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    Beyond Sleep Hygiene: How to Improve Sleep Quality

      |  Feb 22, 2023

    Sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy and high-performing lifestyle. Adequate and restful sleep is essential for longevity, energy, cognitive function, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, many people struggle to achieve high-quality sleep, often leading to negative effects on their health and performance. In this blog post, we will explore some ways to optimize sleep quality beyond basic sleep hygiene.

    Fundamentals of Sleep Hygiene

    Before we dive into the more advanced techniques, it's essential to remind ourselves of the basics of sleep hygiene. These include avoiding caffeine after noon, limiting blue light exposure within one hour of sleep, avoiding meals within two hours of sleep, and limiting alcohol intake. These basic sleep hygiene practices create the optimal environment for sleep to occur naturally.

    Supplement-Based Tools

    Supplements can be an effective way to improve sleep quality. 

    • Magnesium is a mineral that plays a vital role in the body's nervous system, and many people are deficient in it. Taking a dose of at least 200mg of magnesium can help individuals fall asleep more easily. 

    • Myo-inositol, a natural sugar alcohol found in many foods, is another supplement that can improve sleep quality. It helps regulate the body's insulin response and has been shown to improve sleep duration and quality. 

    • Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb that helps to combat stress, can be particularly helpful for individuals who struggle with falling asleep due to racing thoughts or anxiety. GABA and Glycine are amino acids that can promote relaxation and better sleep quality by reducing anxiety and calming the nervous system.

    Cognitive-Based Tools

    Cognitive-based tools can help individuals train their minds to achieve high-quality sleep.

    • Neurofeedback training is a technique that uses technology to measure brain waves and help individuals learn to regulate their own brain function. Specifically, training the SMR frequency band (12-15 Hz) has been shown to improve sleep quality, increase sleep duration, and reduce the number of awakenings during the night. 

    • Similarly, heart rate variability (HRV) training is a technique that helps individuals learn to regulate their nervous system's response to stress. Regular HRV training can lead to improved sleep quality, better mood, and reduced anxiety.

    • Lastly, a technique known as Non-Sleep Deep Rest or Yoga Nidra can be particularly effective for helping individuals fall asleep, especially in the context of mid-night awakenings. This technique involves lying down in a comfortable position and following a guided meditation that leads the individual through different stages of deep relaxation. As the body and mind relax, sleep often comes more naturally. This technique can be particularly helpful for individuals who struggle with racing thoughts or anxiety at bedtime. Guided Yoga Nidra meditations can be found on YouTube.

    Optimizing sleep quality is essential for longevity and high performance. While basic sleep hygiene practices are critical, supplement-based and cognitive-based tools can be effective in improving sleep quality beyond these fundamentals.