I love sharing with you books that have helped me cope with our crazy military life.
I think we all know sleep in important but its also very quickly skipped or shortened in favor of other things and it wreaks havoc on our health.
Today we are diving in the book Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. We talk about the importance of sleep and the detrimental affects lack of sleep has on our bodies.
I share with you the 21 strategies Shawn gives to help improve sleep like, what are the optimal hours to sleep, what position is best for sleeping, how do screens and electronics affect sleep and bottom line, what can I do to get better sleep.
If you have or currently struggle with getting good quality, restful sleep, you need to check out todays episode and pick up a copy of the book!
I hope you find todays information as eye opening and impactful as I did!
I so appreciate you listening to the show!
If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and review I would really appreciate it!!
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[00:00:00] I just started a new book called Sleep Smarter. Well, I didn't just start it, I finished it already , but I wanted to share it with you. So it's, the book is called Sleep Smarter by Sean Stevenson. And Sean has a really great podcast that I highly recommend. It's called The Model Health Show. What I love so much about it is that he uses actual published scientific research to dispel myths and educate about health, which in today's and now, with everything that's happened with Covid and everything else, I think that there's a lot of misinformation out there and I really appreciate that there's actual science and research behind published.
[00:00:41] Credible science behind his, the information that he uses. So I've been thinking more and more about sleep lately because mine is not the best and Michael's is definitely not the best. And I know that sleep is incredibly important in our overall health. And many issues like weight gain and chronic pain and mental health issues can be, can be helped drastically with quality sleep.
[00:01:04] So let's kind of dive into this. So he starts off the, Talking about his story of being diagnosed at the age of 15 with a degenerative of bone disease, and he was told there was no cure for it, so he needed to rest and take lots of medic medications. That was the diagnosis or the the treatment plan. So he did that for a bit and he quickly saw.
[00:01:24] The weight just piling on and his symptoms were getting worse. So long story short, he changed what he was eating and he slowly began to exercise an exercise routine and saw and felt dramatic results pretty quickly. So that was kind of the impetus for him to change directions into schooling, and he went down the path of health and wellness.
[00:01:41] And then over the years of working with his clients 1 0 1, he noticed that many people were doing all the right things. They're eating well, they're exercising consistently, and they're still not seeing the results that they wanted. So we started to take a closer look at sleep and how incredibly important it is for our overall health.
[00:02:00] So sleep is the secret sauce. There is not one part of your mental or professional performance that isn't affected by the quality of your. studies have shown that just one night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin resistant as a person who has type two diabetes. This translates directly into aging, faster, decreased libido, and storing more body
[00:02:25] fat than you want to. Yikes, right? stretching that out over months and years, and you can see how chronic sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our health. Other studies have shown that sleep deprivation encourages cancer, Alzheimer's depression, and heart disease. So I think that we know. That sleep is important, but we're also really quick to deny sleep in favor of other things like working late or partying or binging the latest Netflix series.
[00:02:54] So in the book he talks about 21 strategies to sleep your way to a better body, better health, and bigger success. So we're gonna go into them. I'm gonna try not, I'm gonna try and keep it brief. There are 21 of them. I'm gonna try and keep it brief, but again I highly recommend that you pick up this book because he gives, so he cites so many research studies and gives so much in depth information.
[00:03:18] So if you're like a science nerd like me, I wanna know how it works, I wanna know why I wanna know all the things, then definitely pick up a copy of this book for you or download it on Audible and then you can listen to it while you're driving, while you're walking your. exercising, whatever you wanna do.
[00:03:34] Okay, so getting into the sleep strategy. So number one is know the value of sleep. So why do we sacrifice sleep in favor of productivity? Some of it's cultural, right? There's the early bird gets the worm burning, the midnight oil. You can sleep when you're. , but what does the lack of sleep really do to your body?
[00:03:57] At first glance, we might think that working more and skimping on sleep will get us there faster, but research shows that when you don't sleep well, you get slower, less creative, more stressed and underperform. You only use a fraction of what you are capable of Research. That after just 24 hours of sleep deprivation, there is an overall reduction of 6% of glucose reaching the brain.
[00:04:26] Simple translation is you get dumber, . This is also why you crave candy and chips and donuts and other starchy sugary things. When you're sleep deprived, your body is trying to compel you to get that glucose back to your brain as soon as possible. It's a built. Survival mechanism. And when you're sleep deprived, you are setting up a battle between your willpower and your biology.
[00:04:51] And guess which one's gonna win . So if weight is an issue for you, if you struggle with your weight, take a look at your sleep and see if you're helping or hindering yourself. Okay? By foregoing. , you can absolutely do more work, right? But the quality and effectiveness of your work is gonna be sacrificed.
[00:05:12] So a study published in The Lancet that looked at a group of physicians proved that sleep deprived individuals took 14% longer to complete a task and made 20% more errors than individuals who were well rested. So not only are we taking longer to do the same, But we're going to have to spend more time going back and trying to clean up the mess that we've made.
[00:05:37] So if you can focus on your sleep first, you'll be able to get your work done faster and more effectively than if you zombie walk your way through it. number two is get more sunlight during the day. So we're all hopefully familiar with the circadian rhythm. It is your body's natural sleep wake cycle that should go with the sun, right?
[00:05:59] So sleep when it's dark, awake when it's light. But in our current culture of TV and devices and lights available 24 7, our circadian rhythm can get outta whack real quick. . It may sound counterintuitive that getting more sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night, but science has proven that this is exactly the case.
[00:06:18] So there are certain times of day that your body is designed to release specific hormones. The circadian timing system, along with the scheduled release of hormones, helps to control your digestion, your immune system, blood pressure, fat utilization, appetite, mental energy among other. The research shows that early morning light from six eight, 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM ideally is most beneficial.
[00:06:44] So how does morning light improve your sleep? Light signals your brain, specifically the hypothalamus and all the corresponding organs and glands to be alert and to wake up. That sunlight triggers your brain and the hormones that it's time to wake up. The converse can happen where too much light in the evening can prevent those sleepy hormones from releasing and causing sleepiness.
[00:07:10] And then here's the kicker. Artificial light doesn't cut it. Our eyes are really great at adapting, so we might not notice much difference. But natural sunlight delivers about 10 times more brightness than regular indoor lighting. I thought that was crazy. So natural sunlight is what our body needs. So then in a world where most of us work in offices all day, how do we accomplish this?
[00:07:37] Right? Getting direct sunlight in the early part of your day for at least half an hour has been shown to give the most benefit. But if you're stuck in cubicle land or not near a window, See if you can maybe take your breaks outside or if your business is open to it, maybe you can conduct meetings outside and get that vitamin.
[00:07:55] Also side note, if you live at high elevation, so we live in Denver, the Mile High City, right? We're at almost 6,000 feet where we are. Vitamin D absorption is less when you are at altitude than it is when you are at. Sea level. So if you live in high altitude, there is a very strong likelihood that you are deficient in vitamin D even when it's, there's a lot of sun.
[00:08:17] I'm outside all the time, but I, my vitamin D levels were still low. Okay, so moving right along. Number three is get the screens. Outta your room, and I know that this is gonna ruffle some feathers, but avoid screens before a bedtime. I harp on Michael about this all the time. Cutting out screens at nighttime is likely the number one thing that you can do to improve sleep quality immediately.
[00:08:45] So why are screens so bad? It's because of the. , the artificial blue light emanating from our screens of our devices trigger our bodies to produce more of the daytime hormones like cortisol, which is your stress hormone, and it disorients your body's natural preparation for sleep. So he goes into a lot more detail and research based evidence in the book.
[00:09:07] But for the sake of time, I'm keeping it to the Cliff's Nose version. So if you have sleep issues, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book and listening or listening to it on Audible to get the full. . Okay. Number four, have a caffeine curfew. Caffeine is a powerful nervous system stimulant, and if your nervous system is lit up like a Christmas tree, you're probably not gonna be getting high quality sleep.
[00:09:32] So there was a really fascinating study done that he notes in this chapter showing that caffeine can affect sleep up to six hours. Before bed. And the crazy part, this is the crazy part, was that participants in the study were monitored objectively for
[00:09:48] actual sleep statistics, but also kept a journal of their sleep habits during the study. And those participants who consumed caffeine six hours before bedtime didn't note any change in sleep. But showed one hour less of deep sleep, so that means that your sleep quality is going to crap and you don't even know it, you, your body, you can't tell, you can't sense it.
[00:10:15] That's why, and that it's so crazy to me because we, you know, we've got a lot of family members and Michael said before too, oh, there's a caffeine. Doesn't bother me. No, it's, I'm fine. I'm totally fine. Well, , this study shows that that's part of the brain. What happens with caffeine in the brain is that, and this was one of the cool studies, so again, I'm not gonna get into a, a ton of the science, but like my nerd brain was like geeking out over all of this stuff.
[00:10:39] But the caffeine, there's a receptor, and I can't remember what it is that the caffeine goes to, which is the receptor that tells your body. that it's time for sleep. Like it takes that, the place of that. So then you don't perceive that you're not getting good sleep, but you really are.
[00:10:57] So the bottom line is don't consume caffeine right before bed and to be safe six hours before bed. Okay. All right. Number five, be. . So this chapter seriously blew my mind. I think we all know that temperature affects sleep, sleep quality, and if it's two hot or too cold, then your sleep quality suffers for sure, the optimal room Temperature for great sleep.
[00:11:21] You ready for this? 60 to 65 degrees. Everyone that I have shared that statistic with laughed and was like, there's no way. It's too cold, but the research supports it. So he shared a really cool study conducted on insomniacs, which interestingly are found to have a higher core body temperature before bed.
[00:11:41] And the participants were fitted with a cooling cap, which continuously pumped cool water around their heads for bedtime, and they fell asleep faster within 13 minutes than the control group of participants that had no sleep issues and then they slept. 89% of the time that they were in bed, which was the same as the control group.
[00:12:02] So just by adding the cooling cap and reducing core body temperature, the insomniacs, were able to get really great quality sleep. So, Maybe a bump in that thermostat down a little bit might be a beneficial. Okay. I, you know what's interesting too, because the summertime, and I don't know how your house is, but in our house for , heat rises right in, inevitably the thermostat is down on the main level and the bedrooms are upstairs.
[00:12:31] And our, well, I mean, our house is, is two levels. We, we've lived in quite a few two level houses and the thermostat down. And heat rises, so it's always hotter upstairs. And in the summertime here it gets, oh my gosh, it gets really hot and the downstairs is cool, but the upstairs is like five to six degrees warmer than it is downstairs.
[00:12:52] And I sleep like crap when it's hot outside. Like, so you can tell some of this stuff you are like, yeah, that makes sense. I, I've noticed that when it's really hot I don't sleep really well. Or if your feet are freezing cold, you're not gonna fall asleep cuz your feet are freezing cold.
[00:13:08] So we'll get to that, that there, we'll get to that in a minute. Okay. Number six, go to bed at the right time. It has been shown that human beings get the most beneficial hormone secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM So you get the most rejuvenating effects during this period, and any additional sleep that you get on is an additional bonus.
[00:13:31] It's a nice bonus,
[00:13:33] so this follows the circadian rhythm of going to sleep within a few hours of sundown, and then again, with technology we can override that natural cycle. So, but 10, 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM is that kind of money time. number seven is fix your gut to fix your sleep. So the food that you eat can dramatically affect the quality of the sleep that you get.
[00:13:55] Food isn't just food, it's information. It, it really is. And I know that people you hear at the gym, and I, and I've said it to clients that I've worked with before, food is fuel. It really is. What you put in your body makes a difference. If you feed your body crap, you're gonna feel like crap. You're gonna perform like crap if you feed your body well.
[00:14:13] Right non-processed, as close to the source, natural as possible. Your body is going to work better and you're going to feel. . So up to 95%. This is so fascinating. Up to 95% of your body's serotonin is located in your gut, and serotonin is, it's a feel-good hormone. One and two is the building block for your get good sleep hormone melatonin.
[00:14:40] So did you know that your gut has over a hundred million. neurons, your gut, a hundred million neurons, that's more than the spinal cord or your peripheral nervous system. So basically your belly is really smart, , which is why sometimes it's called the second brain, right? That that's why. So change your food.
[00:15:01] Change your sleep. We want our gut to be happy so that the bacteria help us and that the good bacteria help us, and then the bad bacteria don't take over. So things that you want to avoid that disrupt your gut micro. Agricultural chemicals, pesticides, fungicides, rodenticides, processed foods, the excessive sugars that are shown to breed pathogenic bacteria.
[00:15:25] Haphazard or repeated antibiotic use. You know, a lot of times you take antibiotics, you get an upset stomach. That's why you're killing all the good, good bugs as well as the bad bugs, chemical food additives and preservatives, and also chlorinated water, which is interesting. So make sure that you filter your water if your municipality if you've got city water, uses chlorine to treat it.
[00:15:45] So essentially you want to eat as cleanly and unprocessed real food as much as possible. So obviously, you know you wanna do that for your health and performance and you know, all of that other stuff, but it also is really impactful for your sleep. Okay, number eight, create a sleep sanctuary. So the bedroom should be for two things.
[00:16:07] And sexy time . If you have a lot of different activities happening in your bedroom, like it, have a home office or exercise equipment or a tv. , your brain is not able to create a routine. It's like, oh, we're in here. What, what? What are we gonna do? Right? You wanna keep it to sleep and sex only. And then another thing that is important in creating a sleep sanctuary is air quality.
[00:16:31] Air quality is really important for good sleep. And if you have the ability to have a fresh air or air ionizer in your bedroom, that will help. Also, house plants are great at filtering air. , creating that kind of calm feeling. Snake plants and English ivy are two great air purifying plants that don't require a lot of sun or water.
[00:16:50] Pretty easy to take care of. I've had my snake plant now for four years. Four, five years. Four years. Four years, and I didn't kill it. And we even moved it from Washington, Colorado. So they're pretty. . All right. Number 10, get blacked out. Light is not sleep friendly, and it's not just about covering your eyes, so you can't have a light room and be like, I'm gonna put on a sleep mask and everything's gonna be fine.
[00:17:12] No, your skin has photo receptors too. It can literally see. Research has shown that a quarter size beam of light on your calf. can bring a person out of deep sleep. So literally, they had these people in a sleep center, they were at sleeping at night in a dark room, and they took a light beam and they focused it on the calf the size of the quarter.
[00:17:35] , it brought the people out of deep sleep like they were monitoring their eeg, the brainwaves. Fascinating. use blackout shades and remove all artificial lights from your room. So that's like clock radios and alarm clocks and things like that. So if you have an alarm clock, red numbers are best, blue, green, and the bright, you wanna take those out.
[00:17:57] And then, you know, in our house, my, my girls are, they're getting older, but they're still on the younger side, so we have lots of night lights every. Not great for sleep. Okay number 11, train hard, but smart. So exercise is considered of virtual fountain of youth, right? If used in the right way. So, muscle, for example, is a reservoir for anti-aging hormones that help protect your DNA from oxidation.
[00:18:20] And research has shown that you can stay younger longer if you have more lean muscle on your body. But the kicker. , when you're actually in the gym getting your workout done, you're breaking down muscle with tiny little micro. Like that's literally what's happening in your body. The muscle musculature is being torn.
[00:18:41] The magic of recovery happens when you sleep . This is when your body releases major amounts of beneficial hormones and elicits that repair program that builds you up better than before. So you expose yourself to a healthy stressor with a. But you only get the benefit of that workout when you rest and you recover.
[00:19:03] So when should you work out? Cuz this wasn't, this is an interesting thing. I think there's a lot of, of kind of controversy. People have times that they like to, I like to work out first thing in the morning. I like to work out right before I go to bed. So a study done at Appalachian State University found that morning workouts are ideal if you wanna get the best sleep at night.
[00:19:21] So the study looked at the sleep patterns of participants who worked. At 7:00 AM 1:00 PM or 7:00 PM and what they found was that the people who worked out at seven. Was that they slept longer and they had deeper sleep cycles than when they worked out at the two. Other times when they worked out at 7:00 AM they spent 75% more time in the deepest, most reparative stages of sleep at night.
[00:19:48] So what about people that really like to work out at night? The problem with working out late into the. is that it significantly raises your core body temperature and it can take upwards of four to six hours for your temperature to come back down again. So as we talked about in number five, our body's core body temperature naturally falls in preparation for sleep.
[00:20:12] But if you work out at four 30, the spike in core body temperature will have neutralized and prepared you nicely for that 10:30 PM night.
[00:20:21] Number 12, keep your quote unquote friends out of your bedroom. Cell phones, televisions, desktops, laptops, iPads, Kindle tablets. more. Most people have turned their bedrooms into a miniature Best Buy location. But what are the health risks that are associated with this and what is it doing to our sleep?
[00:20:41] A study sponsored by mobile companies themselves showed that talking on the phone before bed led people to take longer to reach critical deep stages of sleep, and then they spent less time in deep sleep. So this translates to a diminish ability for the body to. Depressed immune function, depressed hormone function, and poor performance.
[00:21:03] The following day, researchers at Laro State University Sleep Research Center in England set out to test the impact of cell phone radiation on the human brain. This study is fascinating. So in the study, they strapped cell phones to the heads of study participants and monitored their brainwaves by e E.
[00:21:21] While the phone was switched on and off by a remote computer, the experiment revealed that after the phone was switched onto talk mode as if you're on a call, brainwave patterns called Delta waves remain depressed for more than an hour after the phone was turned off, and these delta brainwaves are the most reliable marker for deep.
[00:21:40] Sleep. A significant portion of your sleep consists of this stage and interference with it will have a noticeable effect on sleep efficiency, which is exactly what re researchers found. So even a more alarming is that almost 50% of Americans sleep with their cell phones right by their sides. Raise your hands.
[00:22:01] Raise your hands. Many people will admit to checking message alerts in the middle of the night and needlessly disrupting their sleep. This blows my mind. . It blows my mind. I don't know if you guys like, I don't. I feel like recently I've been thinking more and more about the way that we live in our society and just looking around like where we live, the city that we live in.
[00:22:27] the houses, and you know, it's everywhere. It's not just here in Denver they're like packed and stacked, right? There's like six feet between houses, like there's no space. Everything is just on top of each other. And it's like, it's just, it's so crazy. And then , you know, I showing my age a little bit here.
[00:22:47] You know, there were no cell phones when I was a kid. , your mom went to the store. You'll talk to her when she gets home. Like there's, there's not calling her while she's gone. And there's like, it, like our access to each other is, and I, I don't think that it's always a bad thing. Like it's nice to be able to have that, that touchpoint.
[00:23:06] However, I think that there's also a lot of detriment to that as well. , you know, and the constant, the, I I've been trying to be very thoughtful about how much time I'm spending on my phone. How often am I checking my email? How often am I getting on Instagram? How much time am I spending on social media, and how much time do I have my phone or device attached to my body?
[00:23:28] It is not necessary. . We need to let it go. It's just, it's, it's crazy. But anyways so when you, when. immediately check your email or notifications or whatever, like first thing, as soon as you wake up or in the middle of the. , you're putting other people's needs and concerns in front of yours from the jump, right?
[00:23:50] Because if someone's emailing you or calling, they want something from you, right? They want something from you. They need something from you. Information. It is not you. It's it's not about, it's not about you. Right? And we need to, and we talk about a little bit in the next, in a couple points down but taking time in the morning.
[00:24:08] to set yourself up without being like, what are, what do I wanna get done today? How do I want to feel? What do I, you know, like just taking that quiet time for yourself and not starting your day. Deluged with emails and texts and, and social media and all that other stuff. It's just crazy. Okay. Sorry, I digress.
[00:24:28] Number. Lose weight and don't find it again. Wouldn't that be nice? ? One of the most overlooked problems with getting great sleep is having too much body fat on your frame. Being overweight causes severe stress to your internal organs and nervous system, and it disrupts your endocrine system like few things canned, so your endocrine system.
[00:24:50] AKA your body's hormonal system is responsible for producing the home runs like melatonin and oxytocin and cortisol, which we've already talked about, have important roles in sleep. So he cites many studies in this chapter talking about the effects of cortisol, which is the stress hormone on the body, and the staggering increase in cortisol levels when you're overweight or obese.
[00:25:12] Oh my gosh. Bananas. In one study,, they looked at obese people and they were looking at cortisol levels. And right after a meal, their cortisol levels were 50% higher than a normal person. That's insane just because you're carrying extra weight on your frame. So bottom line is your weight makes a big difference in sleep quality.
[00:25:33] All right, number 14, go easy on the bottle. So alcohol . The good news about drinking alcohol late into the evening is that you do indeed fall asleep faster, right? The bad news is that REM sleep is significantly impacted by alcohol being in your system, so you won't be able to fall into those deeper, consistent stages of REM sleep, and your brain and body won't be able to properly rejuvenate.
[00:25:57] So that's why people generally don't feel that great when waking up from alcohol, lay sleep. And I'm reading another book right now too by Dr. Daniel Amon. He's the a brain specialist. And alcohol is a neurotoxin. Just throwing that out there for you. . It is a neurotoxin, so, Something to think about.
[00:26:18] All right, number 15, play your position. So sleep position makes a big difference in sleep quality. Some of the things that are affected by your sleep position are blood flow to the brain, your spine, hormone production, joint and ligament integrity, oxygen supply, and sufficient breathing, muscular function and healing, heart function and blood pressure, digestion and cellular metabolism.
[00:26:38] oh my word. If you're sleeping in a position that compromises your body's ability to recover, it doesn't matter how many hours of sleep you get, you're still gonna feel like crap when you wake up in the morning. One of the most important parts of this is maintaining the alignment of your spine. Many experts believe that sleeping on your back is the ideal sleeping position, but it can be hindered if you've got a huge pillow
[00:26:59] So again, you wanna think about that spinal alignment and how that looks for you. So when you get into bed, is your. Or your head significantly higher than the base of your shoulders, then you're gonna wanna get a thinner pillow. . For those side sleepers, like myself recommendations are to make sure again, that your pillow isn't too big, looking for that nice spinal alignment.
[00:27:19] And then do a bit of a shoulder lean back. So kind of like bring, you know, when you lay on your side, if you lay directly on top of your shoulder, you're gonna wake up in the middle of the night with pins and needles in a and a numb arm. So if you can. lay, lean back just a hair so that your shoulder has the ability, you know, blood flow can properly be maintained in that.
[00:27:40] would be good. And then add a soft pillow between your knees if you have back issues. Also if you have a crappy mattress, , you're, it's gonna affect your sleep. So you don't have to have the most expensive, you know, bed on the block, but you don't wanna sink into a pit when you climb into your bed either.
[00:27:57] So again, that, thinking about that spinal alignment, and then here's a fun fact. Experts recommend that you replace your mattress every seven years. How long have you had your bed for? ? Can you think about that? It's bananas. Michael and I just got a new bed two years ago, and the bed we had previous to that we'd had for 16 years , so that's not so good.
[00:28:22] Replace it every seven years. All right, number 16, calm your inner chatter . We like to hop into bed and then proceed to think about all the things, and it's called inner chatter. And it can really wreak havoc on your ability to get to sleep and then to stay that way. And there, there isn't anything wrong with you if you have lots of thoughts, like it's part of the human condition, but there's ways that we can manage this chatter so that we can optimize our sleep.
[00:28:48] So experts estimate that we have upwards of. Thousand thoughts per day. And most of them are totally random and very short-lived. But we need to learn how to turn down the volume when we want to. And in today's world of constant information and stress, it's important to develop a practice to help buffer those thoughts.
[00:29:09] And that is meditation. So we wanna. Your brain. You don't have to subscribe to any beliefs. You don't have to sit cross-legged on the floor for hours meditation or brain training. Think about it that way. Brain training can be as simple as just sitting quietly and focusing on your breath or counting your steps as you walk around the park.
[00:29:31] Meditation is like a tonic. It's something that you can take every day, and the results just keep getting better and better. My recommendation is to start with. Five to 10 minutes and then work up to more. I really like guided meditations as a good starting off point because often we're wondering if we're quote unquote doing it right and there, there is no right or wrong way.
[00:29:54] It's simply just slowing down and taking the time to quiet the brain. And if you are sitting there and your brain, like all of a sudden you're like, oh, you know, often la la land, it's totally fine. You just bring yourself. To what you were focusing on. And that's why, again, that's why I really like guided meditations and, and I practice what I preach here.
[00:30:14] I do, I, I got outta practice for a while and was not feeling very good, but I am back in my practice again where I'm waking up 30 to 45 minutes before the girls get up so that I have that quiet time before the day get started. And I really like there's a couple of apps that I really like and one is insight timer.
[00:30:34] And the other one is the tapping solution. So there's lots of really great guided meditations on Insight Timer, and it's completely free. And then calm is another one that I have that I've liked. But there's a ton out there. So dig in a little bit and find that one that you like, and then make that part of your routine.
[00:30:50] And again, the guided ones, it just helps, especially as you're getting started. You know, you know how long it's gonna be. It tells you how long it's gonna be. You can pick different subjects and then it just guides you through it. So then you are not, you know, sitting there thinking, okay, how much time am I almost done?
[00:31:05] How, what you know, all that other stuff. Okay. Number 17, use smart supplementation. Many people look to supplements to help them sleep, but they come with a huge caveat. Ideal. , you first need to address the lifestyle issues that are actually causing the sleep problem. And this is why I'm gonna try not to get on a soapbox , but why our health system is so effed up.
[00:31:31] Because we don't treat, we treat symptoms, we don't treat causes. Why? Why? What is the root problem? Why is this happening? Not, oh, you have a headache here, take this. Oh, your stomach hurts. Here, take. No. Why? Why is it doing that? What can I do lifestyle wise to help myself out? Okay, so we wanna focus on lifestyle changes first, and then if you still need help, then maybe introduce some supplementation.
[00:32:01] because if you jump to taking drugs or supplements, then again, you're just treating the symptom and likely it will increase the likelihood that you'll develop a dependency on something or that it could harm you in the long term. There are many natural sleep aids like chamomile, kava, kava, and valerian.
[00:32:20] And notice which popular sleep aid was not on that list, and it's melatonin melatonin has become, very popular as of late with all of society's sleeping issues. And melatonin supplementation can be very effective for some people. But what is critical to understand about melatonin is that it is an actual hormone that you are taking.
[00:32:45] And just like any other hormone therapy, such as testosterone therapy or estrogen therapy. It comes with greater risk and side effects and potential problems. One of the main issues with melatonin supplementation is that it can potentially down regulate your body's natural ability to utilize melatonin on its own.
[00:33:04] And many people who've consistently taken melatonin have noticed that over time. , they have to take more and more and more, and their sleep quality isn't necessarily better. So remember that melatonin is a hormone, not a vitamin. All right, number 18, be early to rise. So we already talked about the benefits of sunlight and helping us get better sleep, so going to bed early and waking up early.
[00:33:27] Sinks the body's natural internal clock with the natural cycle of the Earth's circadian rhythm, which is more restorative than trying to sleep when the sun's up. Humans were not evolved to be nocturnal creatures. We don't have any of the adaptations for nighttime. We are designed to thrive in the daylight.
[00:33:44] So we need to be sleeping when it's dark and awake when it's light. Number 19, use body work that works in a study on chronic pain sufferers published in the International Journal of Neuroscience. It was found that in addition to decreased long-term pain test subjects receiving massage therapy experienced, improved.
[00:34:05] And an increase in serotonin levels. We all know that massage feels great, but many of us underestimate just how powerful it can be for great sleep. Massage is like the secret key to unlocking your body's sympathetic or fight or flight nervous system and activating. Your parasympathetic nervous system or rest and digest, and there's a really long list of benefits of, of massage.
[00:34:30] It's not just for sleep quality. So again, be sure to get yourself a copy of the book and then get all of the info. All right, we're almost there. Number 20, dress for the occasion. I'm not sure that I know a person who doesn't love pajamas, right? Everybody like can, how early can I get in my pajamas and in our house, we try once a week to have a pajama day where we stay in our pajamas all day long.
[00:34:53] So it just, the thought of pajamas alone, it just elicits this calming feeling in the body. But what kind of pajamas you wear makes a big difference. So ideally you wanna wear loose spinning clothes or no clothes at all. If that's your thing, you want zero restriction. And so you wanna make sure that there isn't any elastic that might inhibit blood flow or not allow your body's lymphatic system to do its job while you're sleeping.
[00:35:18] That's the thing with sleep is. , your body detoxify, especially your brain. And he goes into it, the science behind it, the different types of cells and things like that. And, and what happens to our body when we're sleeping? It's incredibly important. Detox. We, when you don't get rid of the toxins, that's where we're getting all of the Alzheimer's and cancer and all the other issues that we have, right?
[00:35:41] It's through the lymphatic. that toxins can move out of your body. And if it's cut off in any way, it's like a water hose, right? You kink the water hose and the back part of it gets super big and then you know, it just, it makes a mess. So it's gonna swell and mess everything out. So essentially, , if you can take off your clothes, your pajamas, and you can still see the outline of what you just just had on, it's too tight , and it's important to remember that for socks too.
[00:36:11] , you know, we talked about the optimal room temperature being 65 degrees, and that might make your feet a little bit chilly, so just make sure to wear those like loose scrunchy socks or like hiking socks, not your athletic cut gym socks. . And then, oh my gosh. Ladies, ladies, ladies. This goes for bras two.
[00:36:30] This is fascinating. So in 2009, a study found that women who slept in their bras had a 60% greater risk for developing breast cancer. Are you freaking kidding me with that? Right. So numerous studies are finding that there is a correlation between breast cancer and habitual bra wearers. And it makes sense if you think about it, how much lymph, lymph nodes you have through your underarms and the where, where your breasts are right next to that, right?
[00:37:03] Like it, it makes sense. So it doesn't, it doesn't mean that you need to throw your bras away, , it does mean that you need to be conscientious of the connection. So if you can see the indentations of your bra on your back, on your shoulders, on your breasts, it's a clear indication that you're inhibiting blood flow and circulation and cutting off that lymphatic system.
[00:37:23] So many women who are habitual bra wear. are doing so because there's this whole cultural thing, right? That your boobs are gonna be saggy if you don't wear a bra all the time, your boobs are gonna be saggy and you're gonna have more back pain. There was a 15 year study of more than 300 women, and they concluded, quote, medically, physiologically, and anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity.
[00:37:54] unquote. So overall, it found that women who didn't wear bras actually developed more muscle tissue to more naturally support their breast. So more muscle tissue across the chest to more naturally support their breasts and had a greater nipple lift in relation to their shoulders. Conversely, women who wore bras actually accelerated their breast sagging.
[00:38:18] This is contrary to deeply ingrained public opinion, but it's actually based on sound science. I thought that that was really, really fascinating. All right, last one. Number 21. Get ground. . Since the beginning of time, humans have had a constant connection with the earth, right? Our ancestors would come in contact with the Earth's surface on a daily basis, walking, hunting, gathering food and water and more.
[00:38:40] And nearly everything they did required a connection to the earth. And today in our industrialized world, Many people go days, weeks, or even longer without coming in contact with the surface of the earth itself. We might walk outside to our cars, but most likely we're wearing rubber sold non-conductive shoes that ensure that our bodies never get that connection.
[00:39:03] Scientists are discovering that this is having a huge impact on our health. Overwhelming research is showing the benefits of Earth's electromagnetic surface has on the body, and we might not realize this, but the human body is highly conductive. We like the earth, are running on electromagnetic energy.
[00:39:22] Yes, our nervous system is like the internal wiring that's transmitting information throughout your entire body, and we're also made of minerals and our tissues hold water, so we are very much like a walking, talking, conductive battery. You give off and receive energy every second of every day. And there is a ridiculous amount of research on how our bodies are impacted, both positively and negatively by electromagnetic energy.
[00:39:50] This is also part of why you wanna have your phones and electronics out of your room, because that electromagnetic energy harms your body. Bottom line is that grounding, quote unquote, grounding yourself with the earth's surface is critical for our health. So grounding to the earth changes your physiology immediate.
[00:40:09] Immediately. The more you ground, the more you benefit because you are at your most natural electrical state when connected to the earth. And this is interesting, like think about it, I don't know how it is for you, but like for me, when I go to the ocean and I'm walking in the sand and I'm hearing the wave, like I just feel like there's like.
[00:40:29] a blanket on me. Like it just, it's, so, that's my happy place, . It's just so calming. That's part of it, is you are, you are grounding yourself and getting rid of that, you know, all of that positive energy, that, not in positive energy, like, woohoo, woohoo, woohoo. But like, like that draws on your body, right. . So even one minute a day is beneficial, but 10 or more minutes of grounding per day is even better.
[00:41:00] If you live in a climate where grounding isn't always feasible, it is literally 14 degrees outside here in Denver today, is when access to Earthing products can be really helpful. So there's sheets, there's mattress pads, there's chair mats, there's floor mats that you could. Feet on a mat while you're working at your desk and there's so much more.
[00:41:19] I haven't used any of this myself, but the research and the data is so compelling to the benefits of grounding that, and, and obviously I know that from, like during the summertime and stuff, I try to be outside barefoot as much as I possibly can. But. It's not always easy in the wintertime. So what this grounding, you know, with these grounding products that they have, , they essentially are attached to like little chargers.
[00:41:44] So there's a negative charge to it so that it helps to balance out your electromagnetic fields that are all around you., I haven't bought anything myself or invested anything myself, but I'm definitely going to be looking into that and making some investments there for sure. Okay, so there you have it.
[00:42:00] 21 Strategies to help you sleep smarter and improve your health. I would love to hear. Your thoughts on today's episode and what, if any, of the strategies that you are gonna incorporate into your sleep routine. So hit me up on Instagram at the Male Spouse Podcast and let me know. And then also, if you like, these kinds of episodes.
[00:42:19] So I, I've said it before, you know, military life is really hard and anything that we can do to help our mental resiliency, I think is, I think is worth the investment to help. You know, anything that we can do. Build ourselves up and take care of ourselves, I think is, is positive. So let me know what you guys think.
[00:42:42] Until next time.