February 19, 2024

Message Caterina Kostoula

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Where can we send your free guide?

Almost there! Please enter your email and click the button below to access the Let Go Of Everything That Does Not Align With Your Vision Guide and my weekly Life Vision newsletter.

Marketing by

Achieving The Best Sleep. The 10 Steps I Took To Revolutionise My Rest.

A reader reached out last week to ask me how I improved my sleep so much in 2023. I decided to share all the steps I took with you this week

My mission is to support you in living your vision; health and vitality are a massive part of it.

For many years in my twenties, I suffered from insomnia. Then I became a parent, and my kids would wake up several times per night for four years straight. I was exhausted.

When in 2023, I prioritized looking after my health, sleep was one of the key pillars.

I moved from a seasoned insomniac to what my Oura ring (a sleep tracker) calls sleep royalty.

How, you ask? Let me unpack all the steps I took.


1. Consistent bedtime

I established an early bedtime in 2020 when I had to wake up to write my book before “homeschooling” the kids during COVID.

It started as a necessity, but I loved it. It was easier to convince the kids to go to bed when I was going with them, too.

I enjoyed the “me” time early in the morning when I woke up before everyone else. I loved not needing an alarm clock.

I went to bed early, but not always.

In August 2023, I heard Bryan Johnson (a multimillionaire trying to reverse his ageing) say that he had a zero-exceptions policy to his early bedtime.

Most people say they prioritize their health, and they know how important sleep is.

But, we will sacrifice sleep for any excuse: a good movie, a night out, work, a good book, social media scrolling, or exercise.

In August, I committed to a no-exceptions early bedtime. And I kept my commitment to myself.

This means leaving early from a school meeting that is running late. This means the dates with my husband or friends are during the day. This means that I was not awake on New Year’s Eve when the year changed. No exceptions means no exceptions.

Even when I closed the cart for VisionPath last week, I did not do it at 23:59, as it is standard for the industry, but I closed it at 08:00 am! When I knew I could be awake:-)

I do not stay later at the weekends. I do not accumulate sleep debt because of social jetlag. I meet my friends for swims, hikes, walks and paddleboarding. I do not feel I miss out much by going to bed early. I just gain vitality.

I am in bed by 8:00 pm and fast asleep by 8:45. I wake up at 5:15 on average. If you are a night owl, your bedtime might be different. What matters is the consistency.

Consistency has been a game-changer for me.


2. Measurement

I bought an Oura ring to measure my sleep. I found it helpful.

First, I realized I slept better than I thought, which was huge. Most insomnia issues are caused by stressing about not sleeping enough and associating stress with sleep.

Oura also tells me why sometimes I am tired even if I have slept. It is usually due to my heart rate not having lowered enough during the night, usually when I have a late dinner.

Which is my next point.

3. Early dinner

If I want to sleep well, I need to leave at least two hours between dinner and bedtime.

I have seen in my Oura ring that I do not recover well after a late dinner. My heart works overtime to pump blood to send to my digestive system.

Also, I noticed when I wore a glucose monitor that my middle-of-the-night awakenings were caused by blood sugar crashes.

If I have a carb-loaded dinner, my blood glucose goes high. My body secretes tons of insulin to process all this glucose, leading to a sugar crash in a few hours.

When the glucose is really low, the body thinks it is in danger, so it wakes you up.

I cannot make an early dinner happen every evening. The good thing is that even if I am up in the middle of the night, I can afford it as I go to bed very early.

I can wake up at 2:00 am, read or write for an hour or two and then go back to sleep and still get enough ZZZs before I need to wake up for the school drop-off.


4. Dark and cool room

Making sure the room is dark and not too hot is essential. I had pitch-black blinds in London. Here in Costa Rica, I try to wear a mask.


5. No phones in the bedroom

I charge my phone in a different room overnight. I avoid blue light exposure before sleep. Also, electromagnetic radiation during my sleep. My Kindle is in aeroplane mode.

I have found that if my phone is near my bed, I will be tempted to wake up to be on it. These things are addictive!

I do not need an alarm due to my early bedtime, so phone in a different room it is.


6. Supplementation

My functional health practitioner prescribed magnesium and an herbal supplement that aids relaxation. It was a different supplement in London and now in America, but both had the usual suspects: ashwagandha, Rhodiola and L-Thianine.

I recommend working with a functional health practitioner for any supplementation protocol. Please do not email me asking me what supplements I take.

I thought I could do my supplementation protocol alone by reading medical studies, but the truth is I couldn’t. I was taking the wrong supplements, and my health suffered as a result. My supplementation protocol is based on my test results, and it is prescribed by an expert.


7. Regulating your circadian rhythm

One of the ways to regulate your circadian rhythm is to get sunlight and exercise early in the morning.

I am lucky that there is plenty of sunlight where I live now, but even in London, I would take a morning walk. It helped balance the hormones that regulated my circadian rhythm.


8. No alcohol

I know that you might resist this, but it is a fact. I noticed that alcohol messed up my sleep, so I let it go.
Our liver has too much work to do with all the toxins in our food and environment. Any extra work, like processing alcohol, can tip the scales against our health.


9. Naps

According to my Oura ring, I take a nap once every three days approximately (I took 28 naps last quarter). This is to complement my night sleep and also recharge me.

I will prioritize taking a nap if I feel my body needs it. I avoid having commitments like meetings during nap hours.
I love that since I moved to the Americas, I can have all my meetings in the morning. It was hard to do in Europe as I needed to meet my America-based clients in the afternoon.

10. Quieting the mind

I love reading my Kindle Paperwhite before going to sleep in the evening or chatting with my kids. When I go for a nap, I almost always listen to a podcast or a training.

This content consumption helps keep my mind occupied with something that is not stressful.

I make sure the content is not too stimulating; for example, I won’t listen to my favourite podcast as a lullaby, as it would keep me awake for sure.

What is also important here is not to make it a big deal when I have a bad night. It happens.

Hormone fluctuations. Trips. Too much excitement.

I know I have built so much buffer in the system to recover.

I go to bed 10 hours before I need to be awake so I can afford one or even two awakenings during the night.

I do not have any late-night commitments that will throw me off my schedule or not allow me to recover sleep the following night.

I can always take a nap the next day to compliment my sleep.

Sleep is something I enjoy, not something that causes me stress.


Conclusion

These were the 10 steps that turned me from an insomniac to sleep royalty.

When I realized that all my health and well-being depended on my sleep, it became a no-brainer to prioritize it.

With better sleep, I started having more fun.

When you are recharged and full of energy, you have fewer sugar cravings. You perform better at your workout. You can have more adventures.

You also perform better at work. We just wrapped up the best program launch in my company’s history for VisionPath.

Ironically, I am writing these lines at 02:00 am. I think the Valentine’s Day sweets I ate before bed caused me to have a sugar crash and awaken in the middle of the night.

I decided to take advantage of the awakening and finish my weekly letter to you.

I am sharing this to say that I am still human and will sometimes do things I know are not in my best interest, like eating a dessert right before bed.

But keeping the big things consistent, like the early bedtime and early sunlight, can help make up for mishaps. Now, I will leave you and get back to sleep.

Which strategy resonated with you the most?


Download my free guide with the 10 Powerful Mindset Shifts To Achieve Your Vision.

Discover:
What are the 10 telltale signs that you are living your vision?
What are the 3 things you might think you need for success but you really don’t.
The 10 mindset shifts all my clients who enjoy success in all areas of their lives have made.

Link here.