Sleep is often so very overlooked.
It is starting to get the attention it deserves, however.
A lack of sleep can make us unfocused, fatigued, and can even increase beta amyloid and tau protein build up in our brain, which could be a potential cause for Alzheimer’s disease or neurodegenerative diseases.
Once again, our modern lifestyle has reduced our ability to get high quality sleep.
We work too much and for too long reducing the total length of sleep we get. We stay up too late staring at screens which emit bright, blue light, inhibiting our bodies natural melatonin response.
We spend less time outside, which means our body’s circadian rhythm or “body clock” is not aligned or optimised.
We also consume lots of food before bed, or we drink alcohol which demolishes all deep sleep.
There is a myriad of reasons why sleep length, and sleep quality is decreasing.
Thankfully, improving sleep is one of the easiest things to do. We also have heaps of cool products, such as natural sleep aids, blue light blocking glasses or software/hardware to help us track our sleep and figure out how to improve it.
In an ideal world, the best solution would simply be to get more sleep. Take naps during the day. Don’t have an alarm in the morning. Sleep as much as your body “needs”.
However, we have things to do. We have jobs, businesses and passions to pursue, so we have to be creative with solutions to get the BEST out of whatever amount of sleep we can get.
Let’s take a look at some of the best strategies we can implement today to improve our sleep:
Block bright, blue light late at night
When we stare at screens, like your TV, phone, laptop or iPad at night, it tricks your brain and your circadian rhythm to think its still day light. This obviously isn’t good. It actually inhibits your bodies natural melatonin production, which is what makes you sleepy and get a restful sleep.
You can turn on your phones “Blue light filter” as well as reduce screen brightness to help with this.
Alternatively, you can purchase some blue light blocking glasses like these from our friends at Barkley Eyewear (https://barkleyeyewear.com/). These glasses have lenses which filter our the potentially harmful blue light!
Or, do what humans have always done. Don’t look at any screens at night time! This will surely help significantly.
Sip on some chamomile tea
This is a tradition we’ve been practicing for some time.
We’ve subjectively always found a hot cup of Chamomile tea every night after dinner to give a very soothing and calming effect. But now there’s research objectively showing why this occurs. (See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/)
Chamomile tea has many constituent compounds such as Terpenes and Flavonoids, and particularly, one notable compound called Apigenin.
Apigenin acts as a specific GABA receptor antagonist. It binds to GABA receptors and induces a calming effect.
So what are you waiting for? Trade in your night time snack for a hot cup of Chamomile tea.
Use natural supplements
There are a few key natural compounds you can look at supplementing with to help support your sleep.
Primarily, we suggest looking into Ashwaganhda (Sensoril brand), Magnesium Glycinate and L-Theanine.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, that helps control and regulate cortisol (stress levels) and exerts a potent calming effect.
Magnesium Glycinate is a special form of magnesium (an essential mineral) that is bound to Glycine, as has potent anxiolytic and sleep improvement effects.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea, that can increase levels of calming neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin. It also increase alpha brain waves, the brain state most commonly known as the meditative state.
To learn more about these 3 ingredients, check out our blog post here! https://neuratech.com.au/blogs/neuratech/best-nootropics-2020-stress-relaxation-sleep
We generally do not recommend using Melatonin, unless you’re trying to “reset” your circadian rhythm after a long flight where you are still adjusting to a new time zone. The maximum dosage you should use is 300mcg-1mg. People often use 5mg or 10mg melatonin supplements, and that is just too much.
Also, if taken too frequently, melatonin could downregulate your bodies own endogenous production of Melatonin
Use an Oura ring to track your sleep
The Oura ring is a wearable ring device that uses sensors to measure specific biometrics related to sleep.
This includes heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), movement, temperature and so on.
Based off this data, it gives you a “Readiness” and “Sleep” score each day based on your previous nights sleep.
It’s super useful for experimenting and determining whether or not certain strategies are actually improving your sleep score. For example, you could start blocking blue light at night, or taking certain supplements and measure whether or not it its actually improving your sleep.
Don’t eat before bed
This one may have caught you off guard.
Eating a large meal right before bed can actually interfere with high quality sleep.
You should aim to have your last meal AT LEAST 2-3 hours before getting into bed. You can actually measure and test the difference using an Oura Ring
Minimise alcohol before bed
This should be obvious. Or maybe not.
Even just 1-2 standard drinks in the evening can seriously reduce your DEEP sleep levels.
You wonder why you feel terrible after a night of drinking - we would guess most of it is from the almost non-existing deep sleep it causes.
Once again, you can test this using an Oura ring and the results will shock you. It shocked us.