We all know that getting a great night’s sleep is critical to your energy levels, mood and happiness but there’s nothing more frustrating than tossing and turning profusely only to wake up feeling even more exhausted than when you got into bed the night before.
To help all the insomniacs out there nod off, we’ve enlisted Nick Powell, a peak performance coach who works with high-achieving entrepreneurs and senior leaders, to share his foolproof (and cost-free) tips for getting some shut-eye.
Nick is the author of Limitless, a book containing twelve strategies to enable you to ‘biohack’ your way to exceptional performance, just like Bradley Cooper in the hit movie, Limitless.
As well as getting to grips with sleep, diet, meditation and exercise, Nick teaches people all about fasting, smart drugs, light therapy, Heart Rate Variability training, toxin exposure, cold therapy, ketogenic diets and time-efficient exercise.
He maintains that there are some simple and very effective ways that people can get a great night’s sleep that are completely free with no need for expensive gadgets or supplements. Here, Nick shares 7 ways you can improve the quality of your sleep with next to no effort.
Start tracking your sleep quality
Tracking how you’re sleeping and the quality of your sleep is really important because you will start to realise what gives you a great night sleep and what doesn’t. I have been tracking my sleep for years and when I started, my sleep quality was dreadful and by making a few small changes, I have been able to massively increase the quality of my sleep, so I no longer need to sleep for as long. I use a special ring to track my sleep but you can track it for free by using www.sleepcycle.com – download the app and follow the instructions.
Avoid caffeine after 2pm
Caffeine is a stimulant and will interfere with the quality of your sleep even if you think it doesn’t. I’m always amazed at the number of people who will have an espresso after dinner and then complain that they can’t sleep at night. Make the time earlier than 2pm if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine.
Sleep in a cave
Make sure the room is completely dark and cool. Blackout the windows and tape up any LEDs on devices in your bedroom, especially if they are blue. It must be pitch black. Also, keep the room cool and aim for the temperature in the bedroom to be 18.5° Celsius. Nobody likes being too hot in bed.
Avoid all LED lights before bed
Exposure to laptops, phones and LED lights before bed signals to your brain that it’s not night time, it’s midday. Your body therefore does not produce melatonin to help you fall into a deep sleep. Turn the lights down 90 minutes before bedtime and if you need to use a screen, turn on the filters to make the blue light less harsh.
Empty your brain
Create a bedtime routine which not only avoids electronic devices but includes writing a journal for 5 minutes to stop yourself from worrying about forgetting things. Also, reading fiction for 10 minutes will calm down your mind and help you to unwind.
Don’t stay up too late
Get to bed before 11pm – because of your circadian rhythm, if you are awake after this time your cortisol level rises and you’ll get a second wind. Also, for some people, if they exercise within two hours of their bedtime, it increases their adrenaline levels, heart rate, and body temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Honey, tea and apple cider vinegar: combine two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of honey and stir these into one cup of decaffeinated tea. This pre-bed cocktail will knock you out. It’s worth the funky taste.