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How are you sleeping?
Are you getting the full amount of sleep your body needs every night? Or are you taking ages to fall asleep each night, getting just a few hours and waking up groggy, feeling like shit, and reaching for the nearest source of caffeine?
And do you feel jealous of people who just drop straight to sleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow?
Well if that sounds like you, you might be doing real damage to your body in the long term. Your body won’t get the time it needs to recover. Your immune system will always play catch-up, and your gene expression will also take a hit.
Even worse, those effects can lead to a messed-up metabolism, a less powerful brain, inflammation, and a more pronounced weakness to diseases.
You could also be damaging your muscle and strength gains. Sleep is a vital part of recovery, and sportspeople especially need high quality sleep. Every serious athlete knows how important their sleep is.
But don’t worry – I actually have a few methods that I’m about to share with you right now that will help you become an effective sleeper. I know they work because they worked on me!
And I used to be a shit sleeper – I used to toss and turn all night, and it was awful.
But now I take barely five minutes to fall asleep. Sometimes even faster than that. Last night I fell asleep in less than 30 seconds.
Anyone can learn these methods, and you can use them tonight to get a better night’s sleep.
In fact, by exercising, lifting weights, and eating right, you’re already at a huge advantage over everyone else. Regular exercise and a good diet do have a great effect on sleep quality.
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You probably already know that sleep is important
It’s no secret nowadays that a good night’s sleep is vital for good health, and that athletes especially need it for recovery.
And yet so many people are cursed with bad sleeping habits.
Yes, there are legitimate medical and psychological disorders that stop people from sleeping properly.
But for the vast majority of the population, you can use the three methods I’m going to share with you when you go to bed tonight to start becoming an amazing sleeper.
Ignore this article at your peril. If you ignore this guide to better sleep and carry on with your poor sleeping habits, you’re doing your body a massive disservice:
- Disrupting your body’s natural sleep patterns ruins the release of natural anabolic hormones that your body gives you for free at night
- It can also hurt the natural cell repair process that runs alongside the natural anabolic hormone release while you sleep at night
- Poor sleep is a risk factor in heart disease
- It’s also associated with brain shrinkage and neurodegeneration in the long term
But if you keep on reading, and implement the super-easy steps in each of these three methods, you’ll get better at getting to sleep faster starting from tonight.
Your heart rate is too high
When you go to bed, is your brain still buzzing, and do you struggle to switch it off? Do you keep thinking about things that happened that day? Or even things that happened years ago?
Well you’re among a lot of people who do that. And it’s destroying your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Even something as simple as playing video games or watching an emotional movie right before bedtime can raise your heart rate.
Even if you don’t consciously feel stressed, your breathing rate and heart rate can both be in a more active state – your breathing rate short and fast and your heart beating fast.
You can actually slow your heart rate down by changing your breathing pattern. All you have to do is slow your breathing right down, and take in a lot more air with each breath.
This method is so effective at relaxing you and slowing down your heart reate, it’s almost like taking a sedative.
Method #1 – The 4-7-8 Method
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds
- Repeat until you fall asleep
Credit for this method goes to Alina Gonzalez, who used this technique to help herself fall asleep faster the night before a big wedding.
This method is so simple and easy to try, and it will affect you like it affected me. Just this one method was effective enough to fall asleep faster.
And now I use it every single night to get a good night’s rest.
Get into a schedule
Before you go to bed, do you lie down and read a book? Or do you look at your smartphone or laptop?
And do you also snooze in bed most mornings, not getting up for a good while after waking?
Well according to Steve Pavlina, both of those habits are actively hurting your chances at getting to sleep quickly.
And if anyone knows how to get to sleep faster, it’s him, if we’re to believe his claims at how fast he can fall asleep – sometimes as fast as a quarter of a second.
He says that to get faster at falling asleep, you need a stricter schedule for bed usage, and regular napping.
In particular, he recommends waking up at the same time every day with an alarm, and getting into bed so that the time between then and your usual wake-up time is exactly how much sleep you want.
So if you need to be up at 7am, climb into bed at midnight.
He also recommends that you immediately attempt to sleep when you lie down in your bed. No reading, no thinking, just sleeping.
Do not snooze or lounge around in your bed when you wake up either. Get up as soon as you wake up. Do not let your brain and body associate lying down in bed with anything other than being asleep.
Napping regularly can also help to reinforce this.
Put a timer on for 20 minutes, lie down in your bed or somewhere else that’s comfortable. After the timer’s up, get up. No thoughts or other activities, just try to get some sleep.
If you didn’t sleep, that’s fine. You’ll get there. If you did sleep, fantastic. But don’t lounge around for any longer than the time you allot yourself to nap.
This will help to reinforce the strict timing patterns of sleeping. When you’re lying down, you’re sleeping. You’re not snoozing or lounging.
Method #2 – Strict, Regimented Sleeping Times
- Wake up at the same time every day, with an alarm
- Go to bed so that you need to sleep every hour between then and your alarm time
- Attempt to sleep as soon as you go to bed
- Get up as soon as you wake up in the morning
- Take strict 20 minute naps during the day
The only thing I disagree with slightly is the caffeine part. I’ve been able to keep drinking coffee first thing in the morning and I’ve been perfectly able to fall asleep much faster than I used to.
I definitely don’t drink coffee or take any source of caffeine after midday though.
To get ready for sleep, darkness in your bedroom is essential. You probably already knew that.
But in the hours leading up to bedtime, are you staring at a smartphone screen, or at a laptop or desktop computer screen?
Well that actually has enough of an effect to damage your sleep. There are many studies that have shown that the glare from these devices tricks your brain into thinking it’s earlier in the day, keeping you awake.
This mental activation is the opposite of what you want to happen late at night. You should be chilling out and relaxing, not switching on your brain.
This relates back to the first point – your brain and body are easily tricked by modern technology.
But fortunately this works both ways. And there is a free app you can use on your computer, smartphone, you name it, to keep using these devices while avoiding the eerie blue glare that keeps you awake.
It’s called f.lux. It adjusts the brightness and colour of your monitor or device’s screen to match the time of day wherever you are in the world.
In the morning and throughout the day your screen will be completely normal, and as it gets into the evening and towards bedtime, you’ll notice the software gradually softening the brightness and colours on the screen.
It only take a few seconds to download and automatically activate itself. The colour change is weird at first, but you’ll get used to it.
You’ll definitely notice a difference in how much kinder your screen will be on your eyes too. Looking at a regular screen you’ll instantly want to look away because it’s so much brighter.
Best of all, it’s 100% free to download.
Also, you shouldn’t have loads of lights on in your environment before you go to bed, especially if they’re physically close to you.
Turn off desk lamps and only have one light source on in a room. You’ll naturally find yourself starting to doze off after about half an hour of this decreased light in the room you’re in.
Method #3 – Emphasise Darkness and Soft Colours
- Download f.lux on your computer or device right now
- Better still, try to avoid using any devices with a screen for the hour before bedtime – go read a book instead
- Reduce the light sources in your environment in the evening
The best part about this method is that it’ll also lower your energy bill when you keep doing this consistently every single night for the next few months. You’re welcome!
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