I try to avoid a handful of habits during the day specifically to improve my sleep.
Usually these are exactly the ones that naturally happen on long weekends, especially when that includes a trip away from home.
Here's the list (in order of importance) of things I get back into my routine after a long weekend.
Drinking really helps loosen me up, but it makes my sleep pretty worthless. I'm still doing testing to find out exactly how bad it is for me, but I know for sure research has shown it basically disables REM sleep.
REM is when we dream. It is also when we cement memories, which includes learning.
If we're lucky, drinking alcohol just pushes REM to the very end of our sleep when we have all our dreams and can vividly remember how crazy they are when we wake up. When the liver finally metabolizes the alcohol, REM is enabled again.
If we're not lucky, we lose most of the memories and learning from the previous day. We could even start having dreamlike delusions and hallucinations the next day. Basically, our bodies try to get in some REM sleep while we're awake.
Not good. Especially if you want to improve at your job or a skill.
Stop Eating Early
Sleep gets disrupted by stomach contents still being digested and flooding the body with glucose. I eat my final meal of the day at least 2 hours before heading to bed, usually more.
Night time is meant to be restorative. Digesting puts that on pause.
Also, if I eat something like ice cream or sugary treats, my glucose spikes. So? Well, what goes up must come down. Hard. Insulin regulation isn't perfect when dealing with big spikes. Basically what happens is yo-yoing of my blood glucose.
Blood glucose fluctuations like that completely throw off my body trying to restore.
So, my goal is to stop eating at least 3 hours before I go to sleep and stay away from anything that might spike my blood glucose in the evening.
AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHH! That's my snarl when I finish the last set of leg day. The kind of effort I put into a tough workout does wonders for sleep.
I'm more tired at the end of the day so I get to sleep better. But, because I did some damage to my muscles, sleep is needed to repair them. It creates a natural need for good sleep, causing me to sleep better and it to do more good.
The only caveat is to not exercise right before bed. It raises body temperature, which needs to be low to sleep well.
Sleep Friendly Environment
Speaking of lowering body temperature, sleep environment is key to help that. I try to keep my bedroom as cold as my wife will stand.
On top of the air temperature, I also have the Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover, which fills tubes with water that makes my mattress cool.
Add to that dark shades, no lights, and quiet windows. This all creates the ideal sleeping environment to get the most of my nights.
"How did you sleep?" Are you as confused about this question as I am? I dunno how I slept. I was sleeping. Wait, lemme check the footage! Ok, maybe someday that will be interesting, but for now I use a couple of indicators to know if I slept well.
First, did I hit snooze? If I can get up without turning off my alarm and sleeping another hour, I had a good night.
Second, I check Eight Sleep to see what my HRV (heart rate variability) was overnight.
Those two measures tend to confirm each other.
Well, that's what I do to get back on track after getting out of my routine. I hope some of that was interesting or helpful, or you at least got a good laugh at the crazy things I do.