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September 25, 2023

In over 25 years of working in human performance I’ve fielded a lot of questions about trendy, hardcore exercise programs, recent nutritional research and the newest supplement to hit the market. What the questioner is usually looking for in a response is “permission” from a professional to try the latest & greatest trend in the hopes of finding their illusive magic formula to enhanced health & wellness. Instead, I often ask a question of my own, which is, “how well do you sleep?” Before commenting on their initial inquiry I explain that healthy sleep is the foundation on which all physical activity and nutritional habits are built. And that if they are not getting adequate amounts of quality sleep, the benefits from other positive lifestyle behaviors will be mitigated. Tips for a high quality sleep routine include:

  • Limit blue light exposure 2-3 hours before bedtime
  • Consume your last calorie of the day 2-4 hours before bedtime
  • Engage in relaxing activities (meditation, deep breathing, reading) before bed
  • Set your bedroom room temperature to below 68 degrees
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible
  • Going to bed within the same 20-30 minute window each night
  • Waking up within the same 20-30 minute window each morning
  • Expose yourself to 5-10 minutes of  natural light (preferably outside) within 30 minutes of waking
  • Engage in movement based activities that elevate your heart rate multiple time per      day, but not too close to bed
  • Stop using caffeine after 1pm (ideal caffeine consumption window is 90 minutes after waking until 12pm)
  • Moderate and/or eliminate alcohol consumption

How alert you feel when waking is often a decent measure of how well you slept, but for those interested in objective feedback, wearables like the Oura Ring & Apple Watch have improved their sleep data accuracy with their recent product releases.

”Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.” – Tom Roth

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