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Get More Sleep – That’s an Order!

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Get More Sleep – That’s an Order!

By Dianna Marcks and Daniel Berg

I have a question for you.

How much would you pay for a supplement that would make you smarter, better able to handle stress, help you live significantly longer, gave you a better sense of humor, made you look better, improved your skin, removed wrinkles, made you sexier, increased your libido, gave you energy, increased your productivity, increased your earning potential and helped you lose weight without exercise?  Well, I have one and it is free…It’s called sleep.

Sleep is underrated and not well understood.   Science is just now really starting to understand some of the complex and vital brain, body and hormone processes that occur as part of a natural sleep cycle.  The sleep window is not a simple block of time when you shut down.  It is a very complex process broken down into stages that progress over 7-8 hours (9-12 hours for our kids.)  Disrupting or eliminating the ends or middle of this process-flow will have serious effects on cognitive function and physical body functions such as recovery and rejuvenation.  We cannot underscore enough the value of a good and full cycle of sleep. 

There is a reason that nearly all high achieving athletes, executives, entrepreneurs and celebrities maximize themselves by maximizing their sleep.

This is a guide with some suggestions to help you get that much needed sleep. Your goal is 7-8 hours.  If you brag (like one of us used to) that I can live on 5-6 hours; yes you can. But you are wrong if you think you are operating optimally.  Clinical and physiological studies conclusively show that only a few % of the population don’t need 7-8 hours.  Your mind and body function so much better with consistent 7-8 hours.

Here are some habits you can easily take on to improve your natural 7-8 hours of sleep:

1. Stick to a sleep schedule  This one is hardest to do, but the most powerful of all tips.  We all should try as best we can to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Your body loves repetition and your body generally has a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Unfortunately sleeping late on weekends doesn’t make up for poor sleep during the week. If necessary, set an alarm for bedtime. If you’re struggling with sleep or know you do not get enough, this is the #1 priority from the list; stick to a regular sleep schedule.

Reading before bed is therapeutic and seeds positive thoughts before you go into unconscious sleep.

2. Plan your day the night before. This is a big one. Get the thoughts and open ended issues out of your mind.  Keep a pen and pad by the bed to unload any new ideas.

3. Don’t exercise too late in the day. Exercise is great, and we should try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days. But try to make it no later than 2-3 hours before bed.

4. Avoid caffeine & nicotine  Coffee, tea, sodas, pre-workout supplements with caffeine and even chocolate will contain caffeine.  Caffeine takes 5-7 hours to be processed by your liver. Consuming these in the afternoon can have an effect on your sleep. Nicotine is no brainer – just don’t.

5. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed  This seems counterintuitive because alcohol makes us “feel” drowsy.  But alcohol in your blood reduces your REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep and not providing full rest and recovery.

6. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.  A light snack high in protein before bed is okay, but a heavy meal can cause digestive and metabolic issues, which interferes with sleep.  Ever have a big steak or meal before bed and you feel really hot and cannot sleep? This is the body trying to burn off the fuel you just put in your bloodstream and it has nothing to do with it but to burn it off and put it into fat stores.

7. Heavy and highly intensive exercise can affect sleep too. Overtraining can impede sleep, so give yourself enough recovery time in your workout and proper nutrition.  If you have recovery supplement questions please reach out.

8. Make sure to leave time to relax before bed.  It’s important to have time before bed to let your mind unwind. Try to schedule your days so that there is time to relax before bed. Reading before bed is therapeutic and seeds positive thoughts before you go into unconscious sleep.  Your unconscious mind will focus on these during sleep and plant ideas in your memories for later use.  Your brain does some crazy cool stuff to make you better during sleep if you let it do its thing.

9. Have a dark, cool (in temperature), electronics free bedroom.   We sleep better at night if the temperature in the room is kept on the cool side. Optimum is 65-68 F. for sleeping.  Devices need to be off at least 30 minutes before bed.  The blue wavelength of light they emit, suppresses the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin being a hormone that regulates sleep/wake cycles – with it increasing in the evening to induce sleep.

10. Avoid the Clock.  We often have an alarm clock, turn it away from view so you don’t have to worry about the time while trying to sleep.  Also avoid the blue or white LED lights.  There is a reason red is the most popular color.

11. Get the right sunlight exposure.  Natural Sun exposure during the day helps us to regulate sleeping patterns. Try to get outside in the natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes per day.

12. Don’t stay in bed if you (really) can’t sleep.  If you find yourself still in bed for more than 20 minutes, or you’re starting to get anxious in bed, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy. Anxiety while trying to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.  You’re wasting the time anyway.  People commonly ruminate about something in bed and getting up and breaking the pattern often can then set your mind at ease and you can move on to more calmer topics and sleep can overtake you easier.  Just do not get up and pick up your phone or laptop.  The blue light from the screen will disrupt your melatonin cycle and put you in task mode.

If you are still having sleep problems, either not falling asleep or disrupted sleep, supplements can be utilized with caution.

From a sleep supplement standpoint here are some comments from our experience:

Make sure you are getting a good multivitamin. Magnesium is a common deficit and helps with sleep natural sleep processes.  Magnesium supplements 100-200mg, are always a good option if you’re questioning your micro-nutrient intake.  This works for many people as a daily regimen with no downsides.

Avoid prescription sleep aids such as Lunesta, Ambien, Sonata and others.  These are really sedatives and will induce a sleep, but blocks the required brain processes and physical processes that are part of normal sleep.  This is why people never feel rested and get brain fog with the use of these products.  It also is the reason we hear in the news about impaired drivers and people doing crazy things after their use.  It is really extreme sleep deprivation. It is a very common over the counter sleep aid.  One of the problems is that it is only part of the biochemical story to produce sleep in the body.  Since everyone reacts differently it can either be ineffective at normal doses, 1-5 mg or it can be a stimulant and prevent or disrupt sleep.   In fact many people tend to “overdose” melatonin and end up with night terrors.

Phenibut: This is a relatively unknown over the counter sleep and anti-anxiety supplement that is fairly powerful.  It is not readily available.  Reach out to us for recommendations if you need to.  Please use with caution. It is not recommended for long term use.  The effect is within 20 minutes and is very noticeable.  We have used it ourselves and can speak to it. 300-600g can provide help with anxiety and ruminating on stressful topics at night.  Its effect on REM and NREM sleep patterns is unknown to us at this time.

Another full sleep aid we recommend is Sleep Multiplier by Prestige labs.  It is a fully label-disclosed blend of bio actives that enhance the natural sleep inducing processes and your natural circadian rhythm.  We like it because it is not a sedative and does not interfere with your natural sleep processes.  You wake feeling great and rested. It does contain 4 mg of melatonin so be careful if you are already taking melatonin.  Do not do both.  We find Sleep Multiplier to have less of a knock out effect, but a more gentle quality sleep enhancer.  You need to give it a few nights trial before judging or increasing dose. . It is most effective when combined with improved sleep hygiene habits discussed above.

So I would try to implement good active recovery into your workouts with nutrition and enough rest time.  I would implement pre-sleep hygiene as suggested above.  These are always what we discuss with our clients and most times it does the trick. 

Wishing you a Well-Fit Life…

Dianna Marcks and Daniel Berg

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