They happened to announce the results of the research some five minutes after I turned the TV on: 1 hour of extra sleep per night (from 6.5 hours to 7.5 hours) reduced the risk of heart disease, cancer and inflammation, while increasing the body's ability to recover from illness, injury and training, by switching on around 500 different genes.
Drinking Omega3 oil, adding vitamin-D, eating broccoli and using chili, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, curcumin etc certainly is good for you and reduces inflammation and shortens your recovery time, but it seems nothing is easier and better for you than sleping well, night after night.
Some check points for sleeping well (the usual ones, but they are worth repeating):
- Stop watching screens an hour before planned bed time. Don't use computers, phones or tablets for reading during that hour. I think Kindle Paperwhite is okay, but you should be careful with absorbing new and exciting information right before sleep. I guess it works for some and doesn't for others. There are page-turners that you just can't put down and there are sleep-inducers that actually help you fall asleep.
- Turn down the lights in the house well before going to bed. Use candles if you like (cozy, natural low light)
- Lower your general tempo, cadence. Write down anything you want to stop thinking about, as a list for tomorrow
- Synchronize with the sun. If you want to fall asleep early in the evening, make sure you get exposed to daylight early in the morning
- Keep your bedroom cool, silent and dark
- Sleep with your feet outside the covers and the bed, cold feet is a cue for sleep
- Make sure you have a comfortable bed (and hard enough)
- No TV. I can't believe I have to say this: no TV in the bedroom!
- If you can't fall asleep within 20-30 minutes, try one of these
- turn around in bed, switch sides from facing left to right or facing downward
- rotate in bed and put your head where your feet were
- get up and have a glass of lukewarm milk, the tryptophan can make you sleepy
- give up; rather than tossing and turning and lying awake for hours, give up, get up, change rooms, read a book sitting in a couch and pay attention to the next bout of sleepiness, or give up altoghether and skip sleep that night, go to the gym, for a run or to the office at 3 o'clock in the morning
- No coffee. If you still are having trouble sleeping, limit your daily caffeine intake to one standard cup or double espresso in the morning, no more, no later. Or give it up altoghether; become that de-caf guy.