10 Tools for Better Sleep

Each month at Fort Worth Strong, we present a new challenge for our community. In the month of March, we’ve challenged our clients to achieve a total of 200 hours of sleep or 6.5 hours per night.

The “volume” or the amount of hours of sleep is an easier metric to track and a great starting point when monitoring recovery. We’re hoping to bring awareness to the sleep routines and habits. When we begin to bring awareness, we can begin to make change!

Now where do we start?

Are you consistently getting roughly 6-7 hours of sleep each night? How restful is the sleep? That is the differentiator. Some people feel best and most recovered with 9 or more hours, while some can still function at a very high level with less than 6.

This is why we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 sleep practices and routines to bring awareness to, that may change the way you think about rest!

  • #1: Consistent Sleep Cycle: Aim to go to sleep each night within a 30 minute window and aim to wake up each day within a 30-60 minute window. This will lead to improving the bodies rhythm and can train the body and mind to “know what to expect”.

  • #2: Temperature Regulation: Skin temperature can vary a few degrees in our sleep. Ideally we see the skin temperature decrease, meaning the body is cooler due to the reduction in activity and energy expenditure. Make it cold! If possible turn the thermostat down, sleep with a light blanket, use a fan, etc.

  • #3: Light Regulation: Even if you’re not a “light” sleeper, studies show even minimal light can negatively impact sleep cycles. Make it dark! Aim to eliminate any and all light, electronics, windows, and even the tiny light from the smoke or fire alarm.

  • #4: Noise Regulation: There are different preferences here but we recommend consistency with everything. So if we can create consistent noise, look into a sound machine or even a box fan. It may take a few nights to adjust to having the additional sound but there are some cool options. White noise, brown noise, or other frequencies that drown out sporadic sounds throughout the night.

  • #5: Caffiene: Caffiene is a stimulant and it has lasting effects. We recommend setting a cut off time of 8-12 hours before going to sleep. The amount you drink regularly will have a large impact on your sleep effectiveness. Too much and it can turn into a negative cycle of poor sleep and more stimulants.

  • #6: Food Intake: This one is variable and dependent on factors like what you’re eating and how much. We recommend setting a cut off time of 2-3 hours before going to sleep. This doesn’t mean eat less in your day, but try to hit your nutrition goals in an adjusted window. The hormonal response is shown to have a positive effect on downregulating, similarly to the aforementioned caffiene intake.

  • #7: Decompress: This is a variable practice and might take some expirementation. The idea is to find a practice or two that leads to de-stressing or downregulating your nervous system. Some popular methods are journaling, stretching, hot showers, meditating, reading, etc.

  • #8: Waking Hours: Most of our metrics have been focused on things we do right before going to sleep or during sleep. A big component of sleep improvements is simply what we do in our waking hours and throughout the day. Opposite of our goal in #7 of “downregulation”, we should aim to “upregulate” in the waking hours. That can include caffiene, but should include movement or a stimulus centered around activity. Going on a walk or run, hot or cold therapy, exercise, etc.

  • #9: Sleep Supplements: Keeping this tip short. A Magnesium supplement such as Magnesium Glycinate or Threonate and the amino acid L-Theanine can be taken nightly and promote improved sleep.

  • #10: Technology: Going back to bringing awareness. There are a number of great tools for tracking metrics that can lead to using the information to improve your sleep. The technology is only data until you use the data to make changes. It will take some trial and error to find out what works and what really doesn’t effect you that much. I have personally used Whoop for years and the journal feature to test what habits have a positive and negative impact based on my recovery scores. I have found good hydration and meeting a minimum “strain” level have a highly positive impact on my sleep, while dinner close to bed (within 1-2 hours) and high skin temp have a negative effect on my sleep.

Optimizing sleep doesn’t mean you need to find a way to accomplish all 10 of these tips. You may likely be doing a few and like nutrition, it will likely be unique to your situation and lifestyle factors.

Want to meet with a mentor? Book a consultation today to discuss training, nutrition, or sleep:


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