"Sleep is the foundation of mental and physical health and all aspects of human performance." Dr. Andrew Huberman, Ph.D.
Ensuring adequate and quality sleep can be a challenge, and both are crucial to our functioning physically, mentally, and emotionally. The stressors related to work, technology, personal relationships, finances, injury, illness, etc., can hugely impact our ability to sleep well and sleep enough. Many extrinsic (external) factors that influence our sleep fall outside of our intrinsic (internal) control. However, adopting a few subtle changes to our daily routines can have a massive impact on improving our sleep. In turn, improved sleep can improve how we can manage the stressors we are facing in our lives.
Here are 7 of Dr. Andrew Huberman's Ph.D. (Neuroscience Professor and Lab Director at Stanford Medicine) evidence-based recommendations for improving sleep:
Go outside within 30-60 minutes of waking to expose yourself to natural sunlight. If you wake before the sun is out, supplement by turning on artificial light and then go outside when the sun is up. Repeat this exercise in the late afternoon before sunset.
Aim to wake up at the same time each day and try to set a consistent bedtime each night; try to go to sleep when you are first starting to feel sleepy.
Stop caffeine consumption within 8-10 hours of bedtime; if you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble falling asleep, aim for a caffeine cutoff of 12 or more hours before bedtime.
If you have anxiety about sleep, insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep, try mindfulness/meditation to help calm your body and brain.
Avoid viewing bright lights, blue lights, and screens between 10 pm and 4 am.
Avoid napping during the day or limit them to 90 minutes or less, if needed.
Keep your room cool and dark; layer blankets to allow yourself to adjust based on temperature for the night.
If you have questions about individual strategies you can use to improve your sleep, reach out, we are here to help.
Nicole Todisco MacDonald