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How To Hack Your Sleep – Strategies that actually work

Woman Stretching

High quality sleep is very important. Why? you may ask. The body needs to rest and reset, needs time to heal and grow. Sleep assists our body tremendously for all daily activities + our overall wellbeing including:

  • Improves brain function
  • Aids in muscle recovery
  • Boosts longevity
  • Balances your hormones
  • Protects your heart
  • Fights fat [1]bulletproof, 2021)

Did you know? That we’ve been told continuously that a good nights sleep is equivalent to 8 hours per night. However, studies show that it’s actually not about how many hours you’ve slept, but the quality of the sleep. The largest sleep study ever conducted on 1.1 million people shows that it’s quality, not quantity, that matters most. [1]

Essentially, if going to sleep earlier or sleeping in later isn’t necessarily the answer.. how do you hack your body to ensure the sleep you’re getting is of highest quality?

Turn off the screens 1-2 hours before bed

Blue light sends your melatonin out of whack (the hormone which tells your body it’s time to sleep) instead, it tells your body that it should be awake. This may be the reason you’re lying awake for an additional hour struggling to shut off. Even better, turn up your warm light on your phone screen via the display settings all night until the morning.

Work with your body. What is your sleep chronotype?

Something I found really interesting is the recent discovery that, waking up earlier doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be more productive. Everyone’s circadian rhythm (body clock) is different. Which means, if you’re getting up earlier than your body prefers, you’ll crash sooner, there will be times in the day you’ll be unproductive etc. If you sleep according to your natural and personal circadian rhythm, you’ll be more alert during the day and sleep better in general.

Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert, identified four sleep chronotypes (aka your circadian rhythm personality). These are:

  • Bear: Most people fall into this category. Bears’ circadian rhythm follows the sun, and they sleep easily. If you’re a bear, recharge during the mid-afternoon, when bears feel an energy dip.
  • Wolf: If you’re a night person (aka wolf), burn the midnight oil and go to bed later so there will be less tossing and turning. Get most of your work done between noon and 2pm, and around 5pm — those are wolves’ most productive times of day.
  • Lion: Lions wake up early and power through the morning. If you’re a lion, go to bed early instead of binging on Netflix.
  • Dolphin: If you struggle to fall asleep and wake up frequently during the night, you’re a dolphin. Schedule your most demanding work between mid-morning and early afternoon.

Source: [1]Bulletproof, 2021

Chronotypes

Let’s talk supplements!

Personally, and according to other individuals experiences.. one of the best supplements to take for sleep is ZMA – this is simply a blend of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6. All highly important vitamins for sleep. to calm anxiety and for recovery. Also, important minerals and vitamins that so many of us lack! Be warned however, when reading a ton of forums about the blend of these vitamins, it seems to make people experience vivid and sometimes strange dreams!

Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D are linked with poor quality sleep.[2][3] There’s a strong chance you’re deficient in it — more than half the world’s population isn’t getting enough of this vital nutrient.

Reishi (Medicinal Mushroom): My personal favourite sleep supplement. It’s widely known to be a powerful medicinal mushroom for bettering sleep and reducing stress and fatigue. Reishi mushroom has been around for around 2000 years. The Chinese used them to enhance calmness and were even a favourite remedy of Chinese royalty for increasing longevity. Read our blog “The Powerful World Of Medicinal Mushrooms”.

 

Want to try a technique that was used during World War II to relax the soldiers and reduce sleep fatigue? It’s called the Military Method & it’s said to send you to sleep in 90 seconds!

All you need to do is –

  1. Relax your entire face
  2. Drop the shoulders to release the tension
  3. Let your hands drop to the side of your body.
  4. Exhale, relaxing your chest.
  5. Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
  6. Clear your mind for 10 seconds.
  7. Repeat the words “don’t think” over and over for 10 seconds.

 

There you have it! Top hacks to a better night’s sleep! Trial and test some strategies, supplements etc. It may take a while to work out exactly what works for you. But once figured out, it’ll become golden knowledge for your wellbeing.