Sleep is the foundation of all health. When I don’t sleep well, my performance, productivity, mental clarity and fitness declines. Therefore, sleep is always my top priority, and this will continue in 2021. Over the years, I’ve tried everything for sleep. I’ve compiled a list of my top 8 sleep hacks that I use everyday in the hopes that they may be helpful for ⅓ of Americans who struggle with sleep. Personally, I’ve found that these 8 practices help me fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
My Top 8 Sleep Hacks:
- Thermal shock
Two hours before bedtime, I start to unwind for the night with thermal shock, which has been great for my sleep. I’ll either spend time in my sauna then immediately go into an ice bath after, or I’ll take a hot bath followed by a cold shower. Hot/cold exposure not only helps reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and aid in muscle recovery, but it also improves my sleep dramatically. Going from 145℉ environment to a 40℉ helps stimulate blood flow and puts my natural bodily responses to work, preparing me for restful sleep.
- Normatec boots
I use NormaTec Leg Pulse 2.0 at night to help increase blood flow in my legs. Since I work out regularly, I find the Normatec Boots to be helpful in relaxing my tense muscles so I can recover better at night.
- Smart lighting
Bright, harsh lighting can delay your body’s natural production of melatonin and your sleep onset time. I use Phillips Hue lights and their “routines” feature to adjust my home lighting, which naturally aids in my sleep. At 7:00PM, my lights switch to an orange light and gradually start to dim until 9:30PM, when they completely shut off. Setting my lights on a schedule helps me unwind at the end of the day and prepare for sleep at least 2.5 hours in advance of bedtime.
- Mobility exercises
30 minutes before bedtime, I like to do mobility exercises to relax my body. In addition to traditional exercises, I use my HyperVolt Plus Massage Gun to work on my hips and massage my hands, feet and back.
- Consistency with bedtime and wake up time
A consistent sleep schedule is one of the most important ways you can improve your sleep quality. I go to bed around 9:30PM and wake up at 6:30AM everyday, even on the weekends. Having a consistent sleep schedule helps your body maintain your optimal circadian rhythm. If your body gets into the habit of going to bed and falling asleep at the same time everyday, you will begin to fall asleep and wake up with ease.
Temperature is key for sleep quality. I set my Pod Pro temperature to optimize my sleep based on fitness training, the season and weather. The Pod’s thermoregulation gets me to a comfortable temperature as soon as I get in bed, which has shortened my sleep onset. Not only does the Pod help me fall asleep faster, but it also ensures that I stay asleep during the night because I don’t wake up too hot or cold, which was previously an issue for me. I also set my bedroom temperature to a consistent 73℉.
- Eliminate alcohol
I cut out alcohol in April 2019 and have never felt better. While alcohol may initially make you feel sleepier, it actually delays your sleep onset time, causes more sleep disturbances and lowers your sleep quality overall, making you feel more groggy in the morning. With our Eight Sleep Beta Group, we ran a test to measure the relationship between alcohol and sleep. On nights where participants did not drink alcohol, testers experienced 7% fewer tosses and turns per night, 6% higher HRV, 10% improvement in perceived sleep quality, and a 16% improvement in how well rested they felt in the morning.
- Tea and supplements
Before bed, I like to unwind with a cup of chamomile tea. I find that chamomile tea helps me relax and fall asleep easier. From time to time, I will also take melatonin-infused gummies to aid in my sleep onset, as well, if I’m adjusting from a different time zone after traveling, or having trouble unwinding. I also take magnesium to help relax my muscles.