man with eyes closed as if sleeping

How to Optimize Your Sleep

 

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Hate to break it to you, man, but your mom was right. Getting a good night’s sleep was important in high school—and it’s way more important now. The simple fact is that rest fuels recovery, and whether we’re talking skincare or fitness, all the hard work you put in really takes shape overnight. The long and short of it is, nothing beats a solid eight hours of sleep. That’s the first goal, but there are other steps you can take to truly optimize your sleep.

Keep your late nights in check.

We love a good night out as much as the next guy. A healthy social life can double as stress relief, and sometimes nightlife is part of your job. But consider this: Your growth hormones, secreted by your pituitary glands, are at their highest levels of production between 1AM - 4AM. That means that every minute you put in at the gym (or don’t!) and every meal you eat, healthy or not, all comes to a head while you’re sleeping. Regular late nights can basically undo all of your hard work.

Sleep deprivation can also cause insulin resistance, tricking your body into storing instead of building muscle. Running on little sleep can also raise your catabolism levels—that’s the process that breaks down muscle tissue.

“You can sleep when you’re dead!” is a lie your Uncle Ricky told you, dude. Try to cap the post-midnight hangs at one per week. Plus, here’s a little secret: Nothing that great really goes down that late. You’re not really missing anything—and being the last guy at the party is not the best look.

Break the screen cycle.

We know, we know. We’re guilty of it too. But you’ve heard this before for a reason. Staring at a screen in low light, and especially at bedtime, is wildly disruptive to your circadian rhythm. Get all your screen time in in the evening, so you can refrain from electronic usage one or two hours before you go to sleep. The easiest way to break the phone habit is surprisingly simple: charge your devices overnight in another room.

We know what you’re going to say next. Remember alarm clocks, though? Waking you in the morning is literally the whole point of their existence. Consider investing in a really good-looking, premier sound quality model—after all, no one said music was off-limits! Or podcasts either, for that matter. If you insist on using your phone as an alarm, make friends with your “Do Not Disturb” and “Night Mode” settings, and make sure to keep it in airplane mode.

Respect your bedroom.

After all, it’s where the magic happens. Treat your room right: Invest in quality bedding and blackout shades or curtains to keep your sleep time sacred, and optimize the room’s temperature: 65-69F is optimal for sleep.

If you struggle with insomnia or it’s hard for you to get to sleep, get acquainted with binaural beats AKA white noise. We like the RelaxMelodies app (you can stream it via Bluetooth on many new alarm clock models), and there are lots of great white noise machines on the market these days. Ahh, the power of science.

Keep it simple.

And keep it consistent. Devise a pre-sleep routine that involves going to bed at the same time every night. The human body is a creature of habit, and you should treat your sleep accordingly. We suggest setting two recurring alarms: One reminding you it’s time to wind down—this is the perfect time to start your nighttime Disco skincare routine, btw—and another letting you know it’s time to get in bed. We know you work your ass off. So make sleep work for YOU.

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