9 Ways Our Lifestyle Destroys Our Sleep Quality
light kills your sleep

9 Ways Our Lifestyle DESTROYS Our Sleep Quality (and What to Do About It)

Oh shit.

Our lifestyle really messes with our sleep.

And a a lack of quality sleep is DEVASTATING as it plays against our James Bond-like energy, our Hollywood sexiness, and our personal urge to get things done…

In short: Our lifestyle sucks our vitality out of our veins.

More...

And who wants to be such a lifeless, grumpy, and worn-out-faced creature?

No-o-oh thanks, right?

So, it’s time to learn about these lifestyle sleep killers so we can fix our sleep and be the liveliest version of ourselves.

Let’s get started back to life.


Lifestyle Sleep Killer #1
Monday Jetlag

Monday jetlag

Oh yes.

Believe it or not:

You create a mini-jetlag every weekend…

Let me explain:

You work Monday to Friday in the office. So you get up at the same time every day. Your body gets accustomed to your sleep/wake rhythm during the work week. And then it comes, the SHOCKER!

You don’t go to bed at the usual time on Friday night. No, you stay up super late as you can sleep in on Saturday… You knock your sleep/wake rhythm on the head.

You maybe even wake up automatically on Saturday morning at the usual time as your body thinks that’s the right time to get up. But no, you went to bed late, and finally you can stay in bed in the morning. So, you just stay in bed and sleep in till noon…

Then you feel tired all day long… And in the evening you stay up late again, and you sleep in on Sunday as well.

And Sunday night you do it again: You SHOCK your body by going to bed earlier again. But guess what?! You can’t fall asleep as you just got up by noon. Bummer!

And here’s the next SHOCKER: You need to get up super early on Monday morning... That’s the COMPLETE JETLAG!

Here are the numbers:

  • You go to bed at 10pm Sunday to Thursday
  • You get up at 6am Monday to Friday
  • You go to bed at 2am Friday & Saturday
  • You get up at 10am Saturday & Sunday

That’s like a different time zone of 4 HOURS!

It’s like traveling from the East to the West Coast on Friday and back again on Sunday…

That’s INSANE, right?!

On the weekends we often create a mini-jetlag. And that’s why we feel dead tired on Monday morning…

Now, I’m not suggesting you should live like a Saint and never go to bed late and never sleep in. That’s maverick.

I think it’s important for you to understand the CONSEQUENCES of knocking your sleep/wake rhythm on the head every weekend.

Just be aware of that. You create a JETLAG. And that makes it tough getting up on Monday. And most certainly risky for your health...

So, next weekend ask yourself:

“Is it worth the jetlag?”

  • “Yes. I’m a party ANIMAL!” –> Go for it!
  • “Hmm. Maybe I’ll skip this weekend.” –> Go to bed at the usual time and feel great all the weekend and even Monday morning.

This point is really MASSIVE… But it’s also difficult to cure as you want to go out, visit some friends & family, and you want to go to the movies etc…

I understand.

This is NOT easy to fix and I’m struggling with that myself. So, just be aware of the problem behind it and try minimizing the jetlag.

PSSST… Here’s a CHEAT: Supplement with melatonin on Sunday night so you can fall asleep easily and sleep better. I recommend a small dose of 0.1 to 1mg 30-90 minutes before bed. Beware: It’s a hormone, so don’t overdo it. 1-2 times a week should be alright.

Cool, let’s jump right to the next one.


Lifestyle Sleep Killer #2
Late-Night Lightshow

Light at night is bad for our sleep

WTF?

  • Late-night TV show
  • Late-night Candy Crush Saga
  • Late-night tweeting
  • Late-night workout
  • Late-night reading
  • Late-night horror movie

There’s always LIGHT involved. Whether it’s room light or light of a technical device such as the TV, cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc… (Technical devices are generally bad for your sleep.)

Our lifestyle is predestined to use bright light at night. But this late-night lightshow does INTERRUPT with our sleep.

It has to do with our bodies’ melatonin production. In short: The light exposure in the evening blocks the melatonin production, which makes it harder to fall asleep. And it makes us sleep worse. Bummer!

The cool thing is: You can fix it easily. Read how here.

By the way, horror movies at night might be a DOUBLE TROUBLE for your sleep.

1. The light exposure (as discussed)

2. The psychological effects on your mind: You’re freaking afraid of sleeping alone…

Think about late-night horror movies twice…

Just imagine the 3 clowns with the chainsaw and the evil laughter…

Horror movies destroy our sleep

Hehehe…

Good night.

(Or maybe it’s just me being a scaredy-cat.)

Lifestyle Sleep Killer #3
Home – Car – Office – Car – Home

No surprise here…

Living only INSIDE is not good for your sleep.

Hey, you need some sun exposure.

We’re not meant to live only inside …

Go outside!

Yes, expose yourself to bright light in the morning and during the day (not after dark though as previously discussed).

If you want a good night’s sleep, don’t sit in your cave (home, car, office) all day long…

Go outside and get that sun exposure that your body so desperately needs.

And what if you’re up before sunrise, or what if you live in England where is no sun at all?

Well then, expose yourself to the brightest ARTIFICIAL light you’ve got. Even artificial light in the morning will improve your sleep at night. [1]

To sum up:

  • Light exposure in the morning tells your body it’s time to wake up
  • This will shine away your morning blues (because of a raise in cortisol) [2]
  • AND it will shine away some pounds…[3]
  • Sunlight is the best light you can get
  • Expose yourself to bright light in the morning and sleep better at night

Easy-peasy, right?

And YES, early light exposure helps you lose weight. [4]

So, tomorrow morning, expose yourself to the brightest light possible.

Eat lunch outdoors, go for a walk, or drive your ragtop with the roof down…

Lifestyle Sleep Killer #4
The Most Annoying Alarm Clock

Annyoing alarm clock

BEEP BEEP BEEP

BEEP BEEP BEEP

First thing in the morning…

Haha. I remember when I used such an alarm clock. I was fcking angry every morning. I hated waking up to that sound. It’s like the most annoying thing in the world.

Imagine… You’re sleeping like an angel when suddenly DEVIL himself tries to stab you right through the back... Ugh. Awful feeling…

I’m glad that’s over.

So yes, a loud annoying alarm clock actually does KILL your sleep (explanation will follow).

What are your options?

You have 3 options:

  • No alarm clock at all
  • A gentle alarm clock that wakes you up in light sleep only
  • A dawn simulating alarm clock

No alarm clock

Okay, admittedly, that’s risky.

In the times of train schedules and shift work we need to be on time. So, for most people, this only works on weekends and off days.

However, you could train yourself by getting up at the exact same time every day. Your body will get adjusted and will automatically wake you up at that time every day. This will take a few weeks of adaptation, plus it requires that you’re actually getting enough sleep.

So, no alarm clock is a toughie…

Second option?

A gentle alarm clock

This might be the easiest and cheapest solution.

Your sleep has different stages (read more about sleep stages here link). Depending on in what stage you are when your alarm goes off, you feel totally awake or just shit. Naturally, you would always wake up in light sleep. However, if you set an alarm for 6 a.m. for example, the alarm will go off no matter whether you’re in light or deep sleep.

And if you’re in deep sleep, you’re fcked… You’re not supposed to wake up from deep sleep. [5]

Now, the idea of an alarm clock that only wakes you up from light sleep is clear: You shall feel fresh and ready to wake up.

I use the app Sleep Cycle on my phone and this works fine with me. The app does not only wake me up from light sleep but it also analyzes my sleep. Cool, right?

This is one of many things I do in order to wake up feeling totally refreshed, or better yet, ON FIRE!

Here’s the 3rd option:

Dawn simulator

Dawn simulating alarm clock

Sounds cool, huh?

Wake up from your very own SUNRISE…

Down simulators are alarms with lights that slowly and gradually brighten before your wake up time. They improve the quality of your sleep and let you feel awake when you wake up. [6] [7]

So, which option do you choose?

I recommend you try Sleep Cycle or another app that wakes you up from light sleep only. You’ll definitely benefit from that opposed to waking up to the most annoying sound ever: BEEP BEEP BEEP…

Okay, no annoying alarm clock.

And what about snoozing?


(NOTE: Do you want to fall asleep within a few minutes every night? Use this checklist which outlines the 4 steps I personally use as well. It's completely free for you to download.)



Lifestyle Sleep Killer #5
You Snooze, You Lose…

You snooze you lose

Damn it!

How attractive is that snooze button?

I used to be quite a snooze addict myself…

However, hitting snooze is probably the WORST thing you can do.

First of all, you don’t really get more sleep as this fragmented sleep isn’t restorative at all. [8]

Second, after hitting snooze you might go back into deep sleep, and when the alarm goes off you’re fcked once again. [9]

Third, fragmented sleep will only leave you more tired throughout the day.

And fourth, hitting snooze today will make you sleep worse tonight and you’ll want to hit snooze again tomorrow morning… A vicious cycle you definitely want to avoid.

In short: You snooze, you lose. So, when you wake up, get up immediately.


Lifestyle Sleep Killer #6
We Are Lazy Bastards…

We don’t move a lot…

Especially not first thing in the morning, right?

And here comes bad news:

The couch potato lifestyle is shit for our sleep…

Wah wah wah...

EXERCISE would be good for our sleep… [10]

Especially in the morning.

Exercise in the morning will help you start your day right and fall asleep at night. [11]

“But I hate breaking a sweat in the morning.”

Don’t worry, you don’t even need to sweat, you just need to MOVE YOUR ASS a bit:

  • Go for a walk (in the sun)
  • Do some jumping jacks
  • Do some stretching or yoga
  • Dance to Shut Up and Dance with Me or some other cool song
  • Do some pushups (maybe on your knees or against a wall)
  • Ride your bike along the shore
  • Make love with your spouse

There are endless possibilities for morning exercise. Some are exhausting, some aren’t. YOU CHOOSE.

And hey, doing 20 pushups doesn’t take long, so forget about the time argument…

Again: The lazy lifestyle does NOT support a good night’s sleep.


Lifestyle Sleep Killer #7
Late-Day Caffeine

Caffeine late in the day destroys our sleep

“Caffeine in the evening doesn’t affect my sleep.”

Well, that’s what my mum says. And that’s what many people say.

And here’s what I say: BULLSHIT!

According to the sleep doctor Dr. Michael Breus caffeine interferes with your sleep. [12] But you probably don’t realize it…

Even if you don’t feel that late-afternoon cup of coffee has a negative impact on your sleep, this study suggests that it is likely to be interfering nonetheless.
– Dr. Michael Breus

That’s the wicked part… you don’t realize it. So, you think despite the specialists’ recommendations of cutting caffeine late in the day that YOU ARE THE ONE who doesn’t get affected by caffeine…

Err WRONG.

Caffeine does interfere with your sleep. Period.

And caffeine takes ages to work through your body.

No kidding, the half-life of caffeine is 5 to 8 hours. So, let’s say 6 hours after a delicious cup of coffee there’s still have the substance in your system.

So even 6 hours after your last cup of coffee or tea or piece of chocolate you will sleep worse. [13]

Sleep specialist Dr. Michael J. Breus recommends having your last cup of coffee before 2 p.m. as it otherwise will interfere with a good night’s sleep. [14]

In short:

Coffee in the morning = Hallelujah

Coffee in the evening = No No

Guess what’s even worse than late-day coffee? Late-day energy drinks… They’re not only caffeinated but also sugareinated…

So, hands off these wing-promising drinks.

And what about booze?

Lifestyle Sleep Killer #8
Booze (Late in the Day)

“Give me a glass of red wine and I’ll sleep like a baby…”

Well, while you might fall asleep easier after some drinks, your sleep will be of poorer quality... [15]

And who wants that?

If you plan on drinking, do that in the early evening.

That was a quickie, right?

But there’s just no more to say: Alcohol before bed will make you sleep poorly.


Lifestyle Sleep Killer #9
No Carbs After 6 PM

Carbs after 6pm are good for sleep

*Sniff Sniff*

I smell BULLCRAP!

Oh yes. This “long thought to be true” myth is definitely BS.

Instead of eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” it should rather be the OPPOSITE

Writer, high priest of intermittent fasting, and founder of leangains.com, Martin Berkhan, puts the truth on the table. [16] He clearly states that for fat loss and a better body composition late night eating is superior to eating earlier in the day.

That kills the “carbs after dark make fat” myth.

“And what the heck has that to do with a good night’s sleep?”

Well, the cool thing is that carbs in the evening help you fall asleep faster. [17] This has to do with a boost in the brain chemicals tryptophan and serotonin which help you sleep.

In short: (Healthy) carbs at night help you lose fat and fall asleep faster.

And if you’re familiar with Nils’ and my way of eating, you know we eat carbs only in the evening. Check out Nils' article on our way of eating.

So trash the carbs after dark make fat myth

Apropos FAT… Check out the BONUS #10.


Bonus
Lifestyle Sleep Killer #10
Being Overweight

As if the obese don’t suffer enough…

But we all must be aware that being overweight does NOT support a good night’s sleep.

There are many studies that support that statement. [18] [19] [20]

Being overweight is not exactly a lifestyle choice but much more a result of our lifestyle.

A lifestyle of unhealthy eating habits.

We eat TOO MUCH CRAP.

Highly processed food is THE DEVIL.

However, this topic is way too big to discuss here now.

In a nutshell:

I recommend REAL FOOD with no unpronounceable ingredients. I know it’s not so easy as processed foods make us crave more, it makes our hormones go crazy, and it makes us sleep worse which again makes us crave more food… It’s a vicious cycle! [21] [22]

That’s it.

Let’s quickly sum it up.

Recap

Let’s run through the Lifestyle Sleep Killers again.

#1 Monday Jetlag: Be aware of the fact that having a different sleep/wake rhythm on the weekend will create a jetlag. So try to stick with your sleep/wake pattern 7 days a week.

#2 Late-Night Lightshow: Too much light exposure in the evening will make you sleep worse. Check out my article on that specific topic. Link

#3 Home – Car – Office – Car – Home: Go OUTSIDE and get some SUN EXPOSURE!

#4 The Most Annoying Alarm Clock: Get yourself a gentle alarm clock. I highly recommend the app Sleep Cycle.

#5 You Snooze, You Lose: Straightforward: Don’t SNOOZE.

#6 We Are Lazy Bastards: Move your ass throughout the day. Some exercise during the day will improve your sleep quality.

#7 Late-Day Caffeine: Say no to caffeinated drinks after 2pm.

#8 Booze (Late in the Day): Sad but true: Alcohol close before bedtime will disrupt your sleep…

#9 No Carbs After 6PM: This is BS. Healthy carbs after dark improve your sleep quality and even help you lose fat!

#10 Being Overweight: No surprise here. Weighing too much lets you sleep worse. This is a vicious cycle as little sleep will make you crave more… Eat as natural food as possible.

Cool.

I hope you've learned something.

NOW: Implement what you’ve just learned.

Don’t know how to get started?

Let Bruce Willis help you. (Watch out, he's got a WHIP...)

Let me know in the comment section what YOU struggle with.

Thank you.


(NOTE: Do you want to fall asleep within a few minutes every night? Use this checklist which outlines the 4 steps I personally use. You can get it for free here.)

Jonas Salzgeber

What's up? My name's Jonas. I'm Swiss (not Swedish). I'm a life enthusiast and I'm curious about everything that gives me an advantage, boost, level upgrade... "That drink will make me unbeatable? I'll down it!" Haha. My motto? Go to bed a little wiser every day & be the best version of yourself.

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