The Superpower of Sleep: How a Good Night's Sleep Extends Your Life

The Superpower of Sleep: How a Good Night's Sleep Extends Your Life


Foreword: A Personal Journey towards Better Sleep

The background for the interest in sleep.
Before we explore the deeper layers of the science and art of sleep, it may be helpful to understand why I am the right person to guide you through this complex topic. My journey into the world of sleep did not start as an academic exercise, but as a personal necessity. From a relatively young age, I've navigated a minefield of sleep difficulties, from difficulty falling asleep, to frustrating nights waking up after just a few hours, unable to fall back asleep. I have even experienced days, stretched out to seemingly endless periods of 3-4 days, where sleep seemed impossible.

This personal struggle forced me to delve deep into the mysteries of sleep. I have devoted countless hours to exploring, learning, and experimenting, drawing on knowledge from some of the world's leading experts in sleep research, neuroscience, and psychology. But most importantly, I've integrated these lessons with my own experiences to find what actually works for me. Through this process, I have developed effective routines that have not only improved my own sleep quality, but also have the potential to help you.

Why Sleep Is Your Superpower?
Understanding the reasons behind sleep problems is only the first step. The critical next step is to build and maintain healthy sleep habits that support both physical and mental regeneration.

Good sleep is the foundation for cell renewal, the ability to face daily challenges, and not least, a sense of joy in life which is difficult to achieve without high-quality rest. During sleep, the body regenerates cells and cleans the brain, which is essential for physical and mental function. The body repairs tissue and produces new cells, which support the immune system and skin health. The brain also uses this time to "reset" itself. This reset process includes the removal of toxins accumulated during the day and the consolidation of memories, as well as the strengthening of neural connections, which are essential for learning, memory and creativity.
Regular, deep sleep prepares the brain for new challenges and supports emotional stability. So mastering the art of sleep is your superpower that contributes to a better life for yourself and those around you.

In this guide, we will explore aspects of sleep and how you can optimize sleep for your unique needs. Although we are all different, with individual needs and preferences, I am convinced that there are universal strategies and insights that can be integrated into any sleep routine. Let's explore these strategies together and take the first steps toward a night of deeper, more rewarding sleep, and the incredible benefits of better sleep.


My Top 10 Tricks For Achieving Deeper And More Rewarding Sleep

1. Restructuring of Thought Patterns for Better Sleep

Adopting a Third Person Perspective
Difficulties with sleep can often be the result of the thoughts and stress that build up throughout the day, and which become particularly prominent when we put our head on the pillow. To combat this, it is crucial to develop effective routines to calm down and distance oneself from the day's stress in the hours before bed.

An effective method of dealing with these thoughts is to change the way we relate to them. When negative thoughts or worries related to work or other areas of life become overwhelming, it can be helpful to adopt a third-person perspective. It is important to recognize that our thoughts do not define our essence; rather, we are observers of our own mental thought processes. By consciously stepping back and observing our thoughts from a third-person perspective, without judging them, but rather accepting them as they are, we can create a distance that enables a deeper calm.

Visualization techniques
Personally, I find it useful to visualize that I am observing my own thoughts, I do this by physically visualizing that I withdraw to look at myself from a little distance and observe my own body language and thoughts, this to get a real third-person overview over these thoughts on this process. This contributes to a significantly greater feeling of relaxation and can be an effective method of reducing mental stress.

Mastering this technique may take some practice, but the benefits to sleep quality are well worth the effort.

Furthermore, engaging in activities that help us see the big picture can help put our daily worries into perspective. Watching documentaries or podcasts about the universe, for example, can help us pull ourselves out of our personal bubble and see our problems in a new light. This can not only be soothing in itself, but also help to relativize and in some cases trivialize the problems or concerns that originally seemed intense.

Changing our thought patterns and actively seeking bigger perspectives can be powerful strategies for improving our sleep quality and overall well-being.

Another effective yet simple technique for calming the mind before bed involves visualizing a clear, blue sky with floating clouds. Imagine observing these clouds one by one, without grasping or dwelling on any particular thought that might pass your mind, just like the clouds drifting by in the sky. This exercise can help you to distance yourself from the worries and stress of the day, and makes it easier to slip into a meditative state. By focusing on this calming image, you may find it easier to let go of tension and worry, thus preparing your body and mind for a peaceful night's sleep.

Suggestions for sources; this is a book that I think everyone should read, it is particularly important in view of the hectic everyday life we ​​live in. It may be a bit too alternative for some, but I am sure that everyone has something to pick up here.
All in all, very positive for me.: The Power of Now

Blue sky with clouds

2. Natural Daylight and Its Effect on Your Circadian Rhythm

One of the most fundamental, but often overlooked, factors in promoting good sleep and general well-being is exposure to natural daylight, especially in the first hours after waking. This time window, typically between 8am and 10am, play a critical role in synchronizing our circadian rhythm – the body's internal clock that regulates the cycle of sleep and wakefulness.


The Importance of Natural Daylight

Our circadian rhythm is deeply influenced by light, with exposure to natural daylight in the morning signaling to the body that it is time to be awake and active. This helps suppress the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and promotes the production of hormones associated with wakefulness, such as cortisol. By starting the day with a dose of natural light, we help our internal clock adjust to the day-night cycle, which improves both daytime alertness and prepares the body for sleep at night.

The effect on the hormonal balance Melatonin and Cortisol

Exposure to natural daylight has a direct impact on our hormone balance, which in turn affects our sleep quality. By setting our circadian rhythm correctly, we ensure that the body produces the right hormones at the right times. In the evening, when the sun goes down and exposure to natural light decreases, the body begins to produce more melatonin, which prepares us for sleep. This natural shift in hormone production is essential for maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

Diagram Circadian cortisol and melatonin cycle



Practical Tips for Maximizing the Benefits

To take advantage of the positive effects of natural daylight on sleep, try incorporating the following habits into your daily routine:

  • Start your day with a morning walk: A short walk in daylight can help adjust your circadian rhythm and improve your alertness throughout the day.
  • Take breaks outdoors: If possible, try to take short breaks outdoors throughout the work day to get additional exposure to natural light.
  • Work near windows: Placing your workstation near a window can also help increase exposure to daylight, which is especially helpful in the winter months.


Application Of Artificial Light In The Dark Ages

In countries far north, such as Scandinavia, where the winters are long and dark, it is not always possible to get sufficient exposure to natural morning light. In such cases, artificial light sources, specially designed wake-up lamps and light therapy lamps can be an effective solution. Mimicking the sunrise, these lamps provide a gradually increasing light that helps adjust and maintain the circadian rhythm, also known as the body's internal clock. The use of these lamps can be a useful aid in the months with limited daylight, helping the body to adapt to the natural rhythms, despite the lack of sunlight.


Conclusion

Exposure to natural daylight is a simple but powerful way to improve both your alertness during the day and the quality of your sleep at night. By synchronizing our circadian rhythm with natural light patterns, we can support the body's natural hormone production and promote a healthier sleep-wake cycle. So the next time you start your day, give yourself the benefit of stepping out into the daylight – your body and mind will thank you.


3. Physical Activity and Sleep

In addition to the previously mentioned preparation tips, I have discovered that physical exhaustion plays a key role in achieving good sleep. For me personally, this means engaging in intense exercise almost every day. However, it is important to note that the timing of the exercise is crucial; exercising too late at night can actually be counterproductive. By utilizing the energy accumulated throughout the day with proper exercise, I find that my body becomes properly tired, which makes it easier to fall asleep when the evening comes.


The effect of physical activity on sleep quality

Regular exercise strengthens the restorative phases of sleep, especially the deep sleep phase which is critical for the body's repair processes. People who exercise regularly often find that they fall asleep faster, known as a reduction in sleep latency, and they can also enjoy longer and more coherent sleep.


How Exercise Affects Dreams

Interestingly, increased physical activity can lead to more vivid and memorable dreams. This is probably due to an increase in REM sleep, which is the sleep phase where most dreams take place. Exercises can also contribute to emotional processing, which can reduce negative dream experiences such as nightmares.


Recommendations for Optimal Training Time

  • Avoid late night exercise: If you find that exercise boosts your energy levels, try to avoid strenuous exercise right before bedtime.
  • Ideal time to exercise: Morning or afternoon sessions may be most beneficial. Morning sessions in particular can help set the circadian rhythm and support energy levels throughout the day.
  • Gentle evening activities: If evening exercise is necessary, choose gentler activities such as yoga or a light walk to promote relaxation.

By finding and sticking to an exercise routine that fits with your daily rhythm, you can not only improve your physical health, but also your sleep quality and mental well-being. For more in-depth information on how to adapt and optimize your training protocol for better sleep, you can explore our article here: Find your optimal training protocol and make it more efficient!



4. Thermal Therapies for Better Sleep


The benefits of sauna and ice bathing

Another important factor in my sleep hygiene has been to integrate ice bath and sauna routines. These thermal therapies have incredible benefits, not only for the quality of sleep, but also for facilitating the process of falling asleep. Personally, I like to carry out these routines 2-4 times a week. The contrast between heat and cold not only offers a unique physical experience, but also contributes to mental clarity and wonderful health benefits. For those interested in diving deeper into how sauna and ice baths can maximize energy, mental clarity, read our article here on : Read more here on Heat Meets Cold: Explore the Secrets of Sauna and Ice Baths for Maximum Energy, Mental Clarity and Amazing Health benefits.

These personal insights and tricks are fundamental to my own sleep practice and lay the foundation for a deeper understanding and exploration of sleep that we will consider in the following text. By recognizing and adapting these strategies to our individual lives, we can all take steps toward nights filled with deeper and more rewarding sleep.

While most of us look to comfort and moderate temperatures for optimal relaxation, research shows that extreme thermal experiences, such as ice baths and saunas, can have remarkable effects on sleep quality. This chapter explores how these thermal therapies can manipulate the body's natural systems to promote deeper and more restorative sleep.


Thermal Therapies And Sleep

Thermal therapy refers to the use of heat or cold for health benefits. These methods have been used throughout history, but modern science is now beginning to understand how they can optimize sleep and overall well-being.

Sauna:

  • Description: Sauna use involves short-term exposure to very high heat. Traditionally, saunas have been used for relaxation and detoxification.
  • Effects on Sleep: Sauna use can increase the production of endorphins, the body's natural pain-relieving and happiness-promoting chemicals. The heat also increases the body temperature, and the subsequent cooling down after the sauna visit can signal to the body that it is time for sleep. Studies show that regular sauna use can improve sleep latency, duration and quality.
  • Recommendations: For the best effect, try a sauna session in the early evening hours. This gives the body time to cool down and prepare for sleep.

Ice bath:

  • Description: Ice baths involve immersion in ice-cold water, which may seem counterintuitive for relaxation.
  • Effects on Sleep: Cold exposure can drastically reduce body temperature, which helps regulate the body's natural sleep-wake cycle. Ice baths can also reduce inflammation, relieve muscle pain and lower stress levels, all of which contribute to better sleep quality.
  • Recommendations: A short ice bath can be effective when done a couple of hours before bedtime. This gives the body time to normalize the temperature and calm the mind.


The Science Behind Thermal Therapy and Sleep

Both sauna and ice bath can affect sleep through several biological mechanisms:

  • Autonomic Nervous System Regulation: These therapies can help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which control the body's stress response and relaxation states.
  • Hormonal Balance: Thermal therapy can affect the levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones that affect sleep.
  • Circadian Rhythm Adjustment: By manipulating body temperature, you can help reset the body's internal clock, especially if you struggle with jet lag or irregular sleeping habits.

Implementation in Daily Routine

To incorporate thermal therapies into your sleep-enhancing routine, start gradually and increase the intensity as your body adjusts. It is important to consult with a health professional, especially if you have underlying health problems that can be affected by extreme temperatures.


Conclusion

Ice bath and sauna offer more than just physical and mental relaxation; they have the potential to transform your sleep quality. By integrating these practices into a well-considered health and wellness routine, you can experience improvements in both sleep quality and overall quality of life.

Read more about the wonderful benefits of ice bath and Sauna here.:

Heat meets Cold: Explore the secrets behind Sauna and Ice Bathing for maximum Energy, Mental Clarity and amazing Health Benefits

5. Relaxation techniques

Breathing exercises for Deep Relaxation
To promote relaxation and prepare the body for sleep, targeted breathing exercises combined with meditation are among the most effective techniques. These methods not only help to reduce stress levels, but also to lower the body's cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can disrupt sleep. Here are two breathing exercises and an introduction to how meditation can be integrated into your evening routine for better sleep:

4x4 Breathing exercise

Also known as "box breathing," this technique involves breathing in through the nose for four seconds, holding the breath for four seconds, exhaling through the mouth for four seconds, and then holding the breath again for four seconds before repeating the cycle. This method helps to reduce stress levels and calm the mind, making it easier to fall asleep.


Deep Breathing With Extra Filling

Start by taking a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs completely. Before exhaling, you "top off" with a little more air to really saturate your blood with oxygen. Then exhale completely through your mouth. Repeat this cycle 5-10 times. This exercise improves oxygen uptake and prepares the body for a night of restful sleep.

Meditation For Sleep

Integrating meditation into your evening routine can further enhance the effect of the breathing exercises. Meditation, especially techniques focused on mindfulness or guided visualization, can help clear the mind and release the mental tensions that build up throughout the day. Devoting a few minutes to meditation after the breathing exercises can enhance feelings of calm and make the transition to sleep more seamless. For those new to meditation, it may be helpful to start with short, guided sessions that can be found in various apps or online.

My personal favorite is this youtube clip.: 15 Minute Healing Meditation Music

By combining these breathing exercises with meditation, you can create a powerful evening routine (and preferably also a morning routine) that promotes deep relaxation and prepares both body and mind for a night of undisturbed sleep. These techniques are not only useful for improving the quality of your sleep, but also for improving your overall well-being by reducing stress and anxiety.

6. Beverages And Stimulants

Replace coffee and energy drinks with green tea
Although many of us rely on coffee and energy drinks to get us through the day, these stimulants can have a detrimental effect on sleep quality. Research indicates that although one can fall asleep quickly after consuming caffeine, the quality of sleep is not as good. My own experience of replacing coffee with green tea has been a revelation. For the first time in my life, I fell asleep within five minutes, and woke up feeling genuinely rested.
Green tea contains about a quarter of the amount of caffeine compared to coffee and is rich in L-theanine, an active substance that interacts positively with caffeine to provide a more stable energy throughout the day, without the typical afternoon crash associated with coffee. The transition may require an adjustment period of 1-2 weeks, and some may experience mild headaches at first, but the results – falling asleep faster and improved sleep quality – are well worth the effort.

Green tea


Effects of Alcohol and Caffeine on Sleep Quality

Alcohol can be sleep-inducing, but it disrupts REM sleep, which is critical for mental recovery and memory consolidation. Furthermore, alcohol increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone, making it more difficult to achieve deep and refreshing sleep. Over time, even moderate alcohol consumption in the evening can disrupt the natural sleep architecture and reduce sleep quality.

Caffeine, known to block adenosine – a chemical in the brain that promotes sleep – has a half-life of approximately 5 hours, meaning that if you only drink a cup of coffee with approx. 100 mg of caffeine, you will have 50 mg of caffeine in your body after five hours, 25 mg after 10 hours, and so on People with a higher sensitivity to stimulants such as caffeine may find that even a cup of coffee in the morning negatively affects their sleep quality. Caffeine is also found in tea, energy drinks, Pepsi, Coca Cola and some medications, and can raise cortisol levels, making it harder to relax and fall asleep.

Risks With Sleeping Pills and Addiction
Although sleeping pills may seem like a quick solution to sleep problems, they carry the risk of addiction and can worsen sleep quality over time. Long-term use of sleeping pills, such as benzodiazepines and newer non-benzodiazepine sleep medications, can lead to tolerance (where higher doses are required to achieve the same effect) and dependence. There is often a frightening epidemic of overuse and addiction associated with these drugs, often because they are prescribed without sufficient focus on addressing the underlying causes of sleep problems.

Long-term strategies for better sleep hygiene
It is important to develop healthy sleep habits and treat psychological problems such as anxiety or depression, which may be the true root of the sleep problems. This includes reinforcing good sleep hygiene practices, such as establishing a consistent bedtime and wake time, ensuring the bedroom is optimal for sleep (cool, dark, and quiet), and avoiding electronic devices before bed. Regular, moderate exercise can also improve sleep quality, but should not be done right before bed as it can disrupt sleep by causing an increase in the cortisol hormone.

7. Optimization of sleep through diet and supplements

The influence of diet on sleep

The diet is crucial for the quality and duration of sleep. Research shows that certain foods can either promote good sleep or disrupt it, depending on their content of specific nutrients. Particularly important are melatonin and serotonin, hormones that regulate sleep cycles. Foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to these hormones, can promote better sleep. In addition, a high intake of dietary fiber is associated with more restorative sleep, while foods high in sugar and saturated fat can disrupt sleep.

A balanced diet containing a variety of nutrients supports not only general health but also optimal sleep. Particularly important is the impact of nutrients on neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate sleep cycles, including melatonin and serotonin. These substances help to regulate our circadian rhythm and our sleep windows.

  • Melatonin And Serotonin:

Melatonin, often called the "sleep hormone," regulates the sleep cycle, while serotonin, a hormone associated with feelings of well-being, is needed to produce melatonin. A number of foods containing tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to both serotonin and melatonin, can therefore help promote sleep.

  • Diet For Reduced Insulin Resistance And Better Sleep

Reduce sugar and processed carbohydrates, increase fiber intake from vegetables and whole grains, and include healthy fats and proteins to moderate blood sugar spikes and improve insulin response. This can contribute to a more stable hormonal balance and better sleep.



Foods That Promote Good Sleep

To improve sleep quality, consider including the following in your diet:

  • Cherries: Naturally rich in melatonin, and can help regulate the sleep cycle.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Oatmeal has complex carbohydrates that can help promote increased serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is known for its relaxing effect.
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel and herring contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and tryptophan, which have been shown to increase the production of serotonin.
  • Nuts: Walnuts, almonds and pistachios contain useful amounts of melatonin, as well as essential minerals such as magnesium, which are known to promote relaxation and better sleep.
  • Kiwi: Rich in antioxidants and tryptophan. Studies suggest that eating kiwi before bed can improve both sleep quality and sleep duration.
  • Bananas: Contains both magnesium and potassium, which act as muscle relaxants, as well as tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted to serotonin and then to melatonin in the body.
  • Avocado: Rich in tryptophan, contributes to the production of serotonin and melatonin. Avocados are also a good source of magnesium and potassium, which contribute to muscle relaxation and can improve sleep quality.
  • Herbal teas: Chamomile, lavender and peppermint teas are known for their natural calming effects and can help end the day in a calm way.


Foods To Avoid Before Bedtime

Some foods and beverages can disrupt sleep, including:

  • Caffeine: Avoid coffee, black/green tea, coca cola/pepsi and chocolate late in the day as caffeine can keep you awake and disturb your sleep.
  • Large meals and heavy food: Eating large or heavy meals late can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep.
  • Alcohol: Although it may seem like alcohol helps you fall asleep, it disrupts REM sleep, which is important for memory and learning.
  • Foods rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates: Can lead to restless sleep and frequent awakenings.

Recommended Supplements

Cod liver oil (Omega-3 Fatty acids):
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cod liver oil, are essential for brain health and have been linked to improvements in sleep quality, particularly in children and young adults.

Melatonin:
As a natural sleep hormone, melatonin supplements can help adjust the circadian rhythm, especially for those who struggle with jet lag or irregular sleep patterns. However, it is important to approach melatonin with a degree of skepticism, as excessive use can interfere with the body's natural production. And the duration of melatonin supplementation is not always sufficient. Recommends melatonin drops for faster effect.

ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium Aspartate, and Vitamin B6):

ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B6): ZMA is a combination of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6, known to improve sleep quality and promote a deeper rest. Magnesium plays a particularly important role in promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

Recommended use: Best taken on an empty stomach, approx. 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Avoid taking it with calcium-rich foods or supplements, as calcium can prevent the absorption of magnesium.


B vitamins:
B vitamins play a crucial role in the regulation of melatonin, a key hormone for sleep, and can therefore significantly improve sleep rhythms. Vitamin B6 in particular is known for its ability to promote a more regular sleep cycle by assisting in the production of melatonin. By ensuring a balanced intake of B vitamins, either through a well-adapted diet or through supplements, you can effectively support the body's natural sleep functions. This not only contributes to easier falling asleep, but also to a deeper and more restorative sleep.

NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) from Live Longer:

NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) from Live Longer represents an exciting breakthrough in anti-aging and well-being research, with potential benefits extending to sleep quality. By supporting cellular energy production through increased levels of NAD+ in the body, NMN can play a key role in maintaining and improving several aspects of health and well-being, including sleep.

Why It Matters

NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) is a critical cofactor in every cell in the body, playing a central role in energy metabolism and the maintenance of our overall health. With age, natural production of NAD+ decreases, which can lead to reduced cellular function and energy levels. NMN acts as a precursor to NAD+, and supplements of NMN can therefore help to increase the levels of this important molecule, support the cells' energy production, and thus counteract certain aging effects.

Benefits

  • Improved Energy Level: By supporting the cells' ability to produce energy, NMN can contribute to increased vitality and endurance, which is essential for tackling the challenges of the day and promoting good sleep at night.
  • Delayed Aging Process: NMN can help delay the aging process by supporting DNA repair and maintaining healthy cell function, which can have a positive effect on sleep quality.
  • Strengthened immune system: Good sleep is essential for a strong immune system. By contributing to general vitality and health, NMN can indirectly support the immune system and thus contribute to better sleep. Optimal dose may vary based on individual needs and goals. What is NMN? Benefits, uses and everything you need to know!

Specialized Herbs For Sleep

Using herbs such as ashwagandha, passion flower, chamomile, lavender, and valerian root can promote sleep by increasing GABA levels in the brain or contributing to relaxation.

Additional Strategies For Better Sleep

  • Mouth tape: For those who struggle to breathe through the nose at night, mouth tape can promote nasal breathing and improve sleep quality.
  • Oil-based nasal spray: An oil-based nasal spray can help keep the nasal passages moist, support nasal breathing and thus contribute to a more undisturbed sleep.


By integrating these supplements and additional strategies into your daily routine, you can experience a noticeable improvement in both sleep quality and overall well-being. Remember, it is always best to consult with a health professional before starting any new supplements, especially if you are already taking medication or have existing health challenges.

With these essential tips, combined with carefully selected nutritional supplements, you are well on your way to deeper and more rewarding sleep.

8. How Fasting Can Improve Sleep

Periodic Fasting

Fasting, or intermittent fasting, has become increasingly popular as a method of improving health and well-being. While most focus on fasting's effects on weight loss and metabolic health, there is also fascinating evidence to suggest that fasting can have significant benefits for sleep quality, particularly through mechanisms such as cell renewal and enhancing the body's natural regenerative processes. This article explores how fasting, particularly more intensive forms of intermittent fasting, can contribute to better sleep.


Fasting And Cell Regeneration

One of the most notable effects of fasting is its ability to promote autophagy, a process by which cells break down and remove defective proteins and components. This is essential for cell renewal and maintenance of healthy cells. During sleep, the body goes through natural repair and regeneration processes, and by improving autophagy through fasting, one can potentially enhance these processes, leading to more efficient recovery and improved sleep quality.


Periodic Fasting and Hormonal Balance

Intermittent fasting can also affect sleep through the regulation of hormones that are critical for the sleep-wake cycle. Fasting has been shown to affect levels of leptin and ghrelin, hormones that signal satiety and hunger, respectively. By modifying the secretion of these hormones, fasting can help stabilize energy levels and improve circadian rhythms, making it easier to maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

Fasting And Reducing Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of health problems, including sleep disorders. Fasting can reduce inflammation in the body, which not only contributes to general health, but can also improve sleep quality. By reducing inflammation, fasting can help to reduce the occurrence of sleep disturbances linked to pain and discomfort, and thus promote a more undisturbed rest.

Practical Tips For Fasting And Sleep Improvement

  • Start Gradually: If you are new to fasting, start with milder forms before exploring longer periods of fasting. This can help your body adapt without too much stress.
  • Choose Your Fasting Period Wisely: To maximize the benefits of fasting before bed, consider ending your fast a few hours before bedtime. This can help ensure that hunger doesn't interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
  • Focus on Nutritious Foods: When not fasting, be sure to consume a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support both overall health and sleep quality.
  • Listen to Your Body: Monitor how fasting affects your sleep and adjust your approach as necessary. If you experience negative effects, you may want to consult with a health professional.

Conclusion

Fasting, especially intermittent fasting, offers a unique approach to improving sleep quality through mechanisms such as cell renewal, hormonal balance, and reduction of inflammation. By integrating fasting in a thoughtful and balanced way into your lifestyle, you can experience improvements not only in your sleep, but also in your overall health and well-being.
Read our complete article on fasting here.: Fasting for Better Health: A Complete Guide


9. How to Reduce the Cortisol Level in the Body for Better Sleep Quality

For a period of my life I struggled to maintain a good night's sleep. I often woke up at 3 in the morning, tense and unable to go back to sleep. Eventually I understood that this was probably due to an accumulation of stress over time, which caused me to have an abnormal cortisol cycle. It became necessary for me to make significant lifestyle changes to manage the situation.

Abnormal Cortisol cycle

Abnormal cortisol levels

In a healthy curve, cortisol is high in the morning and then gradually decreases for the rest of the day. But when we are chronically stressed, the body releases cortisol at all times, the curve becomes a roller coaster.

Quick Techniques To Promote Falling Asleep

  • Breathing techniques: Deep and calm breathing can calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep. Specific breathing techniques, described in Chapter 6, can be particularly effective.
  • Meditation: Regular meditation practice can reduce evening cortisol levels and promote deeper, more restorative sleep.
  • Mindset changes: Changing how you respond to stress can significantly reduce cortisol levels. This is explored in more detail in chapter 1.
  • The benefits of morning light: Exposure to bright morning light, either from natural sunlight or wake-up lights, light therapy lamps, has been shown to increase cortisol levels in the morning by as much as 50%. This supports alertness and helps lower cortisol levels later in the evening, which is optimal for good sleep.
  • Cortisol and sleep: Studies show that healthy individuals and those with insomnia show similar cortisol levels throughout the day, but they differ markedly around bedtime. People with insomnia experience an increase in cortisol levels when they should be at their lowest, which can prevent sleep. Proper management of cortisol through exposure to light and darkness can help regulate these levels.
  • Strategies to reduce evening light: Using dimmer, red or orange lights in the evening is recommended to minimize light-induced disruption of the circadian rhythm. It is also beneficial to minimize the time you look directly at strong light sources, such as mobile phones, at night, and instead use them indirectly or at low brightness.
  • Implementation of lighting strategies: It is important to be aware of the power of light both in the morning and in the evening. Bright light in the morning and limited light exposure before bed are key strategies to strengthen the body's natural rhythms and improve sleep quality.

Long-Term Changes For Lower Cortisol Levels.

  • Adapt daily routines: When sleep problems arise, it can be beneficial to make some changes in your daily life. This may include:
    • Take a relaxing vacation or cabin trip: Spending time in natural, tranquil surroundings can help the body reset stress levels.
    • Visits to spas and wellness facilities: Regular visits to spas, saunas or even ice baths, which are discussed in Chapter 5. Can reduce physical and mental stress.
    • Regular walks in nature: Establishing the habit of going for walks in the forest can be an effective way to lower daily stress and cortisol.
    • Dietary changes: It can be beneficial to temporarily cut out stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, especially during periods of high stress. A dietary change to include foods rich in magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids can also help reduce cortisol levels.
    • As mentioned in the section above, morning routines to bring in light, as well as evening routines to reduce light: Establishing these routines, morning light 10-15 minutes within the first 2 waking hours at the latest, as well as dimming the lights at least an hour before bedtime can help the body to prepare for sleep and create keep the correct cycle of cortisol and malathion hormones in the body

These changes have helped me manage and ultimately improve my sleep quality significantly. By implementing both quick and long-term techniques, one can effectively reduce cortisol levels and promote better health and well-being.


10. Evening routines for better sleep

The evening is a critical time to prepare both body and mind for a restorative night's sleep. Effective evening routines can be the key to unlocking deeper and more rejuvenating sleep. This chapter explores how you can establish a relaxing and effective evening routine that sets the stage for optimal sleep.

The Importance Of A Consistent Evening Routine

A consistent evening routine helps regulate the body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, which tells the body when it's time to sleep. By repeating the same actions every night, you can signal to the body that the time to relax and prepare for sleep is approaching.

Steps to Create Your Optimal Evening Routine

  • Digital Step Down:
    • Description: Limit exposure to blue light from screens, as well as other artificial white and yellow light that should be dimmed at least 1 hour before bedtime, so as not to suppress melatonin production and disrupt your circadian rhythm.
    • Action: Dim all lights at least 1 hour before bedtime, as well as turn off digital devices at least an hour before bed, or use settings that reduce blue light in the evening.
  • Create a Relaxing Environment:
    • Description: Your sleeping environment should promote feelings of calm and relaxation.
    • Action: Use essential oils like lavender, dim the lights, and make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet.
  • Meditation and Relaxation Techniques:
    • Description: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep.
    • Action: Dedicate time to a relaxation technique as part of your evening routine. This can include guided meditations or simple breathing exercises.
  • Plan Tomorrow:
    • Description: Stress and anxiety about future tasks can keep the mind active at night, and disrupt sleep.
    • Action: Write down the tasks for the next day and any concerns you may have. This helps to 'close the book' and calm the mind before bed.
  • A Relaxing Tea or Hot Bath:
    • Description: A warm bath or a cup of herbal tea can have a physically relaxing effect on the body.
    • Action: Take a warm bath with Epsom salts or drink a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea to promote relaxation.
  • Reading or Audiobook:
    • Description: Reading can be an excellent way to distract the mind from the stresses and worries of the day.
    • Action: Choose a light book or listen to an audiobook, avoid heavy or stimulating topics before bed.


Personal adaptation of techniques

It is important to note that not all routines work for everyone. It is essential to experiment with different activities to find what works best for you. Adapt the routine based on your personal preferences and lifestyle, and be aware of how different activities affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.

By understanding and implementing these strategies, you can develop an evening routine that not only promotes better sleep, but also improves your overall quality of life. The right evening routine can transform your nights and therefore also your days, by ensuring that you wake up refreshed and ready for new challenges.



11. End of the Journey Towards Better Sleep

Personal Adaptation Of Techniques

We have now come to the end of this exploration of the science and art of sleep. Throughout this journey we have covered various basic as well as more alternative methods for better sleep hygiene, to more advanced methods such as fasting and the use of NMN for cell regeneration. I hope these tips, which combine scientific methods and personal experiences, have given you useful tools to improve your sleep quality.

Sleep is a personal matter, and what works for one person may be less effective for another. That's why it's important to adapt and experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you. Remember, every small improvement in your sleep quality is a step in the right direction. Remember that restoration and growth happen during the deepest stages of sleep

By prioritizing and improving sleep, we also improve our overall health and well-being. Sleep is the foundation for a healthy body and a clear mind, and by prioritizing good sleep, we take an important step towards a richer, longer and more energetic life. Mastering sleep is a superpower that gives us all a better life.



If there is interest in exploring this topic more deeply, I look forward to possibly delving into a part 2 based on your feedback and interest. This will drive the series forward and hopefully enrich our understanding even more.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the mysteries of the night. Don't hesitate to ask questions or share your own experiences and personal tips. We are here to support each other towards better sleep and better health. Together we can work towards nights filled with peaceful and rewarding sleep. May each night bring you closer to the rest you deserve. Have a good night, and remember: every day is a new opportunity to sleep better.

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