Ten Steps to Healthy Sleep | Chris Masterjohn Lite #120

Ten Steps to Healthy Sleep | Chris Masterjohn Lite #120
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    Here are ten things to do for better sleep.
    Hi. I'm Dr. Chris Masterjohn of
    chrismasterjohnphd.com, and this is
    Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is
    "Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!"
    And today we're going to talk about ten
    different things that you can try to get better sleep.
    So, number one, get morning sunshine at
    the same time every day. Do it when it's bright out,
    do it when it's not so bright out, do it when
    it's cloudy, as long as it's not raining.
    Go out. Even if it's cold, go out. I do this every morning,
    even in the winter. Some people think I'm
    crazy, but, hey, if you have the luxury of
    having awesome sleep all the time, you
    don't have to worry about it, but if you
    could improve your sleep, then get
    outside every morning at a consistent
    time of day. It doesn't have to be
    immediately upon waking, but it should be
    in the first couple hours after waking,
    and it should be extremely consistent, as
    consistent as possible. If your waking
    time ranges from 6:00 to 8:00, then make it
    8:30 that you get your morning sunshine
    in so you can get it at a consistent time every day.
    Number two, eat enough food. If you're on
    a diet and you're trying to
    lose weight, don't be surprised if it
    hurts your sleep. You need to be in a
    caloric balance in order to have
    high-quality sleep, and if you are
    chronically dieting or you're just so
    used to trying to lose weight, you might
    have-- you might not be perceiving
    correctly what your food needs truly are.
    So, try an online calculator that I'll
    link to in the description of this
    episode to estimate what you should be
    eating for calories. Try tracking your
    calories with MyFitnessPal or
    Cronometer, and make sure you're
    actually eating enough food.
    Number three, eat enough carbohydrate. Now, I'll say up
    front, some people sleep better on a
    high-fat, ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets are
    low in carbohydrate. But the thing is,
    ketogenic diets help relax certain-- relax
    you in certain ways by their actions on
    GABA in the brain. They also help your
    brain reduce its requirement for glucose
    by feeding it with ketones. But if you
    are not on a ketogenic diet, then you
    need-- you might need more carbohydrate
    than you think. You might need about 200 grams of
    carbohydrate a day, and that's because
    when you're not on a ketogenic diet, your
    brain consumes 120 grams of carbohydrate
    every day. And so if you're eating 90
    grams of carbohydrate, you're eating too
    many carbs to be ketogenic, and you're
    not eating enough carbs to feed your brain.
    On top of that, your liver stores
    about 90 grams of glucose that it
    releases into your blood in order to
    sustain your blood sugar between meals.
    The greatest challenge on your liver to
    do that is overnight when you're sleeping
    because that's the longest you go
    without a meal. And that means that you
    might need 120 grams of glucose to feed
    your brain, 90 or 100 grams of glucose to
    make sure that your liver is topped off
    at the end of the night, to make sure
    that your brain is getting fed and that
    your blood glucose isn't dropping.
    So, I would think of 200 grams plus more if
    you are-- if you engage in a lot of
    high-intensity physical activity.
    If you're a heavy athlete, you might need 400
    or 500 grams of carbs a day. But 200 grams
    for someone who's sedentary, who is not
    on a ketogenic diet, might be what you need.
    Number four, eat enough nutrients.
    There are so many nutrients that can
    impact your sleep that any one that's
    missing could be the thing that's
    compromising your sleep. So, I'll link to
    an episode that I did called "Five Rules for
    a Healthy Diet" that is designed to make
    sure that you're getting all your
    nutrients in without thinking too much
    about it, but you can also try tracking
    your nutrients with an app called
    Cronometer. I'll link to an episode I did
    about how to do that. And then of course
    if you want to really geek out on it, you
    can do testing to manage your
    nutritional status. If you're going to get
    into that, you should get a copy of my
    Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet,
    which you can find at
    chrismasterjohnphd.com/cheatsheet.
    and which you can get five dollars
    off with the code: LITE5
    that's LITE and the number 5, LITE5.
    Number five is avoid blue light at night.
    There are different ways that you can engage
    with this concept. I recommend if you
    have sleeping trouble to engage
    with it intensely and regularly and
    consistently for a few weeks to see if
    it helps you. If you don't have a lot of
    trouble sleeping, then you don't need to
    be too mindful of it. But the simplest
    things to do are to not stare at a
    screen at night, like not staring at your
    phone for hours before bed, and to reduce
    the intensity of the light
    that you're surrounded by. So, if you have
    really bright overhead lights, and you
    have some warmer colored dimmer lamps,
    use the dimmer lamps instead of the
    overhead lights. But to really get into
    it, I would recommend a few things.
    Number one, if you have software on your
    computer or phone that warms the screen
    at night, use it. Next, get a pair of
    blue-blocking glasses so that at a minimum
    you can use it when you're going to go into
    the refrigerator, or you're going to go into
    the bathroom where you're going to be
    exposed to bright blue lights while
    you're otherwise blue-blocking. And then
    lastly get ambient lighting for your
    home that is low in blue light. I use
    light bulbs from lowbluelights.com
    that I turn on around-- I shift over to
    them around 8 o'clock every night to get
    a warmer, lower-blue lighting in my
    apartment. So, I don't actually use my
    blue-blocking glasses that much, unless
    I'm going to spend time staring into my
    phone or I'm using it to do things in
    the kitchen that require me opening the
    refrigerator and things like that. Most
    of the time, I'm just in ambient lighting
    that is low blue light. Number six,
    have a routine to psychologically wind down.
    You need to shut off your
    problem-solving part of your brain, you
    don't want to be thinking about your
    daily tasks, you don't want to be thinking
    about the things you need to do tomorrow,
    you don't want to be thinking about what
    could go wrong. You want to
    create a routine that takes your mind
    off of all those things.
    Some things that have helped me are
    writing down my to-do list for the next
    day to get it out of my head and onto
    paper, watching TV, watching movies,
    playing video games, reading paperback
    fiction. Find your thing that helps you
    wind down that helps take your mind
    off the day-to-day needs
    and spend a couple hours in
    that winding-down routine at the end of the day.
    Number seven, sleep in darkness. Ideally in your room
    you want to block out all the outside
    light. What I do is I use inside-mounted
    blackout shades and then outside-mounted
    blackout curtains, and I also use a sleep
    mask on top of that. The sleep masks that
    cup the eyes are better than the flat
    ones, and I'll link to the one that I use
    in the description of this episode.
    Number eight, sleep in a cool environment
    Keep the room as cool as you can handle
    without being uncomfortable. That's going
    to be different for everyone, but you want
    to sleep on the cooler side of what you
    tolerate, not on the warmer side of what
    you tolerate. If you want to get fancy if
    you're married and you have different
    cool tolerances on one side of the bed
    than the other, there is a ChiliPad
    option that has the ability to keep one
    side of the bed at a different temperature
    than the other. And I've heard that it
    has saved many marriages.
    Number nine, sleep with silence or white noise.
    I don't sleep with white noise, so I don't
    have good recommendations for it. I do
    better with silence. I use earplugs every
    night. One thing that I've always hated
    about earplugs is the way that you go if
    you lay your head down on the pillow and
    they push back into your ear, so I started
    using Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone
    Ear Plugs, which you shape with
    your fingers to be flat against your ear.
    The downside that I've heard from the
    ladies is that if you have long hair,
    your hair can get stuck on them. So if
    you have long hair, it might not be the
    best choice for you, but if you have
    short hair, it's a much better option
    than the ones that stick out of your ear
    in my experience.
    Number ten, when you wake up to pee,
    handle it properly. I just did an episode
    that I'll link to in the description on how to not wake up
    when you pee. But if you do wake up when
    you pee, then a few things are important.
    Number one, practice 100% blue blocking
    on the way to and from the bathroom.
    So, put on your amber blue-blocking glasses
    on the way there, while you're peeing, and
    on the way back, and then when you get back, if you
    don't fall immediately to sleep, use an
    abbreviated form of your
    psychologically winding-down routine.
    In other words if video games helps you
    wind down, play video games on your phone
    with blue-blocking glasses until you get
    distracted. If reading helps you wind
    down, then read a paperback book
    either with your blue-blocking glasses
    or with your ambient, amber, low-blue
    light until you feel distracted enough
    to go back to bed.
    iI you feel voraciously hungry when you
    wake up, then eat something, but keep in
    mind that you're probably not eating
    enough in general if you keep waking up
    hungry in the middle of the night, and so
    you should try to manage your daytime
    eating in a way that will prevent you
    from needing to wake up and eat in the
    middle of the night. Finally, put these
    ten steps into a rhythm. Especially with
    the light issues, it's really important
    to have the darkness, the low-blue
    lights, and the morning sunshine at
    consistent times of day. But it really is
    important for your body to sleep at a
    similar time every night. So if you
    absolutely have to sleep at different
    times in the weekdays than the weekend,
    do what you can to bring them together
    by shifting around your routines so that
    at least if it's not the same, it's similar.
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    All right, I hope you found this useful.
    Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of
    chrismasterjohnphd.com. This has been
    Chris Masterjohn Lite.
    And I will see you in the next episode.
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