Chrissy's Q&A is a bi-weekly feature from Apex Performance Integration's assistant coach, Chrissy Mangold. If you have a question, feel free to submit it in the comments below!
In part one of this article, I talked about the different sleep stages and why they all matter. Now it's time to give you some practical tips to help maximize your sleep as best you can.
Each cycle is important and plays a part in allowing the body and mind to wake up feeling refreshed. If you want optimal sleep my advice would be to work on your sleep hygiene. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started:
Going to bed around the same time every night
We have internal clocks, and each person is unique. These clocks are what we call our circadian rhythm. Our body adjusts and begins to feel tired at just the right time each night. Our body likes routine. Between 10 pm and 2 am is when we get the most beneficial hormone secretion and recovery. Our stress glands rest and recharge the most between 11 pm and 1 am. Metabolism production is the highest between 10 pm and 2 am. It helps to regulate your circadian rhythm by going to bed at the same time every night.
Avoid blue light
Blue light has the most powerful effect on our sleep-wake internal body clock. This is any light that comes from screens like televisions, phones, tablets, computers, laptops, and more. The light gets into our eyes and signals to our brain that it's time to be awake and prevents our bodies from producing melatonin. Blue light boosts your alertness and mental sharpness when your body should be winding down. Blue-blocking glasses are all the rage these days for this reason, however, orange lenses are incredibly more effective than clear lenses. You also don't have to pay an arm and a leg for them either. Here is a relatively cheap pair that I recommend to people all the time and have used myself for years. They work best 1-2 hours before bed.
This is another one where I have heard people say, “I can drink a cup of coffee before bed and still fall asleep”. Yes, you fall asleep, but your sleep quality suffers. You should not drink anything with caffeine in it 8 hrs. before bed. It can make it hard to fall asleep and it delays the timing of your body clock and reduces your amount of deep sleep.
This is the big one most people don’t want to hear, about, and many times, I have heard, “It helps me sleep”. Alcohol may aid with sleep due to its sedative properties, however, it will disrupt your sleep cycles because your liver enzymes metabolize the alcohol. It really disrupts REM cycles and decreases sleep quality. I know it is ridiculous to suggest not drinking (that is me being sarcastic) but I do recommend staying properly hydrated while doing so. Try drinking some water in between each drink.
Alcohol is quite possibly the biggest sleep killer of them all.
Eating a large meal too close to bed disrupts your sleep because your body is digesting when it should be resting.
Keep your room temperature between 60-70 degrees. Having a colder room reinforces your body’s instinct to sleep. The body cools itself down to prepare for sleep and when it cools it releases melatonin, this in turn helps the body temperature to drop more. This helps you to fall asleep quicker and remain asleep. The goal of sleep should be quality over quantity.
My advice to anyone who is trying to lose weight, reduce stress, or always feeling under the weather: focus on your sleep first. Then you will find it easier to accomplish other goals with your health!
That's plenty enough to start with. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below!
If you need help determining if you're on the right track with your sleep, nutrition, and more, we've created a FREE self-assessment with only 10 important questions to find out if you're really on the right track to reach your goals. The best part about it is that one of our coaches will analyze your answers and develop a customized action plan to help you get started or fine-tune what you're already doing. No AI, no fancy gimmicks, and no cookie-cutter details. You know that's not our style. The second best part? We'll even hop on a quick call with you to go over it if you'd like. Why waste time and effort spinning your wheels when you can jumpstart your progress? Click this link to get your free assessment and get on the right track!