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Published on April 28, 2021

8 Healthy Sleep Habits To Develop For An Energetic You

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8 Healthy Sleep Habits To Develop For An Energetic You

There is a lot of research about sleep and how it affects our overall health and wellbeing. Still, even if you are not the kind of person who reads scientific papers, you will undoubtedly have experienced what happens when you do not have healthy sleep habits. You make more mistakes, you become forgetful, your moods swing alarmingly, and your productivity drops like a rock, not to mention how rotten you feel throughout the day.

Sleep is vital for regulating so many parts of our bodies, from allowing for essential repairs to our bodies to regulating the hormones that contribute to stress and high blood pressure.[1] Without sleep, you would, in effect, become a non-functioning human being.

So, if we agree that getting enough sleep is essential if you want to have an abundance of energy and vitality, what healthy sleep habits can you develop to enhance these positive effects and enable you to get enough sleep consistently?

Here are eight healthy sleep habits that can help you stay alert, energized, and focused every day.

1. Have a Set Sleeping Time

Probably the most effective way of ensuring that you are getting enough sleep is going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. This applies to weekdays as well as weekends.

Now, how you do this is up to you. You first need to know how much sleep you need to feel rested. For me, I need around six hours of sleep a day. The next thing you need to know is how long it usually takes you to fall asleep. For me, I generally require around thirty minutes to fall asleep.

Now, here we are all different. Some of you may need eight or nine hours sleep (and generally, the younger you are the more sleep you need), or you may operate perfectly fine on five or six hours. My wife can fall asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow. I, on the other hand, need at least thirty minutes before I fall asleep.

Once you know how much sleep you need and how long it usually takes you to fall asleep, you can work out what time you need to go to bed. If you need six hours of sleep, require thirty minutes to fall asleep, and need to wake up at 7:30 am, you need to go to bed no later than midnight.

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So, the formula you need is:

amount of sleep you need (in hours) + average time to fall asleep (in minutes) – time you need to wake up = your bedtime

Once you know your bedtime, make that a non-negotiable part of your life.

2. Don’t Leave Your Work With Unresolved Issues

So many people struggle to get a good quality night’s sleep because they have unresolved issues left over from the day. These unresolved issues, if not dealt with, cause our minds to worry and stress.

What’s happening is that your conscious mind is worrying about them because you have not decided what action to take to resolve them. Instead, before you go to bed, write out everything that’s on your mind and decide what you need to do to resolve them. Now, this does not mean you have to solve the problem at the moment. What it means is that you need to decide what to do next.

For example, imagine just before you finished work, you received an email informing you that next week’s important presentation has been moved forward to Friday—not the nicest email to receive at 5:50 pm on a Wednesday. Instead of leaving it until tomorrow, where you will worry about it all evening, open up your calendar and block out a couple of hours to work on the presentation tomorrow. Rearrange any appointments if necessary.

Just those few minutes rearranging your schedule will take the problem off your mind and free you from the stress and worry you would have if you did not do that. Essentially, what you are doing is taking the problem out of your conscious mind and moving it to your subconscious mind—the problem-solving part of your brain.

3. Plan the Day a Day Before

Similar to the previous point, make sure you have a plan for tomorrow. This stops you from worrying about what you have to do tomorrow. You know what’s important and you know you have enough time to do it.

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Planning the day should not take more than ten to fifteen minutes, but the effect of knowing what you want to get done the next day puts you in a much more relaxed state, and being in a relaxed state means you are much more likely to have a good nights sleep.

The added benefit of knowing what you want to get done tomorrow is that you begin the day with more focus, which inevitably gives you more energy to get the work done.

When you don’t have a plan for the day, you waste so much time and effort trying to decide what to work on, and more often, you end up working on other people’s priorities rather than your own. You will feel you have been busy at the end of the day, but you’ve been busy doing other people’s work and not your own.

4. Find Out How Much Sleep You Need

Having healthy sleep habits requires knowing how much sleep you need. Each one of us is different. Some of us will need eight hours, and others need six. How many hours of sleep do you need to feel energetic?

You may need to experiment to find this. Often, we have allowed ourselves to be influenced by what we read in the media, but not everyone needs eight hours of sleep.[2] Some find that nine or even ten hours leave them feeling fully restored.

Margaret Thatcher famously only required four hours. Elon Musk finds that around six hours are required for optimum productivity, and Barack Obama’s was five hours a night.

So, take a few weeks and experiment. Try six hours for a few days and see how you feel. If you find you feel energetic and focused throughout the day, then perhaps that’s all you need.

If you find yourself feeling tired mid to late afternoon, increase your sleep time by an hour and try seven. You will soon find your optimum sleep time. Once you know that, you can structure your day around that time.

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5. Eat Early

If you want to get a better sleep quality, then eat your final meal of the day early. My own experience here is that if I eat after 8 pm, I wake up feeling terrible and lethargic—not the best way to start my day energetically.

Now, the science is unproven here, but one thing we do know is that your body’s ability to digest food slows down while you sleep.[3] This means if you go to bed with a full stomach of undigested food, much of that food will still be undigested when you wake up in the morning. This is why many of us feel lethargic in the morning because our body has to consume vital energy doing something that it should have done before we went to bed.

Eating earlier means your body has time to fully digest your food before you go to bed, and you will wake up feeling far more energetic.

6. Start the Day With a Morning Routine

If you want to start the day with energy, purpose, and focus, you need a consistent morning routine. Light exercise, meditation, your favorite drink, and a few minutes reading something educational will energize your day far more than rushing out of bed trying to decide what to wear and doom scrolling through your social media and news feeds.

Now, here’s the thing about effective morning routines. Decide how much time you need to complete your morning routines, and make sure you have that time before starting your day.

For example, many of my morning calls begin at 8 am. This means my day starts at 8. So, I wake up at 7 am. I need forty-five minutes for my morning routines, and I like to have fifteen minutes to focus on myself before my first call.

Keep away from email and other notifications an hour or so before you go to bed. Messages and emails have a terrible habit of tripping our negative emotions, which is never a good state of being in just before you retire for the day.

Set yourself a cut-off time for reading messages and emails. For example, if you decided bedtime is midnight, set 10 pm as your cut-off time. At 10 pm, close down your email and messaging services, such as Slack or What’s App. You do not want to risk receiving messages from your boss or colleagues—messages that are likely to spike your negative emotions.

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If you have been in the habit of constantly checking your emails and messages right up to the point of going to bed, this may be not easy to implement at first, but it is well worth it, and you will get used to it. You can use your phone’s automated “do not disturb” function where your phone automatically puts itself on do not disturb at a set time. That way, there’s no bleeping or vibrating—just quiet and calm before you go to bed.

7. Don’t Snooze!

I know when our alarms go off in the morning, we want to stay in bed for a few more minutes, mainly when it’s cold and wet outside. But those extra few minutes are terrible on our energy levels.[4]

As we wake up in the morning, we are coming towards the end of a REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycle. When we snooze, we quickly fall back into a new REM sleep cycle. The problem here is when we wake up in the middle or near the beginning of a REM sleep cycle, we will feel foggy and groggy, and it takes a long time to pull ourselves out of that feeling.[4]

So, no matter how you feel when your first alarm goes off in the morning, jump out of bed, don’t hit that snooze button. If you have difficulty with this, try Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule: when you wake up, you count to five and get out of bed. I promise you will feel so much better in the day if you do this.

8. Use Power Naps

This was a revelation to me. Before I discovered power naps, I would push through the afternoon slump. The work I did was slow, error-prone, and uninspiring. Once I found that taking a short thirty-minute nap, I found something Winston Churchill discovered a hundred years ago:

“Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one-well, at least one and a half, I’m sure.”

That part about getting at least one and a half days I found to be true. On days I do not take a power nap, I am mentally finished by six or seven in the evening, not capable of doing much more than vegetating in front of YouTube or Netflix. On days I take a nap, I’m fully alert right through the evening, able to learn something new by taking a course or having meaningful conversations with my wife.

Key Takeaways

These eight tips on healthy sleep habits are just the start of your journey to maximizing your energy each day. The key is to understand that we are all different, and you will need to experiment. Once you find your best sleep time, you can build your day around making sure you get your optimum hours of sleep, which creates an energizing morning routine and a relaxing close to your day.

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Follow these healthy sleep habits, and you will find yourself having plenty of energy, a lot more enthusiasm, and ultimately feeling a lot happier and less stressed.

More Tips on How to Develop Healthy Sleep Habits

Featured photo credit: Shane via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Carl Pullein

Dedicated to helping people to achieve their maximum potential through better time management and productivity.

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

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Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

Immunity truly does encapsulate the entire physiology of a person.

When you target your immunity by eating a variety of immune boosting foods, then you really can improve your entire body, both physically and mentally.

The immune system of a human being involves all aspects of one’s physiology and one’s daily experience. Eating certain foods can boost your health in a variety of ways. Below I outline several foods that will get you back on track if you’re feeling under the weather.

In order to even broach the topic of foods good for one’s immune system, it’s important to consider all aspects of the human body and experience.

What I mean by the human experience is one’s day to day mood, energy levels, and many other factors that signify how one engages with themselves and the world around them.

Before indulging in these foods below, I suggest striving for consistency with diet, activity levels, rest, and incorporating the practice of meditation or spending time in nature as part of your daily routine as well.

If you’re ready to feel better, not just when you’re under the weather but all the time incorporate these foods in your diet regularly.

Be sure to stock up on these foods if you’re in need of a boost.

1. Water is a Wise Choice

Yes I know I’m starting things seemingly simple, but one of my most popular YouTube videos discusses the importance of water!

When I ask people how much water they drink a day, the majority of time the answer begins with ‘not enough’.

So if you know you don’t drink enough water, why continue this pattern of behavior?

Now if you’re one that does hit that 5+ and more (pending activity levels) 8oz glasses a day – good for you! Water is life, and that’s where I’ll leave it.

2. Eggs — The Most Complete Protein

Widely regarded as the universally most complete nutritional protein source, eggs are packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids and 9 essential amino acids.

Egg whites are rich in Vitamins D/E/K, B2, B5, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

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Meanwhile, egg yolks pack the calories and fats along with cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin.

It’s important to note that the average medium egg contains 76 calories, 7.5g protein, 5.1g fat, 1.4g sat fat – so consider this while integrating this near perfect super food in your next dish!

3. Raw Spinach Supports Immunity

This leafy green is a personal favorite of mine due to its versatility and great taste!

Spinach is loaded with vitamin C which helps fight cold, flu, and reinforce the immune system.

It’s also quite high in antioxidants and beta-carotene, which supports our immune system in fighting infection and viruses.

When enjoying this plentiful plant, do so raw. Its nutrients are best absorbed when the vegetable is raw; consider adding spinach as a fresh salad, rather than to a cooked dish, to reap the most immune system rewards.

4. Turmerics Benefit on T-Cells

Gaining popularity for its delicious taste, this powerful spice is also gaining notoriety for its anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin (which also creates the vibrant orange-yellow color).

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology notes that curcumin activates the production of T-cells, which are of the primary cells fighting on behalf of your systems immunity. [1]

5. Garlic is Really Good for You

This popular food not only tastes great but packs quite a punch.

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which boasts a variety of medicinal properties. Garlic is also not very calorie dense; 1 ounce yields about 42 calories with 1.8g protein and 9g carbs.

Garlic also boasts Vitamin C, B6, Fiber, and Manganese.

The properties mentioned above helps maintain healthy bones, prevent diabetes and epileptic seizures, regulate thyroid, combat osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, improve cognitive function, and regulate glucose metabolism!

So, forget about garlic breath–eat this food in abundance!

6. Wild Salmon is Wonderful

A personal favorite of mine, wild Alaskan salmon is one of those super foods that covers all your nutrient bases!

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Salmon can be cooked a variety of delicious ways, and yields some of the highest immune system boosting benefits.

Salmon contains fish oil Omega-3’s, which protect against developing heart disease and heart attack. Oils contained within such fish are quite unique in that they have Omega-3 fatty acids that are not present in any other food.

Also consider that wild salmon contains (per 4oz) 128% Vitamin D, 95% Vitamin B12, 94% tryptophan, 62% selenium, 53% protein, 53% omega 3’s, 45% Vitamin B3, 37% phosphorus, 32% Vitamin B6, 19% choline, 14% potassium, and 8%(157) calories.

This is one of those super foods that you could stand to have in your diet several times per week. Beyond the incredible taste, its nutritional benefits make it well worth seeking out.

7. Essential Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Many home cooks consider this an essential ingredient in preparing dinner. But it’s also quite good for you!

Extra virgin olive oil is widely regarded as being a healthy addition to any kitchen, with modest amounts of Vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids.

Per 100g of olive oil you can expect 14% saturated fat, 73% Monounsaturated fat, 10% Omega-6, 1% Omega-3, 72%, and 75% Vitamin K.

It also boasts an impressive antioxidant profile. This includes the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation.

8. Natural Greek Yogurt Has Many Benefits

When I talk about natural Greek yogurt, I mean the type that is not flavored in any way. Those added sugars won’t help boost immunity.

Many people have convoluted the immunity and health benefits of natural yogurt with the all too popular sugary treats that flood grocery stores. But it’s the plain stuff that’s the best to include in your diet.

Natural Greek yogurt not only goes great with many dishes, but it contains vast amounts of protein which will leave you feeling satisfied.

The reason why I’ve specified ‘Greek yogurt’ is because one cup of plain, low-fat conventional yogurt typically has 5 to 10 grams of protein, where Greek yogurt averages about 13 to 20 grams of protein.

Greek yogurt also contains essential probiotics (live microorganisms). These are bacteria microbes that help improve digestive function, the immune system, and overall gut health.

Add natural Greek yogurt to your diet, whether as a breakfast food, a substitute for sour cream, or as an addition to a healthy smoothie.

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9. Ginseng Tea — Chock Full of Ginsenosides

Ginseng tea’s primary health benefits are due to the naturally occurring chemicals called ginsenosides present in the root.

One of ginseng’s most widely understood benefits include it’s rich anti-cancer properties. [2]

Studies also indicate that people who drink ginseng tea have a lower risk of developing cancer.

Ginseng tea can also help relieve menstrual cramps, lower blood pressure, and improve brain function; and it has also been shown to help with sexual (erectile) dysfunction in men.

10. Green Tea Fights Aging

Just as powerful as ginseng tea, this extremely popular tea is rich in polyphenols that have effects like reducing inflammation and aiding in the fight against cancer.

Green tea is in fact 30% polyphenols, including large amounts of a catechin called EGCG. Catechins are natural antioxidants that aid in the prevention of cell damage and provide several other benefits.

EGCG, and substances like it can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, helping protect cells and molecules from damage.

Free radicals such as these are commonly known to play a role in aging and all sorts of other diseases.

This wonderful also tea contains small quantities of minerals that are important for overall health, so it may be worth picking up some green tea when visiting your next local tea shop.

11. Dark Chocolate — The Delicious Superfood

Don’t get too excited with this one – everything in moderation, of course!

And I’m not just referring to any chocolate — I’m talking specifically about dark chocolate and cacoa nibs, which are both immune system boosting super foods.

We’ve already covered free radicals in this article, and dark chocolate is one of those wonderful super foods that helps fight against such free radicals.

It does this with its high antioxidant profile which is believed to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their damage.

Dark chocolate’s antioxidants include vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – helpful plant compounds. Much like other immune boosting foods on this list dark chocolate will also help balance cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve heart health, and cognitive function.

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You now have a healthy excuse to eat some dark chocolate; but, go for the lowest sugar and highest cocoa content varieties you can find to reap the most rewards.

12. Frozen Blueberries for All!

Personally I love adding frozen blueberries to smoothies; however, sometimes I’ll pop over to the freezer just to grab a small handful as a treat!

Frozen blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which come from compounds called anthocyanins; these give blueberries their purple hue.

One really neat fact about the ice crystals that form when the berries are frozen is that they disrupt the structure of the plant tissue and make anthocyanins even more available – how cool is that? Talk about hacking blueberries!

Even if not frozen, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits. They have been known to boost memory, cardiovascular system, and eyesight. The fruit also encourages a process called authophagy, or ‘cell clean-up’.

Berries in general (raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries) are extremely high on the ORAC scale. This means they contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals.

Frozen blueberries in particular may aid in defending colds and flu, as they are high in pterostilbene.

Next time you visit your local grocery store, consider how ideal blueberries are for your immune system and general health.

13. Raw Honey — A Natural Antioxidant

Saving the sweetest for last!

Pure natural raw honey follows the rest of this super food list with its antioxidant profile, however it also contains antibacterial and anti fungal properties.

Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds, and certain types contain just as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables.

Raw honey can help the body kill-off unwanted bacteria and fungus as it naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong antiseptic. Raw honey also contains phytonutrients, commonly found in plants, which provides both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Aside from these wonderful benefits, raw honey can also aid with digestive issues, however this typically varies person to person.

Indulge in Better Health

But also, don’t forget to rest! When considering one’s overall health, it’s important to not only incorporate these immune boosting foods, but also to ensure adequate sleep, and take efforts to reduce stress.

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Eating these immunity boosting foods will enable you to take back control of your health and prevent illness… all while satisfying your cravings!

Featured photo credit: Joanna Kosinska via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Journal of Immunology: Curcumin
[2] NCBI: Ginseng for Fatigue

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