Behavioral Approach to Sleep

  • It has been reported that people that deal with disordered sleep have lost their confidence on being able to sleep, and they have negative thoughts about how they are unable to sleep.
    • “If I do not get 8 hours of sleep, I won’t be able to function tomorrow” and it perpetuates negative thoughts and they get stuck in this cycle. Any negative thoughts at the time of sleep will work against you as it will lead to a higher brain metabolism
  • Prioritize sleep and understand how sleep effectiveness can help your health and fitness goals
    • As mentioned last week sleep has a profound effect on oxygen consumption, peak levels of strength, and a major stress management tool
  • Stimulus control 
    • Being able to sleep, comes down to how strong your association is with your bedroom.
      Stimulus control comes down to association and it is about making your bed and your bedroom as powerful of a sleep trigger as possible. You find that most people are doing way too many things in their bedroom that are not sleep and especially around the time of sleep.
    • Performing activities in bedroom that are not sleep.
    • Only go to bed when you are very sleepy i.e. example with eating and nutrition: Most of us do not sit at the dining room table if we are not eating -->Only go to bed when you are actually sleepy.
    • Create a powerful association to a point where once your head hits the pillow you are asleep
    • Brain is very associative therefore if you want to be successful with your sleep you want to make sure that the association between your bedroom and your sleep is powerful.
      • What do you do when you can’t sleep?
        • Get out of bed and bedroom
        • You can’t will yourself to sleep – try the 20/20 rule. If you spent 20 minutes trying to sleep, then get out of the bedroom for 20 minutes before you go back to bed.
  • Sleep loss or struggle due to travel, different time zones etc.
    • When it gets out of sync with the new time at your destination, you can have trouble falling asleep when you need to and feeling rested. Sleep problems tend to be more common when people travel eastward because it's harder to advance your sleep time than to delay it. Reorganize your schedule to allow for a smooth transition to the new timezone. Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock.​​​

Stress Management

Practice Mindfulness

Definition of mindfulness: A translation of the Sanskrit word smirti, which means to remember. The essence of mindfulness is to remember to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment/to remember what we are doing while we are doing it.

Practice Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing – is one of the best ways to relax your body and calm your mind, all while improving your sense of well-being. Diaphragmatic Breathing has been reported to enhance the mental and the physical aspects of one’s health and well-being.

The diaphragm muscle not only plays a role in respiration but also has many roles affecting the health of the body. It is important for posture, for proper organ function, and for the pelvis and floor of the mouth. It is important for the cervical spine and trigeminal system, as well as for the thoracic outlet. It is also of vital importance in the vascular and lymphatic systems. The diaphragm muscle should not be seen as a segment but as part of a body system.

Breathing apically, or with upper chest and neck musculature, can lead to many physiological and structural changes that can negatively influence a person’s spinal column and pelvic positioning and resulting soft tissue attachments i.e. increased soft tissue restriction, weakness, lumbar spine lordosis, increased anterior pelvic tilt or elevate rib position, injuries occur due to a weak link in the kinetic chain.

You want to be the guy on the far left. Breathe into your belly and push the air down towards your pelvic floor to create stiffness in the core.

​Light/Darkness – Go for a walk early in the morning (post sunrise) or exercise outdoors to start out your day. Exposure to sunlight will send signals to your internal clocks which in turn will activate a plethora of hormones to regulate many of the body's functions, including growth and development, metabolism, electrolyte balances, and reproduction.

Regular Sleep and Wake time – Stay consistent with your sleep based on your chronotype (see Chronotype PDF attached)

Consider time restricted windows – confined feeding to a defined period, leaving short periods of fasting that coincide with sleep i.e. 9am to 7pm (10-hour window) can be helpful as long as your schedule allows.

Regular Exercise – Benefits of regular exercise indoor and outdoor have been long supported for health and longevity. Exercise can help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality, decreasing sleep interruptions through the night.

Temperature – As night falls, melatonin is released (by the pineal gland) and helps the body to lose heat. When we settle into our beds, our body temperature starts to decrease even more rapidly, to a degree or two colder than compared to daytime. This change in temperature helps to speed up the onset of sleep. Keep the temperature on your bedroom slightly lower for better sleep.

Quality sleep is essential for optimal health and well-being. Optimal health and well-being lead to happiness, increased productivity and development. Take care of your body, take care of your mind, take care of your sleep.

Circadian Rhythm Entrainment

Circadian rhythms are a fundamental adaptation of living cells to the daily and seasonal fluctuation in light and temperature. Circadian oscillations persist in constant conditions; however, they are also phase-adjusted (entrained) by day-night cycles. Synchronization of circadian oscillators with the outside world is achieved because light, temperature, or other external temporal cues, have acute effects on the levels of one or more of the clock's components.

Cognitive Restructuring

​Cognitive restructuring is a process of learning to identify and dispute irrational or maladaptive thoughts known as cognitive distortions, such as all-or-nothing thinking, magnification, and emotional reasoning, which are commonly associated with disordered sleeping.

One of the reasonings why cognitive restructuring works is because people get to express their thoughts and emotions which can be helpful especially if this person has not discussed those thoughts with other individuals.

  • ​Caffeine
    • The magnitude of reduction in total sleep time (post caffeine consumption) suggests that caffeine taken 6 hours before bedtime has important disruptive effects on sleep and provides empirical support for sleep hygiene recommendations to refrain from substantial caffeine use for a minimum of 6 hours prior to bedtime. Advice: Caffeine in the morning time only.

  • Exercise
    • Try to limit the amount of exercise before going to bed. Exercising outdoors during the day has many beneficial effects that carry over to sleep health. However, if strenuous exercise is performed at nighttime and the core temperature stays elevated it can very well affect your ability to fall asleep. Advice: Exercise during the day and try to keep it on a consistent schedule.​


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Here is how to cognitive restructuring works:

Write out all negative sleep thoughts that you may have towards sleep.
 “Seeing” thoughts and emotions can be helpful before proceeding to a self-critique assessment. Self-critique simply means the ability to judge a thought by how true or false it may be.
Once people see what their thoughts are, they are more open to change
“Yes, this thought is probably not true”; “That’s probably a little bit dramatic”.
Coaches can be helpful in certain cases with individuals that may have lower thresholds of stress and/or individuals who have experienced stress for a longer time and may have a higher resistance and less flexibility with their thoughts.

Practice writing thoughts in a positive way. State your thoughts in a positive manner for positive affirmation. Make this new perception your new norm. ​


  • Minimizing screen time at night
    • Smart phones were designed to make us more productive and our lives easier. They’re designed to entertain us and provide information. But when it’s time to turn off the lights and go to sleep, the last thing our brain needs is more information and more entertainment. Checking your phone stimulates the brain so we are more active and awake during a time when we should be clocking out.
    • The blue light from the screen suppresses melatonin – The blue light from your phone is an artificial color that mimics daylight. Melatonin is a hormone responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle. When your body runs low on it, you can experience insomnia, tiredness during the day and irritability. Advice: Finish your phone business at least 1 hour before going to bed.

Strategies to better sleep

The primary purpose of the strategies, thoughts and suggestions presented in this document is to educate and inform and does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.Type your paragraph here.

Hierarchy of Sleep Optimization

This hierarchy was put in place to guide and give you a structure of things you could do to increase your sleep health. Information presented in this email follows that of the hierarchy where the most focus is placed upon the foundation and framework “Behaviors” and concluded at the top with “Lifestyle” factors.