I wrote a post a few years ago on good sleep habits. Then last year I gave a presentation on Timeless Health Habits – behaviors for eating, moving, and sleeping that stand the test of time. When I asked that audience what habits they were most interested in, the top response was: “SLEEP”.
I’ve learned much more about good sleep habits in the last two years. I doubled my deep sleep in the last six months. My resting heart rate went down twenty percent. My heart rate variability increased by fifty percent. Those are significant positive results. Improving my sleep habits enabled those positive changes.
This is the shorter seven-minute version of my How to Sleep Better workshop. If you want to read about any of the topics below that I didn’t cover in the short version, check out the handout for a brief summary. If you know a group that’s stressed out, tired, or can’t sleep contact me to discuss the workshop. Like every single person in this audience, we all struggle with sleep. It gets worse as we get older. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself. With better habits.
Sleep Workshop Potential Agenda Topics
- Stress-coping skills
- Check the basics
- Wake-up routine
- Power-down routine
- A perfect day
- Can’t sleep?
Sleep Workshop Handout
This Sleep handout has a summary of what’s covered in the video and the topics above along with exercises to start improving your sleep.
Top Five Sleep Tips
If you research improving sleep, you’ll find dozens of ideas. I’ve tried most of them. After all that experimentation, I recommend implementing these five actions first to improve your sleep quickly.
|#1 Move||– Walk five miles per day, outside when possible|
– For now, start with an extra mile
|#2 Sun||– Get outside as early as possible, as much as possible|
– Go outside for a minute every work break, even in bad weather
|#3 ||– Skip computers and phones one to two hours before bed|
– Read a book, stretch, watch tv from far away (or try blue blockers)
|#4 Cool||– Set your thermostat to 67°F. Experiment between 62-69°F|
– Try taking a hot bath 1-2 hours before bed to cool your internal temp
|#5 Reset||– After your 9-5 pm routine, change your physiology to destress|
– Ex. shower, exercise, sports, long walk, socialize, Epsom salt bath
Print the Top Five Sleep Actions printout right now and put it by your nightstand or at your desk as a reminder. Small actions create big changes like seeing actionable information repeatedly.
Implement these actions one-at-a-time, then layer on the next. For example, walk an extra mile per day for a week, then add another mile every week until you get to five miles. Keep walking the extra miles and get outside one, two, then three times per day. Focus on the extra sunshine for a few weeks, then put away your cell phone an hour before bed. If you have a thermostat that runs a schedule, set it to 67 degrees an hour before bed and you’re done. The physiological reset is last because it takes more effort, although you can simplify it with a long walk after work and a shower.
Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.Matthew Walker
Often overlooked, never far away, sleep presents an opportunity every day to improve your health. As the base of my health-habits-pyramid, I’d focus on sleep first to look better, feel better, be happier.
Think back to that last time you had a stress-free, long night of great sleep. How did it feel when you woke up?
You deserve that feeling more often. Get after it. Happy sleeping.