases cortisol, appetite, fat storage and decreases thyroid 
  • The master hormone insulin doesn’t work as well when an individual is sleeping poorly. One night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin-resistant as a person with type 2 diabetes. 

Understand Your Circadian Rhythm

Common Issues with Sleep

Four Critical Recommendations 

  1. Light: understand the effect of sunlight and artificial light on sleep
    • Get outdoors: get direct sunlight for at least 15 minutes prior to 9 a.m. 
    • The Two-Hour Guideline: protect your evening  
    • The One-Hour Boundary: turn down artificial light and screens before bed
  2. Temperature control 
    • Understand your high and low body temperature each day; need to drop one to two degrees to fall asleep 
    • Sleep at 60 to 68 degrees
  3. Consistent meal routine
    • Plan to eat three meals and within one hour of waking
  4. Consistent movement for 30-60 minutes per day
    • Don’t hit snooze and aim for an exact wake-up time five days per week. 

Five Sleep-Saving Strategies 

  1. Bedroom Basics 
  • Blackout curtains/Sleep mask
  • Get electronics out of your bedroom or at the very least six feet away 
  • Cool bedding and bedclothes
  1. Beverage Curfews 
  • Caffeine has a half life of around five to eight hours, which provokes anti-sleep hormones 
  • Cut caffeine off by 2 p.m. or think about cycling it: two days on, three days off 
  • Alcohol significantly disrupts REM sleep, throws off body’s balance of wakefulness 
  • Wrap up drinks three hours before hitting the sack and drink more water 
  1. Quality Movement 
  • Muscle is a reservoir for anti-aging hormones, focus on a superset strength training style and aerobic activity 
  • Morning or afternoon workouts are ideal, evening workouts problematic depending on the intensity 
  1. Evening Routine
  • Stretch routine, legs up the wall, elevate legs
  • Breathwork: especially 4-7-8 (prolonged exhalation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system or our feel-good system)
  • Brain dump 
  • Empty the bladder.

Your Next Moves 

1. Identify how you will live differently during your day to improve your sleep.

Examples include: increased time outdoors, reduced artificial light, exercise in the morning, etc. 

I will… 

2. Decide on a new strategy that you can plug into your evening routine to improve your sleep. Examples include: warm shower or bath, connect practice, etc. 

Each evening, I will…  

3. Create and maintain a consistent sleep schedule five days per week. 

  1. I will go to bed between _________ and _________ . 
  1. I will wake up at  _________ . 

Recommended Reading

Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson 

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

Power of When by Michael J. Breus, PhD

Lights Out by T.S. Wiley

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker 

The Sleep Solution by Chris Winter, MD 

Recommended Listening

Inspired Intentions Podcast:

Sleep Resources 

  • Blue-Light Blocking Glasses,
  • Cooling Mattress Top,
  • Mouth tape,
  • MZOO Sleep Eye Mask,
  • Hatch Alarm Clock,
  • Smartphone Apps: iSleep Easy, Headspace, Calm, iBreath