How To Maximize Your Sleep Quality For Optimal Health, Muscles, And Performance
In this article, we will discuss how you can optimize your sleep quality by eliminating sleep disruptors and optimizing your sleep quality for improved performance.
What Does It Mean To Sleep Well?
Sleeping well involves the amount of time you’re sleeping and feeling refreshed after. Sleep quality is even more important than the number of hours spent sleeping. Not getting quality sleep consistently can have severe negative health implications.
Here’s a brief story of our CEO at Bioptimizers, Matt Gallant, on his experience with the sleep quantity vs. sleep quality balance:
Matt was obsessed with being as productive as possible in his early years and had a tight schedule that he curated to help him maximize his time.
He was spending as much as 80hrs/week at the gym, training twice daily, writing a book, and investing time in self-development all at the same time.
Matt thought hours spent on sleep were a waste, so he spent less and less time sleeping at night. He was consistently getting as little as 4hrs of sleep every night for months.
Eventually, his body caved in and he crashed. This made him decide to do in-depth research on sleep. From his research, he developed a simple strategy: to sleep more.
Matt soon discovered that sleeping 9hrs a night didn’t improve his health like he had expected it to. He found that it was more about sleep quality than quantity. Years of research and tracking sleep with technology played an important role in helping him gain optimal sleep time.
Matt explained, “I realized that improving the quality of my sleep was the #1 thing I could do to improve every aspect of my life. By dramatically improving my sleep, I would improve my appearance, improve my brain, improve my productivity, improve my sex life, and improve my health. I realized that it was the best monetary investment I could make in myself by a long shot.“
Eliminate The 6 Sleep Disruptors
The following 6 things disrupt the body and prevent it from getting into stage 4 sleep and getting good REM
- Pressure points
- Cortisol, Adrenaline, and Noradrenaline
- The Full Belly
- Crazy Beta Brain Train
The Sleep Disruptors And Their Antidotes
Sleep BiOptimizer #1: Darkness And Light To Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
One of the simplest health hacks you can do is optimize the light in your life. Your circadian rhythms are primarily dictated by light.
First, in the morning, the blue light hitting the photoreceptors in your skin and eyes tells your body, “This is the start of the day.”
And then at night, the absence of light tells your brain, “It’s time to go to sleep.” The problem is that all of our devices are fooling our brains. Far too much blue light is coming from your smartphone, tablet, TV, and light bulbs. The brain thinks it’s still daytime.
This means the body doesn’t produce the optimal amount of melatonin, which is critical to kickstart the sleep cycle.
Here are some thoughts on this from neurosurgeon and health researcher, Jack Kruse:
“Humans are built to burn fat at night as we sleep to lose excess weight we don’t need. The timing of the leptin action is also critical. It usually occurs between 12-2 AM and is tied to when you last ate and how much darkness your eyes have seen. This generally occurs soon after our hypothalamus releases another hormone called prolactin from our pituitary gland in the brain.
Ok, you must be asking why this prolactin hormone is so important? Is not prolactin just a hormone to secrete human milk, doc? That is not the only action of prolactin. Immediately after prolactin is released at this time, another signal is sent to the anterior pituitary to release Growth Hormone (GH). GH is stimulated only during autophagic sleep cycles in stages 3 and 4 to increase protein synthesis for muscle growth, all while you’re dissipating heat.
This is the major release of GH in humans post-puberty. The implications here are huge. If you are leptin resistant and have sleep apnea, you will have an altered body composition because of a low GH level. It means that you have higher body fat and lower muscle mass as you age. This is precisely what we see in humans as they age; invariably, their sleep is also poor.”
There Are Three Ways To Use Light And Darkness To Optimize Your Sleep.
- Eliminate The Blue Lights Before Bed
Your body will NOT produce melatonin if there’s too much blue light before sleep. You have a few options. At night, only turn on the orangeish bulbs like those found here.
Your second option is to wear blue light-blocking glasses. For more information, go here.
- Sleep In Total Darkness
Your body will not produce melatonin if it’s being hit by light while sleeping. Your bedroom should be so dark that you can’t see your hand with your eyes open. Matt has two layers of blackout curtains to ensure no lumen of light comes in.
Matt wore a sleep mask for years. The problem is that your skin has photoreceptors. So your sleep will be disrupted by the light hitting your skin.
There is only one option here: create a pitch-black room. We suggest getting two layers of good light-absorbing shades on Amazon.
Powermove: Garbage Bags And Black Tape
Make sure to cover every electronic light in your room with black electrical tape or something similar. Even those will have an effect.
Here’s a pro tip while you travel: buy heavy-duty garbage bags and tape them to the window of your room. It’s a cheap, easy “hack” to eliminate unwanted light.
- Blast Your Eyes With Blue Light In The Morning To Reset Your Circadian Clock
This is a highly underrated sleep hack. And this is one of the most powerful ways to reset your circadian rhythm, especially when traveling.
By blasting your eyes with the blue light when you wake up, you’re telling your body it’s the start of the day. This will kickstart your circadian rhythm. First, it will give you energy. Second, as nature designed, you’ll find yourself more tired and ready for sleep 14-16 hours later.
Here are four ways you can blast your eyes with light in the morning:
i) Get an alarm that uses light to wake up. The light gradually gets brighter until it’s time to ring the alarm. It helps softly shift the body from its sleep.
ii) Use Re-timer glasses, which are “glasses” that blast your eyes with blue light. Matt’s a big fan of these, especially when traveling.
iii) Light earbuds such as Human Charger. These are like audio earbuds that you plug into your ears; instead, they light directly into your brain via your ear canal.
iv) The Sun. Never stare directly into the sun, but waking up and going outside to look into the sky is the original way to kickstart your brain in the morning.
One more tip for lighting is removing all fluorescent lights from the home and installing full-spectrum lighting. Amazingly, this subtle shift can significantly impact well-being.
Our brains and bodies have evolved on a simple circadian design for millions of years. Light tells the body to wake up. Darkness tells the body to go to sleep. The point is that our bodies aren’t designed for the bombardment of blue lights coming from our screens and light bulbs.
You’re basically recreating nature’s pattern by using these strategies. We’re using biohacking technology to undo the negative consequences of modern technology.
Sleep BiOptimizer #2: Optimal Sleep Temperature
Optimizing the temperature on your room could be the #1 sleep optimizer. Your body WAKES UP when it’s too hot. It’s another part of the daily circadian rhythm that evolved because of the day’s warmth and the night’s coldness.
If you live in a hot, humid climate like Panama, you must sleep with air conditioners. The question is, is a cold room good enough?
For most people, it’s not. Matt used to lose 3-4 lbs of water while he slept despite sleeping in air-conditioned rooms. Why? Because the heat gets trapped between the body, the bedsheets, and the mattress. The body temperature rises, and the body begins to sweat. The sheets get damp, and the body tosses and turns. It’s a massive sleep disrupter.
The optimal sleep temperature is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius)
Fortunately, modern technology has solved this problem. We strongly recommend getting a ChiliPad or Ooler. It’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your sleep to help curb this sleep issue. Best of all, if you have a partner, you can get a dual-zone and control each side’s temperature.
Sleep BiOptimizer #3: No Pressure Points
Your body automatically moves when it senses there’s blood constriction. For example, if you sleep on your side on a normal mattress, there will be a lot of pressure on your hips and shoulders. This pressure makes your body toss and turn, preventing you from a deep sleep.
For side sleepers, memory foam is a must to spread out the weight evenly. Memory foam mattresses solve this problem by spreading the pressure evenly throughout your body. However, one of the issues with some foam mattresses is that they trap body heat. This can be solved with the Chili Pad or Ooler.
Another problem with most memory foams is the off-gassing.
For those reasons, we recommend Essentia mattresses. They are made from organic tree sap, and you can find the perfect level of softness and density for your body. Matt has a custom-made Pro Core, which has been optimized for him and his wife. This is truly the best of the best.
Here are some general rules for selecting the optimal amount of softness:
i) The heavier you are, the more softness you need. You’ll sink deeper and even out the weight. Someone who’s lighter naturally doesn’t need as much weight distribution.
ii) The wider you are (a man with wide shoulders or a woman with wide hips), the more softness you’ll need. If someone’s body was perfectly straight, the weight would spread evenly. Someone with wide shoulders or hips needs more softness to allow that body part to sink into.
iii) The shorter you are, the more softness you need. The opposite is true; if you’re tall, your weight will naturally be distributed over a larger surface.
For back sleepers, this is less of an issue. The weight naturally spreads over a larger surface. Another good brand for back sleepers is Samina.
Sleep BiOptimizer #4: Consistency And Early
Many people say, “Every hour you sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours.” There’s some truth to this, but it’s a bit more complex.
If you don’t go to bed before a certain time (as determined by your circadian rhythm and chronotype), you’ll experience a second wind.
Back in the days before technology, the only reasons you would stay awake would be either to hunt or protect your tribe. To do those things effectively, you need adrenaline and noradrenaline.
If you miss your body’s ideal sleep window, the body starts pumping out adrenaline and noradrenaline. This can lead to insomnia.
Things that will wreck your sleep are cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline – the body’s hormonal and neuro stimulants. This is why going to bed at the right time is critical. It would also help to find your sleep time. Often, people ask: “Why can’t I sleep at night but I can during the day?”
Check out this article to learn more about the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Sleep BiOptimizer #5: Meal Timing:
Once Matt started tracking sleep, meal timing was one of the biggest needle movers. If Matt ate close to bedtime, his sleep score and deep sleep crashed. If given adequate time to digest, sleep scores were maximized.
Here’s another quote from health researcher, Jack Kruse on this topic: “The prolactin surge does not happen if the patient has sleep apnea or ate some carbs too close to bedtime. If you eat any carbs and protein within 4 hours of sleep, you will never see the prolactin surge because any spike in insulin turns off this critical release.”
You shouldn’t feel anything lingering in your stomach when you hit the sack. You should feel like you have an empty stomach.
On the flip side, the ideal is not to go to bed hungry. If your ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is growling, it will be hard to fall asleep. Eating a hearty supper with lots of protein and some fats works well. That will slow down digestion.
Powermove: Stop Eating 4-6 Hours Before Bedtime
The other Powermove uses digestive aids like MassZymes, P3OM, and HCL Breakthrough. This will break down the food plus maximize your absorption and assimilation of the nutrients.
For more information, go here: www.bioptimizers.com/blueprint-resources.
Sleep BiOptimizer #6: Downshift From The Crazy Beta Brain Train:
The brain always produces various electrical waves depending on it’s state. There are five major groups of brainwaves. Three of them are responsible for healing while the other two are more on the fight, flight, or freeze side. Check out this article. To find out more.
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