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7 Proven Ways to Sleep Better Than Ever Before

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7 Proven Ways to Sleep Better Than Ever Before

If you want a handful of simple lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your sleep, you want to read this article.

 

Imagine if you could fall asleep easily and quickly.

Imagine if you slept deeper and didn’t wake up several times per night.

Imagine waking up feeling rested, restored, and rejuvenated.

Well, this isn’t supposed to be a fantasy. In fact, it’s how your body is programmed to work.

Unfortunately, though, we can screw this programming up through simple, innocent mistakes.

Many people making these mistakes and, unwittingly, turn to hypnotics and sedatives to combat their sleep troubles.

This opens the door to some rather serious side effects, such as…

Not to mention problems relating to drug tolerance, which necessitates ever-increasing prescriptions and dosages.

The good news, though, is many people experiencing sleep troubles don’t need drugs to get a good night’s sleep.

Instead, they just need to change some of their daily habits and routines.

And that’s what you’re going to get from this article: 7 science-based strategies to get more and better shuteye.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

how to fall asleep

In 2014, the Center for Disease Control declared that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.

According to polling conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 43 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights. Sixty percent say that they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night.

The most common sleep problems are having trouble falling asleep, snoring, waking in the night, waking too early, and not feeling refreshed when getting up in the morning.

And the impact on our health is larger and worse than we might think.

Sleep insufficiency has been linked to auto crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors.

It increases the mortality and the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer, and it reduces quality of life and productivity.

Research shows that inadequate sleep can even slow weight loss, lead to weight gain and muscle loss, and reduce testosterone levels.

The bottom line is that your sleep hygiene is like your diet—it’s either working for you or against you, regardless of whether you realize it.

Sleep poorly for too long, and the consequences, which are unavoidable, can be dire. Sleep well, though, and the benefits can be surprisingly far-reaching.

When you give your body enough high-quality sleep, you reap the following benefits:

Good sleep hygiene is a like a good exercise routine: it improves your life in just about every way.

Now, we’ll talk more about good sleep habits (hygiene) soon, but first, let’s talk how much sleep should you be getting.

Sleep needs vary from individual to individual, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night to avoid the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

Since many things like diet, exercise, genetics, and age ultimately affect how much sleep your body needs, a simple way to determine what’s optimal for you is to pick a two-week period such as a vacation and go to bed at the same time each night without an alarm set.

Chances are you’ll sleep longer than usual at first if you have “sleep debt” to cancel out, but toward the end of the second week, your body will establish a pattern of sleeping about the same amount every night.

When that happens, it’s trying to tell you something: that’s how much sleep it needs.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

How to Get Better Sleep

how to sleep better at night naturally

When talking sleep, quantity isn’t all that matters. We can’t forget about quality as well.

In fact, sleep quality can matter more than quantity because a smaller amount of high-quality sleep beats a larger amount of poor sleep.

For example, if you fall asleep at midnight and get out of bed at 8 AM, but wake up several times in the night and toss and turn, you’re going to feel less rested than someone that fell asleep at midnight and slept straight through to 7 or maybe even 6 AM.

So, let’s look at a variety of scientifically proven ways to improve both the quantity and quality of your sleep.

1. Avoid Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep

how to sleep better naturally

We all know that caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, but alcohol can disrupt our sleep as well. It can help bring on sleep but then act as a stimulant and increase the number of awakenings during the night.

As a general rule, don’t consume any sleep-disrupting chemicals four to six hours before going to bed.

2. Turn Off the Electronics

how to wake up refreshed

Your body has an internal “clock” that tells it when to go to sleep and when to be awake.

The hormone that most directly affects this clock is melatonin, which is produced by a small gland in the brain.

As the day goes on, melatonin levels rise, telling the body to start winding down. Levels peak at night, when it’s time to sleep, and drop in the early morning hours, when it’s time to wake up.

Your body uses light as the primary regulator of melatonin production.

When exposed to bright light, signaling daytime, melatonin production is suppressed. Dark environments, on the other hand, signaling nighttime, are conducive to melatonin production.

This simple system worked fantastically for many thousands of years…until we invented screens to stare at.

Devices like TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones emit a type of light known as “blue light,” and studies show it’s a powerful melatonin suppressant.

So much so that research show that simply reading an iPad for several hours before bed instead of a paper book makes it harder to fall asleep and reduces REM sleep and alertness the next morning.

There’s compelling evidence that it might be optimal to banish blue light (and possibly even electronic light in general) at sundown, but that’s a tall order for most of us.

The next best thing, though?

Don’t watch TV or use a computer, tablet, or smartphone for at least an hour before bed.

The longer you can go without a screen before bed, the better, but most people find that an hour is enough to noticeably improve sleep onset.

You should also download and use Flux.

Flux is software available for computers, phones, and tablets that adjusts the color of the light emitted by screens to the time of the day.

At night, you get a warm-colored light instead of a harsh, blue one, and research shows this is significantly better for sleeping well.

3. Exercise Regularly

how to sleep faster without pills

Name something in your life that you want to improve and there’s a good chance that exercise can help.

Sleep hygiene is one of those many things–research shows that regular exercise improves sleep quality in people with and without sleep problems.

It’s worth nothing, though, that while some people will reap exercise’s sleep benefits quickly, some won’t. Research shows that it can take several months of exercise to see noticeable improvements in between the sheets.

Research also shows that people respond differently to exercise done at different times of the day.

In one study, participants that exercised in the afternoon reported better sleep than those that exercised in the morning.

In another study, which was conducted with people with insomnia, there was no significant difference between morning or late-afternoon exercise–everyone benefitted similarly.

Finding what works best for you is just a matter of trial and error. Exercise at different times and see how your sleep is affected.

4. Don’t Be Overweight

how to fall asleep fast

If exercise can improve just about every aspect of your life, obesity is its antithesis.

A staggering number of physiological and psychological benchmarks are undermined by being overweight, including sleep hygiene.

Obesity and sleep have a particularly vicious relationship, too.

Being overweight impairs sleep and impaired sleep disrupts hormones related to the appetite, which promotes overeating.

Don’t fall into this tailspin. Maintain a healthy body composition and better sleep will be one of the many rewards.

5. Create a Relaxing Pre-Sleep Routine

sleeping well

How many times have you laid in bed with your eyes popping out of your skull and your mind racing?

And how many times was this preceded by stressful or stimulating conversations or activities?

Well, that’s why you should help your body relax before going to bed instead.

For example, many successful pre-sleep routines include bathing, reading a book, listening to calming music, and stretching or doing breathing exercises.

For me, it’s reading and listening to calming music.

6. Think “Dark, Quiet, and Cool”

how to fall asleep when you can't

These are all powerful cues for the brain to put the body to sleep.

  • By “dark,” I mean pitch black, because even low levels of artificial light can disrupt sleep.
  • By “quiet,” I mean as free of noise as possible.

When you’re asleep, your brain still processes sounds on a basic level and even if they don’t wake you up, they can cause negative shifts in sleep stages and increases in blood pressure and heart rate.

  • By “cool,” I mean between 60 and 67 degrees F.

Research shows that this is the ideal range for helping your body lower its core temperature for sleep.

There are metabolic benefits to sleeping in colder environments as well. Studies show that it can increase brown fat stores, which increases the basal metabolic rate.

7. Take the Right Supplements

natural ways to sleep better at night

If you want to improve your sleep, you want to address lifestyle before turning to supplements.

If you’ve done that, though, and want to sleep even better, then it makes sense to look to supplementation.

When you review the literature on natural sleep aids, though, you’ll find that there aren’t many natural, safe, and non-habit-forming ingredients scientifically proven to improve sleep quality.

For example, valerian root is a popular natural sleep aid, but a large meta-analysis published recently found it to be generally ineffective.

Kava is another often-recommend sleep supplement, and while research shows it can improve sleep quality, studies also show it may be toxic to the liver.

There are several supplements, though, that meet our criteria of proven safety and effectiveness.

Glycine

Glycine is an amino acid and neurotransmitter found mainly in foods that contain gelatin, like meat and various types of seafood.

Studies show that supplementation with glycine before bed…

The clinically effective dosage of glycine is 3 grams.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that regulates sleep. It’s also found in foods like tomato, walnuts, strawberries, and olive oil.

Although melatonin is a “go-to” supplement for improving sleep quality, and it can help in this regard, maintaining proper sleep cycles is more important. No amount of melatonin supplementation can compensate for what is lost through poor sleep hygiene.

That said, research does show that supplementation with melatonin…

The clinically effective dosage of melatonin ranges between 500 micrograms and 5 milligrams.

You should also know that the benefits of melatonin aren’t dose dependent, which means taking more will not help you fall asleep faster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, it means that if your body doesn’t respond to the low end of the clinically effective range, a larger dosage is unlikely to help (but the chances of experiencing negative side effects, like grogginess, increase).

Lemon Balm Extract

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herb that has been used medicinally since ancient Greek times to relieve anxiety and agitation and promote sleep.

Research shows that supplementation with lemon balm…

The clinically effective dosage of lemon balm ranges between 300 and 1,200 milligrams.

Now, you could buy each of these supplements separately, or you could save money and buy them together…in my 100% natural sleep aid LUNAR.

natural-sleep-aid

LUNAR is part of my supplement line, and it contains 30 servings of the following…

  • 3 grams of glycine
  • 500 micrograms of melatonin
  • 600 milligrams of lemon balm

As well as 100 milligrams of a little-known molecule, rutaecarpine.

Rutaecarpine is found in the Evodia rutaecarpa plant, which produces berries that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to raise body temperature and reduce pain and gastrointestinal distress.

Extracts of the plant’s fruit are being investigated for potential thermogenic and anti-cancer properties, but research on these effects is too preliminary to draw conclusions just yet.

What is well established, however, is the rutaecarpine molecule found in the fruit significantly reduces caffeine levels in the body.

I chose to include this in LUNAR because it helps address a common problem that athletes and gymgoers run into: ingesting caffeine before late-day workouts disrupts sleep.

Having caffeine before a workout provides several notable benefits: more strength, muscle endurance, and anaerobic exercise capacity.

It also interferes with sleep, and more significantly than many people realize. Studies show that that 400 milligrams of caffeine–a little more than the amount found in one serving of most pre-workout supplements–taken up to 6 hours before going to bed reduces sleep by more than one hour.

This means that many people that exercise later in the day simply can’t have caffeine, which isn’t ideal for maximizing performance and results.

Rutaecarpine helps mitigate this drawback by eliminating caffeine from the body, allowing for both pre-workout caffeine consumption and restful sleep.

So, if you want to relax and fall asleep faster, sleep longer and deeper, and wake up feeling refreshed…without resorting to habit-forming drugs or supplements…then you want to try LUNAR today.

The Bottom Line on How to Sleep Better

how to sleep faster

The quality of your life depends greatly on how well you sleep:

  • Your physical immunity
  • Your mood
  • Your physical and mental performance
  • Your appetite

And sleep deprivation not only results in a cumulative biological cost, its effects aren’t always obvious to its victims.

For example, in one study, three groups of participants slept 8, 6, and 4 hours per night, respectively, for two weeks.

The 4- and 6-hour groups experienced steady declines in cognition and motor skills throughout the entire period, but believed they were affected negatively for just the for few days and thereafter had “adapted” to the lesser amount of sleep.

In other words, we’re not good at judging just how much sleep deprivation affects us, and especially with modern fast-paced (and caffeine-fueled) living.

So, while you can “get by” on less-than-optimal sleep, why not strive for something better?

Use the strategies outlined in this article to sleep better than ever before and you may be surprised at how much you benefit from it.

 

What’s your take on sleeping better? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • James

    Hey mike just to let you know on your legion page you have a mistake. It says it puts it light years ahead of other pre workouts – not sleeping aids! Cheers james

  • George Mouxios

    Hey mike!! Happy new year (again / doesnt matter / your book has totallt changed me / thank you for the 100th time) !! A great supplement that helps me sleep better and a lot “deeper” is Magnesium !! 400 mgs ( i think is what its recommended) a day and BOOM!! I can now more easily fall asleep and sleep more without waking up every now and often ( for example to pee)!! Keep in mind also that i have many dreams during sleeping due to magnesium ( i dont know y or how ) !! 🙂 🙂 🙂 peace !!!

    • Thanks George! I’m really glad to hear you’re doing well!

      Yup many people are deficient in mag. Glad to hear it!

  • Yngve Nordahl

    Hello, Michael!

    Just got your book “Bigger Leaner Stronger” some days ago, and have bin listening to it a few hours every day.
    A lot of the stuff I’ve heard so far, is’nt new to me, as I have bin training for a while. though I recently thought I would really go into the details, I get a bunch of books and just nerd out.

    So far, your book is my favourit, so I had to check out your site, and have read a few of you articles as well now, and I must say I like how you present the info. A lot of people seem to have tons of bias, but you show info from both sides of the story. Very good!

    I am thinking of signing up for your stuff here, to get som advice. I’v bin doing MMA the last 2 years now, but my body isnt responding as I expected, to the increased training, as it usually gets way over 6 hours of pretty intesn traning ever week, and I am struggling to find the right calorie estimate… I feel like I am just turning into this skinny fat bastard 😛
    I do have a 24 hours sports and health tracker, that uses a heartrate monitor, but I believe it is over estimating calories by enormus amounts… Do you have any advice for me on how I can regulate my calories for this?
    Any articles, or good online calori calculators?

    Thanks for the awesome book! (Got it as an audiobook, and I am thinking of getting the physical copy as well, for refferencing) Hope you’ve had a nice christmas, and have a happy new year, man! 😀

    • Hey! Thanks for picking up my book! Glad you’re enjoying it so far. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words and support too!

      Hmm. First, let’s calculate your intake and macros:

      https://legionathletics.com/diet-meal-plans/

      Health trackers are cool, but I wouldn’t recommend them for calculating intake. They can be really off.

      Form there, make sure you’re not overdoing the cardio (MMA included):

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/cardio-and-muscle-growth-friends-or-foes/

      My pleasure! I did thanks! Happy New Years to you as well. 🙂

      Talk soon!

      • Yngve Nordahl

        Thanks for the helpful links, Michael! You’re the man! 😀

        Ok, the calculator in the first article, is saying that I burn about 2800 calories
        a day, when training 6pluss hours a week (its double that time, most weeks, but I’m unsure how to compensate for that, in the calculator).

        My fitness tracker is obviously useless at tracking calories, as it usually sends me over 4000 calories a day, when I’ve told it to keep me at a 500 deficit. I will
        just ignore it, and use it to measure health instead. (heart rate turns out to be a good way to see if you are getting sick. My resting rate is about 90 bpm before a cold, vs 70 when I am healthy, so that’s good info)

        Anyway, if 6 hours a week turns into 2800 calories a day, at 90 kilos and 20 % body fat, where should I be at, with 12 hours of training per week (the 12 hours exclude any high intensity intervals I am doing, but I’m thinking 35 minutes of that, one to two days a week… One is probably enough) if I want to lower my fat?Just stay on about 2800 calories, and see what happens? Its going to be great not having to force 4000 calories down my throat, considering I usually only get the time to eat 2 to 3 meals a day 😛

        It’s a bit hard to know if I am overdoing the
        cardio, as training sometimes is easy and light, because I am doing techniques, while other times its extremely hard, as I am sparring…
        I have noticed that my resting pulse and v02 max has worsened after I stopped doing my intervals 3 times a week.
        The reason for stopping, was that I was afraid of overdoing cardio, but I am starting to miss the unlimited endurance I used to have ;P

        Let me sum this up, to make it easier to respond to
        At 90 to 93 kilos, with about 20% body fat, and 12 hours of training (3 hours strength training, and the rest is MMA). should I be eating 2800 calories, at about 150 grams of protein, to reduce my love handles?
        How often do you think I could do my high intensity intervals, that I really enjoy doing (6 minutes walk, 4 minutes running, 3 minutes walk 4×4 for 31 minutes)

        • My pleasure!

          Hmmm honestly given how much exercise you do, a TDEE of 4,000 sounds about right. Let’s try starting your cut at 3,500 per day and see how your body responds?

          In terms of macros, I’d probably do 1.2 g pro per pound, 20% of calories from fat, and rest from carbs.

          I’d leave out the intervals. You don’t need more exercise…

          • Yngve Nordahl

            Oh, nice! So my fitness tracker is not as off as I thought then.
            It usually says I spend about 300 kalories per strength workout (1 hour) and around 1200 in a session of thai boksing (really intence 1,5 hours). Cant wear it when I’m wrestling (also 1,5 hours), so I do an estimate of about 700 kalories there, and that might very well be where the calories get a little bit off.
            Ok, anyway… 3500 calories a day, 80 grams of fat, and… Oh, the 1.2 g of protein per pund, is that lean body mass? My total weight is 90 kilos, so my lean mass would be about 72 kilos. I’m guessing my fat stores wont be needing protein, so… 72 kilos equals 158ish pounds or so 190 grams of protein per day should suffice?
            Its a ton of training! Luckily I will be advanceing soon, and that equals less training. Right now I have to do that boxing, jiu jitus and submission wrestling. As soon as I know these things well enough, I will advance to the pure MMA course, so my weekly traning hours will go from 12 hours to 6 hours. Really looking forward to it, as 3500 calories and up is enormous amounts of food for a vegan! Plants contain so little calories.
            Diving back into the book now 🙂 Other than “beyond bigger leaner stronger” (already have it), what other books do you recommend I get, when I finnish these two?

          • I guess so!

            Nope, 1.2g per pound of total body weight. 190g is about right. 🙂

            Awesome on all the training. Cool you’ll be advancing soon and lowering your training volume.

            Yep, that definitely is a lot to eat on a vegan diet haha.

            Regarding the books, you can see what I recommend here:

            http://www.muscleforlife.com/recommendation/book-recommendations/

            Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Daniel

    You forgot the no.1 most important rule for sleeping well:

    Don’t get kids!

    😉

  • Hey Michael, I love what you do, have several of your books, and must say that your material has to be some of the best I’ve read on the internet! Thanks so much for what you do! I just purchased the Thinner book for my wife to start on your nutrition and training program too.

    You mentioned blue light as opposing sleep, and there happens to be a local small company here in San Antonio that was founded by scientists from UTHSCSA that makes glasses coated with melanin. Melanin is the same compound that is in the eye’s lens which regulates blue light and promotes melatonin production in low light environments. They have some very interesting science that backs their products, and have been researching melanin use since the 80s. In addition to using flux on my computer, I’ve been wearing their glasses in the evenings and it works surprisingly well. http://www.mpf6.com/

    • Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!

      That sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing. I’ll check it out.

  • Filippo Bonadonna

    Question, I believe there’s glycine also in legion whey+ if I am not mistaken. Will taking the whey during the day + the food that we eat and combined that with the Lunar product at night….won’t it be too much glycine in one day or is there no upper limit on that?

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