What if I told you that you can sleep less, but feel more rested and energized than you thought possible?
It might sound crazy but it's true. I am not a doctor, scientist or health professional. I am just a business owner, husband and father of three who is committed to personal health optimization and finding a better way to do things. I have a long todo list and simply want more energy and time to do it.
After studying what others like me have done to optimize their sleep, and through my own trial and error, I have discovered 5 sleep tips that worked for me and that have transformed not only how I sleep, but more importantly how I feel when I wake up. The best part is these sleep hacks are very simple, most are free and I think they can work for you too!
Now before I get into the tips I just want to bust the most limiting belief I had when it came to sleep. Without getting over this, I think I would still be stuck in the same rut I was before.
Sleep Myth: “You have to sleep more in order to feel fully rested”
I am happy to say that this is just simply not true.
For many years I would sleep 7, 8 or even more hours a night and wake up tired, groggy and lethargic. I would always justify how I felt by telling myself that my body was still sleep deprived, I just needed another night to get caught up, or that I just overslept.
The more I slept, the more rundown I felt, which in turn made me think I just needed even more sleep. It was a vicious cycle. I was frustrated and lost and I didn’t understand how this could happen while I was getting so much rest.
What completely shifted my mindset and this was the key. Instead of thinking about QUANTITY OF SLEEP, I needed to be thinking about QUALITY OF SLEEP.
When I stopped focusing on how much I slept and started focusing on having the best quality of sleep for the hours I was devoting to sleep, everything changed. I slept less, but felt better than I had in years.
I am now going to share with you my 5 sleep hacks that I personally use each night to sleep less, wake up more rested and energize my day.
I can say without a doubt they are proven to work because they worked for me and I think they can work for you too!
1. Avoid Blue Light Before Bed
For years, I would either go to sleep with my laptop or cellphone in front of my face. What I didn’t know is that those devices were omitting blue light and completely disrupting my sleep.
What is blue light?
It is the actual light emitted from TV’s, computers, tablets and phones. Blue light basically signals to your body that it is daytime so your body doesn’t prepare for sleep and blocks the hormone melatonin which is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. This is basically the opposite of what your body craves prior to going to sleep.
My suggestion? Turn off the electronics before bed! Ideally 2-3 hours before bed, but I find even if I do it for an hour before bed I can notice a difference in my sleep quality.
You are probably saying to yourself, if I am not watching TV or scrolling on my phone before bed, what should I be doing?…
What is the first thing that comes to mind?
That is what you were thinking wasn’t it? lol
By reading I don’t mean scrolling through TMZ on your phone.
I mean a book. A real physical book that is made out of paper with words on a page.
I find reading puts me in a nice rhythm before sleep and depending on the book can send me to la la land beautifully.
Pro tip: For all you type A go getters who always gravitate towards educational reading, try reading fiction. While I am guilty of often reading non-fiction content, on the times I really want to prepare my body for sleep I will grab a great character story to really get my body in the sleep zone. For some people I have heard just this tip works even better than sleeping pills.
3. No eating before bed
I am a recovering late night snacker. I ate all kinds of foods (some healthy and some not) right up until the time I went to sleep. I’d go to bed with a full tummy, then wake up with a food hangover and feel absolutely drained.
This routine went on for years, but all of a sudden everything changed.
A little while back I went through a stretch where I was having to work extra hours and I got home so late that I immediately went to sleep when I got home. This carried on for a full week. I was sleeping 2+ hours LESS per night and instead of feeling exhausted and rundown in the morning, I woke up much more energized than usual ready to conquer the day.
I couldn’t figure it out, as in the past reducing my nightly sleep by two hours would have driven my body (and immune system) into the ground. It was only when I realized the one key difference is I wasn’t eating within 3-4 hours before bed.
My suggestion? Stop eating after 8pm or if you can, stop eating altogether after supper.
Personally I have found great results from not eating after 630pm, which is when I finish dinner with my family.
4. Take Sleep Supplements
Taking sleep supplements to optimize your body for sleep can itself be its own video, as there are so many different types of supplements you can try that can positively impact sleep. I have personally used products like L-Theanine, Zinc, B Vitamins, 5-htp, Valerian and the list goes on and on.
That said if I was going to suggest one supplement as a great place to start it would be Magnesium Bisglycinate for sleep. Magnesium bisglycinate comes as a pill, liquid or powder and the best form of Magnesium to take before bed.
What is great about magnesium bisglycinate, is not only is it great as a sleep aid, but it is amazing for your overall health and is a supplement that I feel can really benefit almost everyone.
Most people are deficient in magnesium and don’t truly realize how much of a game changer supplement it can be. Magnesium Bisglycinate helps: calm your brain on account of the glycine in it, and relaxes your nervous system, relieve anxiety and promote better quality sleep
My suggestion? I take anywhere from 200-400mg depending on the brand (or your health professionals advice) within an hour before bed.
5. Track your sleep with technology
There are so many wearables out there with some of the most popular being Fitbit, Whoop or the Aura Ring.
While I haven’t gotten into those yet, I have found great success in sleep tracking apps. These are different from many of the wearables as the the app I use doesn’t track your sleep only by your movement.
How does a sleep tracking app work?
The sleep app works through the microphone on your phone and tracks your sleep cycles based on your breathing. It gives you information such as what stage of sleep you are in, if you wake up during the night, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how long you sleep for and it even tracks and records your snoring.
I have tried a few apps and the one I like best is called Sleep Cycle. It operates fully in airplane mode (which is important as not all sleep apps do this). To top it all off I have found tons of value from the free version!
What I like most about the app is you get a sleep score for the night. The sleep score takes into account things like the quality, length and even regularity of your sleep. I can then use the sleep score as another health data point to look at my lifestyle choices for what things might have contributed to a great score or what might have brought on a poor score.
This way if I have a great score I feel more confident to push by body a little more that day, whereas if I have a failing score, I might manage my day a little differently, and focus more on sleep quality the next night to get back on track.
There you have it. My 5 proven sleep tips that have completely transformed my sleep.
But before I go I have one more bonus tip.
6. Give your body a break from EMFs
While this is a highly debated topic, the fact is that phones, computers, wifi routers and other electrical devices emit radiation in the form of Electromagnetic Fields or EMFs. We are exposed to EMFs everyday and while a case can be made either way to how they are or aren’t harmful, I truly believe that there are health benefits from giving your body a break from EMFs, especially while you sleep.
My suggestion? Turn your phone to airplane mode when you sleep. To go even one step further, you could even put your phone in another room. This will give your body a much deserved break and further increase your sleep quality.
Now I want to hear from you. What simple sleep hack are you going to try from this sleep optimization article? Are you going to stop eating or going on your phone before bed? Or maybe using a sleep hacker app and trying to sleep support supplements? Either way let me know by leaving a comment below.