By Dr. Alan Christianson
When is the last time you slept like a baby? Had 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep?
If you are like 2/3rds of Americans …..OR…… 50-70 million people (!!) you most likely don’t get enough sleep. And when you don’t sleep it’s darn near impossible to feel vibrant and energetic.
Your Energy – Go To Sleep.
Hey, I’m not saying it’s easy with your current routine. You may need a fresh approach. Think of it as a recipe for sleep success. So I’m sharing my sleep recipe with you. I couldn’t fit all of the tips into my soon-to-be-released book, so here are a few of my favorites (some are in the book, some aren’t).
• Get some sun
• Eat a big dinner
• Turn off electronics
• Use red light bulbs
• Turn on white noise
Sunlight. Get bright light within a half hour of waking and the amount you want is roughly thirty minutes. Indoor lights do not cut it. Being outside on a cloudy day works. Even if you are not directly under the sun. Even being in the shade outside works. You do not want to wear sunglasses and if you are active then bonus points but even being sedentary and having your coffee or tea reading your paper helps.
Big Dinner. There is a lot of advice encouraging you to have smaller evening meals. A recent study looked at Israeli policemen and showed that if you took two groups of people and they both got the same calories but the group that had most of their calories with their evening meal that was the group that lost more weight. They also slept better and were more energized.
No Electronics. Turning off ALL of your electronic devices an HOUR before bedtime allows your mind to slowly shut down. If you’ve ever laid awake for an hour in bed (and that’s the time of day you suddenly remember everything you need to do) then chances are you have kept your electronics on too long. Turn them off and get more energy.
Red Lights. This is something new that I’m trying. Light bulbs are bright. They are meant to be bright so you can see at night. But to get a great night’s sleep, and let’s say you want to read in bed, then use a red light bulb in your bedside lamp. It’s dimmer than a traditional bulb and the color speeds up the process to make you feel fatigued. This helps you get to sleep faster, so you can wake up with more energy.
White Noise. Living in the sonoran desert, I’m pretty lucky that there aren’t too many loud noises at night, except the occasional coyote. Be we do have air conditioning….and no matter how we set the fan, it turns on and off all night. ANY changes in noise levels disrupt your sleep. (Even your AC turning off and on). The easiest way to get uninterrupted sleep is to have a constant sound source as background noise – also known as white noise. I use an air purifier with a fan that turns off when it’s time to wake up. (Makes an alarm clock practically unnecessary). What do you use as your white noise?