Of the three pillars that hold up the tower of personal health and wellness (diet, exercise, and sleep), the one that might be the most important is the one most often neglected. When running a google search for fitness, one can find hundreds upon hundreds of results touting the best exercise routine or diet, but very few results turn up about improving sleep health. However, scientific evidence strongly points to the fact that fitness and sleep are intricately linked.
The problem is, as most people with small children will tell you, how much sleep you are getting isn’t necessarily something you can control. If you aren’t able to get the recommended 7-8 hours a sleep (as most American adults aren’t), how can you get the most benefit out of whatever sleep are are getting?
- Ditch the devices
Using electronic devices in your bedroom can delay the time you go to sleep, stimulate your mind making it harder to sleep, and create unwanted awakenings due to noise and light. If increasing the amount and quality of sleep is a goal for you, consider removing the tv from your bedroom and charging your phone in another room (or turning on your phone’s ‘do not disturb’ and dark modes before bedtime).
- Sleep in a cool room
Most Americans set their thermostat between 70 and 75 degrees F. The ideal temperature for sleep however, is 60-67 degrees. If you find you’re not getting enough restful sleep, try turning down the thermostat.
- Track your sleep
Wearing a Whoop strap or Oura ring won’t improve the quality of your sleep, but it’s very difficult to change something without data points to support where it started and where you would like it to go. There are a number of great products out there that can detect sleep duration, interruption, time in various stages of sleep, and assign a score for sleep quality. If you feel you might not be getting good sleep, start by tracking some sleep metrics.