Embracing the Night: A Light Sleeper's Guide to Restorative Rest
IF Insider No. 73
In our last issue (IF Insider No. 72), we looked at the critical differences between acute and chronic stress and why you should know the differences and effects each has on your body.
For our premium subscribers, in this week’s Research Spotlight, we’ll look at an intriguing new study that suggests breath work may be better able to improve mood and change your body’s physiological state than mindfulness meditation.
Our paid subscribers also get one of Ellen’s recipes each month. We recently featured Ellen’s Matcha Lemonade, a drink that is both healthful and beautiful.
Looking for a supportive group that “gets” your interest in IF and other cutting-edge health information? Our free intermittent fasting Facebook group, with over 1800 members, is a wealth of info, in addition to our new Longevity Experience membership.
The Light Sleepers Guide To The Galaxy
Are you a light sleeper and do you long to get deeper, more refreshing sleep every night? If so, this issue is for you because today, we are talking about how to get deeper sleep, especially if you are a light sleeper.
So how do you know if you are a light sleeper? Well, if you are then chances are you wake up way too easily and you may find it hard to both fall asleep and stay asleep. And, it’s not really fully understood why some folks seem to be able to sleep through just about anything and others are wide awake at the slightest noise. Getting into those deeper stages of sleep every night can make a huge difference in the way you feel the next day, so let’s look at 7 ways you can increase your ability to sleep more deeply.
Number One - Did you know that, according to the National Sleep Foundation, warming your feet up at night can help you sleep better? This is especially true in cold weather. When you warm your feet, the blood vessels dilate and help to distribute heat throughout your body. So, putting on a pair of warm fuzzy socks before bed might do the trick.
Number Two - Get some sun. As soon after you get up as possible, get out outside into the natural light. This could be as simple as taking your morning cup of coffee or tea out onto your deck or balcony or into your backyard. Just a few minutes of exposure to sunlight in the morning can help you sleep better at night as it helps to regulate your sleep and wake cycles.
Number Three - Get your exercise in, but not at night. If at all possible, get your exercise in the early morning. Early morning workouts help people sleep better that night than if you work out later in the day. If you can do your exercise outdoors, such as running or walking, then you can combine getting in that early morning natural light with early morning exercise for a double boost.
Number Four - Try napping. I know it seems counterintuitive that sleeping during the day could help you sleep better at night. But if you do it strategically, napping can help. Taking regular naps lowers stress and also reduces your risk of stroke and heart attack, weight gain, and even diabetes. But don’t sleep past 3 pm when napping to avoid sleep disruption that night.
Number Five - Consider a magnesium supplement. If your magnesium levels are low, you may be experiencing sleep problems as well as muscle cramps and even anxiety. You can ask your doctor about testing your magnesium levels to see if supplementation is required, or you could experiment with taking a readily available over-the-counter magnesium supplement to see if that helps.
Number Six - Wake up at the same time every morning, even on the weekends. We’ve talked about the importance of this here at the IF Insider before and yes, it’s hard to do, but one sleep expert stated unequivocally that getting up at the same time every single morning was one of the single best things you can do for your well-being.
Number Seven - Go polyphasic! By this I mean breaking up your sleep into two different time periods, as this seems to work well for some people. A typical polyphasic sleeping schedule typically includes between five and eight hours of sleep each night, with a 15 to 90-minute nap during the day.
And there are your seven deep sleep hacks. Let’s go back to the nap hack for a moment. I am going to let you in on how to do a CEO power nap in just a minute but first I can’t resist telling you about a Dutch company that wants you to sleep with their robot!
And no, this is not what you think...this robot doesn’t even look remotely human and was introduced a couple of years ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Known as the Somnox, the ‘robot’ is a bean-shaped, cloth covered pillow like device that you cuddle up to in bed.
The device contains audio and carbon dioxide sensors and is able to sense when you are sleeping. You hold it against your chest as you are trying to get to sleep and the robot will expand in and out as though it is breathing and automatically synchronizes your breathing to that of the sleep robot to bring your body into a state of deep relaxation. Intriguing but still a little creepy...maybe I’ve been watching too many sci-fi movies or hearing too much about AI lately!
Ok, let’s see how to do that CEO power nap. If you want to take a short afternoon catnap of about twenty minutes here’s how.
First of all, sleeping only twenty minutes will put you mostly into stage 2 sleep which is going to enhance your concentration and alertness, elevate your mood and sharpen your motor skills...all good outcomes, of course. But to boost your alertness when you awaken, drink a cup of caffeinated coffee or tea right before you nap. Caffeine takes about 20 to 30 minutes to have an effect, it will kick in just as you are waking up!
If you are a light sleeper, put some or all of these suggestions into place to deepen your sleep. Also, if you are a Premium Subscriber, check out our audio IF Insider Tip of the Week: Brainwashing While You Sleep, which underscores the need for deep sleep.
Why It Matters
“Innocent sleep. Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary laborer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life’s feast, and the most nourishing.”
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth - Often called the “Bard of Avon,” English playwright, poet and actor William Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest writer and dramatist in the English language.
What We Are Reading 📚
Denise - I’m in the midst of reading Dr. Peter Attia’s new, and first, book on longevity, Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity, currently ranked #1 on Amazon…of all books. It’s a hefty book and there’s a lot of science I don’t quite understand.
If you’re a fan of Dr. Attia’s podcast, The Drive, then you’ll hear his voice throughout (he reads the audio version). I appreciate the transparency of his journey and taking this very deep dive into the decade of work he’s done with his clients and himself.
I listened to this interview with Dr. Attia about his book on Rich Roll’s podcast while I was driving to L.A. from Northern California. The time jus flew by…
Ellen - I rarely read fiction, but this novel, The Orchid Tattoo, described as a cross between social commentary and thriller, came highly recommended by a friend. I read the first few pages and was immediately hooked. The characters, as well as the topic, are gritty: sex trafficking in all of its horror. If you want to learn more about the reality of what goes on in this world, many times right under our noses, look no further than this gripping fictional account by award-winning author, Carla Damron.
Did you like this article and learn something new? If so, please let us know in the comments! Questions and suggestions for future articles are welcome, too!
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