According to the National Health Institute, the average North American adult averages just under seven hours of sleep per night.
This is two hours less than what the average adult slept back in the early 1900s.
Ideally, we want 7–9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is enough for most people to recharge and feel good the next day.
Sleep is a tool of immense power. Instead of just feeling good after a full night of sleep, you can optimize your sleep to feel amazing the next day.
How long you sleep shouldn’t be the only consideration. You’ll also want to improve sleep quality.
There’s many ways to enhance sleep quality and quantity. The top four are:
1. Implement healthy daily habits.
2. Practice good sleep hygiene.
3. Eat nutritious whole foods.
4. Exercise consistently.
Let’s look first at how to implement healthy daily habits.
Healthy Habit #1: Avoid Blue Light Exposure Before Bed
Screens themselves aren’t the problem. The true culprit is blue light.
Everyone says to avoid blue light at all costs. Although it should be avoided in the evening and the few hours preceding sleep, blue light actually offers many benefits.
Blue light helps regulate your circadian rhythm (your body’s 24-hour natural wake-sleep cycle). Exposure during the early and mid parts of the day boosts alertness, enhances cognitive function and improves memory.
It’s the excessive blue light exposure during the 2–3 hours before sleep that impairs sleep quality.
Exposure to blue light suppresses your brain’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally released by the brain’s pineal gland at nighttime.
Melatonin plays an essential role in your sleep-wake cycle. Without it, falling and staying asleep becomes difficult. Not only that, but your ability to enter a deep restorative sleep phase is impaired.
This is unfortunate because the evening is when most people get their screen time. Who doesn’t enjoy unwinding with an hour…