By now you have probably heard of the Paleo Diet, which proclaims people should eat like a cave men. But did you know that you should be sleeping like a cave man too? The whole idea here is to create a conducive environment, while eliminating any factors that may detract from a sound night’s sleep.
The first factor to address is light. The ideal sleeping environment should be as dark as possible. As the world around you gets dark, your body begins to release melatonin, which makes you feel tired and helps you fall asleep. Think of making your room like a hotel room, with those big black out curtains, where you can’t even tell what time of day it is.
The elimination of light is not just limited to the sun and stars though. It is equally, if not more important to eliminate sources of artificial light. This is especially pertinent when it comes to TV’s, cell phones and computer screens.
For the best night sleep, try to avoid using electronics in the hour before going to sleep. These screens omit what is known as blue light, which interacts with your eyes causing the release of hormones that actually wake your body up. Needless to say, the complete opposite of what we are trying to accomplish.
You will also want to make your room as cool as possible. Studies have found the ideal sleep temperature to be between 60-68 degrees. This allows the body to cool down and helps with the release of melatonin.
Finally, avoid alcohol in the hours before going to sleep. Alcohol decreases sleep duration, as well as sleep efficiency. When alcohol is present in the blood stream, the body is too busy eliminating the toxins to reach the deepest stages of sleep. As we know, these deep stages of sleep are when the body repairs itself and produces muscle-building hormones like testosterone and HGH. So drinking alcohol will leave you less rested and under recovered. Not ideal for athletes or weekend warriors.
In essence, sleep like you wanted to when you were 5 years old, building a fort in your room. Make it is as cool and dark as possible. Leave your phone and computer out of sight and avoid that nightcap. Combine good sleep-hygiene with sleep quantity (remember aim for 9 hours) and watch your sleep quality and recovery reach new levels.