Trouble Sleeping? This Will Help You
My 9 Ways To Have A Great Sleep During Covid
I find that many people have trouble getting a good nights sleep. In fact a recent study I read outlined that over 52% of the population have sleep issues. I know personally that this is the question I get asked most often and also any blog I write on the topic of sleep are the most frequently viewed. I am not sure if it is due to Covid and stress or anxiety that people are experiencing during this period but I have noticed lately that many people are having sleep issues.
Self Sleep Test
I am going to ask you to do a self assessment on your own sleep. On a scale of 1-10 I would like you to take a minute and score yourself on the quality and quantity of your sleep you get each night. Below is a Scoring guide to assess how you are sleeping most nights:
8-10 – You sleep great most nights, sleep through the night without waking and get 7-8 hours of solid sleep per night.
4-7 – You sleep “ok” most nights however at times you have trouble getting to sleep or you wake up and can’t get back to sleep.
1-3 – Most nights, you have trouble falling to sleep or wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep and you typically get less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
After honestly scoring yourself, I would then ask you to reflect on where you would like to be on the scale in the future.
Why We Sleep – James Nestor
I recently heard a Podcast which prompted me to read an amazing book on the importance of sleep called “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, PhD. I always knew the importance of sleep however this book increased my knowledge and stressed the importance of sleep so I am personally really trying to pay attention to my own sleep habits. One of the things that really struck a chord with me was how poor sleep is directly linked with so many health issues including high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and inflammatory illnesses to name a few.
The Importance of Tracking My Sleep
One of the things I have been doing for the past 3 years is tracking the quality and quantity of my sleep. I personally use a tracker called “Whoop” that not only tracks my sleep but also tracks my exercise, my Heart Rate Variability(HRV) amongst other important metrics. Every morning when I wake, it outlines my actual time that I was asleep, quality of my sleep, time spent in deep, REM as well as light sleep. I find that the things I do leading up to or prior to bed affect the quality of my sleep. I find that when I don’t do the things that I outline below, that my sleep “score” suffers and therefore I try to do these things on a daily basis.
9 Things I Do Every Night For A Deep Sleep
Below I have outlined the things that I attempt to do every night to ensure I have a long, deep and restful sleep so that I wake up feeling refreshed and energized for the day.
1.No Computer Screens or Phone At Night
I have found the number one thing that I have done to improve my sleep during Covid has been to shut down all screens in the evening. I found in the early days of Covid that I was on my computer and phone all day having virtual meetings, calls and emails. Then in the evening I was catching up on email and even doing some personal things on my computer and it was clearly affecting my sleep. Therefore, in the early days of Covid, I started leaving my computer in the office when I was done work for the day and I also put my phone in the hall charging so I wouldn’t be tempted to use it. I found that eliminating screens in the evening has been the single most important thing I have done to improve my sleep and my sleep scores reinforce it.
If you read my blog regularly, you know the importance I put on exercise as part of my daily routine for many reasons. One of the key benefits I find of exercise is that it relaxes my system and allows me to have a much better and deep sleep that night. The only thing I would suggest is that you stay away from exercise in the evening as it may negatively impact your sleep patterns.
3.No Coffee after 3:00 p.m.
Each of us metabolize coffee in different ways. There are people that can have a cup of coffee 30 mins before bed and it has zero impact on their sleep and others that have a coffee early in the day and it negatively affects their sleep. I know from my Genetic testing that I am a “moderate” coffee metabolizer which means I metabolize coffee but not at a super fast rate. Therefore I set a rule that I don’t have any coffee later than 3:00p.m. and the majority of time I refrain from coffee at any time in the afternoon. In the evening I typically drink a non caffeinated tea such as organic lemon detox or Camomile Teas.
4.Limit or No Alcohol
For those that know me you would know that I enjoy my red, organic wine. My sleep tracker has clearly demonstrated that any night I have more than 2 drinks, it has a negative impact on my deep and regenerative sleep. Many people believe that by having a few drinks it relaxes them and therefore it leads to a good nights sleep. The reality is that alcohol stimulates our Sympathetic Nervous system (stress system) and therefore negatively affects our deep or regenerative sleep. Therefore my advice on this would be that if you want to have a great, deep and restful sleep, I would suggest you avoid any alcohol at all or at least limit alcohol intake.
Prior to bed each night I take a few supplements that I believe really enhance my sleep. One mineral that the body does not produce on its own is Magnesium. Magnesium has been proven to be great for our muscles, muscle repair and also a way to relax our body. I personally take alternating magnesium supplements as well as Zinc/Magnesium supplement that I believe has a really positive effect on my deep sleep.
6.Nighty NightCamomile Tea
Prior to going up to bed, I make myself a cup of “Nighty Night” tea which contains sleep inducing ingredients such as Passionflower and Camomile that relax our bodies. There are many variations of these teas on the market and I would encourage you to try a few of them to see what works for you.
7.Read Before Bed
I make it a point of reading (typically health books)! every night for about 30 minutes prior to going to sleep. I find that pleasure reading takes my mind off any issues that I may be dealing with and also puts me in a very relaxing state of mind. I would encourage you to avoid “work related” books and for sure avoid reading books on your computer as this stimulates the Sympathetic nervous system and will negatively affect your sleep patterns.
One of my great learnings from my amazing lifelong coach Dan Sullivan (Strategiccoach.com) has been a concept called “Positive Focus”. Prior to falling to sleep I make it a point of thinking of 3 great things that happened that day. This varies each night depending on the day however I find this process puts me in a great positive mindset and appreciative mindset prior to falling asleep.
For those that read my blog regularly, you would know that I am a firm believer in the importance of paying attention to our breath and deep breathing. I make it a point of practicing one of my deep breathing techniques just prior to falling a sleep and I find that many times I drift off to sleep while practicing these deep breathing exercises. I am currently reading a great book called “Breath” by James Nestor on the importance of breathing in our daily lives and I will report back on any crucial information from this book in a future blog. For tips on my favourite stress relieving breathing exercises, you can access it here:https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/my-3-simple-techniques-for-stress-reduction/
My Secrets For An Amazing Sleep
1.Don’t use your Computer or Phone in the Evening
2.Moderate Exercise Daily
3.No Coffee After 3
5.Take Magnesium Before Bed
6.Have a Nighty Night Tea
7.Pleasure Reading prior to Sleep
8.Practice Positive Focus
Wishing you and your family a kind, healthy day and most importantly a great sleep,