The Sirius Sleeper Guide to Better Sleep
Sleep is just as critical to our health as positive thinking, eating right, and exercising.
But most people don’t give it this priority in their lives.
We need at least 7 hours for basic health.
In our brains, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including learning capacity, memory, and logical decision-making. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. The business of dreaming creates a virtual reality in which we meld past and present knowledge—which inspires heightened levels of creativity.
But the unhappy news is that one-third of Americans get six hours of sleep--or less.
The reader might say, “Hey! That’s just testament to America’s personal discipline, stunning work ethic, and high worker productivity!”
Dr. Matthew Walker, who’s recently established himself as a popular sleep expert, completed the encyclopedic, Why We Sleep, in 2017, and he provides the evidence we’ve given above. His book offers facts on sleep from human history, world culture, and innumerable scientific studies. Walker’s a great teacher, and attuning our ear to sleep experts like him can help us understand the easy path to health through sleep.
In this Sirius Sleeper guide, we’ll give you a load of expert info that’ll help you get the sleep you need.
First, the bad news about that one-third of the United States I was talking about. (i.e., 110 million people. That’s you, or someone you know):
- They’re weakening their immune system and doubling their risk of cancer.
- They’re upsetting their blood sugar levels, making themselves pre-diabetic.
- They’re increasing their chances of getting blocked or delicate coronary arteries--which may lead to heart disease.
- Their sleep lifestyle is an indicator for Alzheimer’s disease.
- They’re destabilizing their mental equilibrium, pushing their minds toward anxiety and depression, while increasing their likelihood of suicidal ideation.
In short, if we want lengthy and healthy lives, we need excellent “sleep hygiene.”
And that means establishing kick-ass lifestyle habits—while gathering a cache of “weapons” for superior sleep.
You may be reading this guide because you have sleep deprivation, sleep paralysis, sleep apnea, or some other sleep disorder.
Or maybe you’ve heard all the new scuttlebutt about super-athletes super sleeping--or that sleep is the new, hot, health fad-- or that Ulysses S. Grant never missed his nine hours.
Regardless, you’re here, and we’ll start you on a good night’s sleep.
Sirius Sleeper wants you sleeping right.
So, let’s go! What should every serious sleeper do???
1) Set a sleep schedule
We know it’s challenging, and you may not get it right each and every dang old day, but all successful habits “fail well.”
You must keep that in mind.
Set a bed time. Commit to it. But don’t get bent of shape when you miss it.
Just come back to your original intent and realize that the “bedtime hour” is a moving target. The more you aim, the more you’ll score that bullseye. Set the same bedtime and waketime—and we dare you to maintain it on the weekends, too.
This helps to regulate your body's internal clock and increases the likelihood that you’ll fall asleep and sleep soundly through the night.
Walker tells us this is the #1 thing you can do to assure your 7+ hours.
2) Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
Set up a calming routine of activities before your bedtime will help you immensely.
Maybe you’ll drink some warm milk or relaxing tea, maybe you’ll stretch, maybe you’ll meditate, and maybe you put warm oil on your feet or bathe (hot liquids dilate your blood vessels, allowing you to dissipate heat and sleep quicker).
Whatever you choose for you routine (and there’ll be many tips here and in future blogposts, to supply possibilities), use some part of that stack regularly, and you’ll train your body (like a puppy!) to do the right thing.
We know this is difficult in our hard-charging, 9 – 5 world.
In Greece, Italy, and Spain, siesta remains a national tradition—and for good reason.
Our 7+ hours need not come all at once.
If sleeping the right amount each night isn’t tenable for you, but an afternoon nap slides sweetly into your schedule, get it done!
A nap’s rewards are vast, and we should take the practice seriously as a health option.
(One important proviso here: the neurotransmitter, adenosine, builds up throughout the day, forcing us to drop off at night. If napping gives you insomnia, stop. Your nap is burning up too much adenosine too soon, inhibiting your capacity to rest when it’s dark.)
4) Exercise every day
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You hear this all the time.
Because it’s true.
Do a few push-ups, sit-ups, and yoga planks each morning. Go for a walk. Stretch throughout the day.
Get a daily cardio session in!!!
Your sleep will improve, as well as everything else in your life:
- and Lovemaking
Plus, you’ll look better.
Do it for the sleep, or do it for everything else.
And remember let it fail well!
If you miss a day, don’t sweat it.
Habits are the marathons of our lives, They’re not a pitiless 50-yard dash.
5) Set up your bedroom
It’s challenging to sleep in a noisy, dirty, overheated bedroom that’s never fully dark.
That goes without saying.
Nevertheless, some folks fail to optimize their sleeping space for restfulness.
Maybe the above description doesn’t fully fit your room, but part of it does.
Feng shui is real.
Your bedroom should feel relaxing, spacious and inviting—if you’ve got no skill in making it so, but still think something is amiss, get amateur or professional advice.
Heck, just ask mom.
6) Choose your weapons.
- BED: There’s lots of things to say about beds, but I’ll emphasize just two:
1) Comfort. Choose a bed big enough for your body (and the body of your partner, if applicable) and for your sleep patterns. Some people remain still, some toss and turn. Know the space you need.
2) Beauty. Choose a handsome, quality bed that honors how you feel about yourself. Like the car you drive or your wardrobe, you should feel good about the time you spend in it. Invest.
- BLANKETS/COMFORTERS: These can make all the difference. For years, your humble author used only blankets, but then got a comforter. Instantly, sleep was more luxurious and easeful. Their colors and textures should please you. Be choosey.
- EAR PLUGS: This $1 investment pays very big dividends. You own the gates to your senses. It’s easier to close your earholes than silence shouting neighbors or music down the street.
- MATTRESS: Test-drive some number of these at your mattress store if the one you’ve got now isn’t what you need. The range of mattress options is beyond the scope of this blog, but we encourage you to explore the many delightful options here.
- SLEEP MASK: Again, a low-cost investment that pays big, big dividends. (It’s also invaluable for air or long-distance bus travel.)
- SOUND SOURCES: As above, use a white noise maker, a running fan—or turn on calming sounds from Pandora, YouTube, or iTunes. Whatever works. In the past we’ve also tried 8-hour nocturnal affirmation talks and binaural beats (i.e., sounds attuned to life’s organic frequencies).
If you need a back-up band to slip toward your sleep groove, have fun and experiment.
- SHEETS: Again, this is a wise, wise investment. We like high-threadcount, all-cotton sheets. Polyester? Icky, and too warm to sleep in. Choose a colors and/or patterns you’re excited about!
- SLEEPMATES: Maybe your lover helps you rest, or maybe s/he snores, sleep-chats, or flails about in ways that wake you. Have that tough conversation, and consider two beds or two rooms. It will make the conjugal bed-visits better when they come.
- TEMPERATURE REGULATORS: You can buy tools to cool/warm your room if your household temperature is too hard to control. Science says 65 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit is best.
- WARM OIL: This is an unusual one, but we promise it’s uniquely potent: put cold-pressed sesame oil on your feet (with socks to save your sheets!) before hitting the hay. It’s better than Ambien.
- PILLOWS: Buy new ones as necessary—pillows can lose form quick. Use as many as you need. And, if you’ve found—as many have—that sleeping on your side gives you great benefits, but don’t know how to arrange your arms and legs, or can’t create stability—that’s why we make SuperSleeper body pillows. They might become the primary weapon in your night-time armory—and you’ll probably be amazed by their sophisticated technology. We think they belong in any serious conversation about solving sleep problems. (That’s why we include them here.) Check ‘em out!
Of course, there’s much, much more to say.
But this is enough for now.
Keep this Sleep Guide bookmarked!
And stay tuned. We’ve got blogs a-comin’ with amazing discoveries from explorers in sleep’s far-distant lands.
Sirius Sleeper keeps you in the loop around trending tales in sleep’s big, wakeful world.
Get it all here.
And comment below! Or query us here. We want to hear from you.
Just making sleep better,