Highlights from : "Sleep Smarter" by Shawn Stevenson

1. Get more sunlight during the day. It may sound counter-intuitive that getting more sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night, but science has proven that this is precisely the case.

2.Avoid screens before bedtime. Cutting out some screen time at night is likely the number one thing you can do to improve your sleep quality immediately.

3. Two hours of computer screen time before bed was enough to significantly suppress people's nighttime of melatonin. When your melatonin secretion is thrown off, it will intrinsically throw-off your normal sleep cycle.

4. If you want to give your body the deep sleep it needs, make it a mandate to turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize.

5. Use a blue light blocker. Extenuating circumstances come up, and you may need to be on your computer later than you want.

6. Have a caffeine curfew. Set an unbreakable caffeine curfew to make sure your body has time to remove the majority of it from your system before bedtime. For most people, that's generally going to be before 2:00pm.

7. Keep Cool. Studies have found that the optimal room temperature for sleep is really quite cool at around 60 to 68F. Anything too far above or below this range will likely cause some difficulty sleeping.

8. Studies have shown that insomniacs tend to have a significantly warmer body temperature than normal right before bed.

9. Researchers found cooling caps allowed insomniacs to fall asleep in about 13 minutes compared with 16 minutes for the healthy control group. They also found insomnia slept for 89% of the time they were in bed, which was exact amount of time the healthy control group slept in bed.

10. If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm bath 1.5 to 2hrs before hitting the sack.  This may seem counter-intuitive, but while your core temperature will increase from the bath, it will fall accordingly and level out a little cooler right around the time you turn in for the night.

11. There are mattress pads you can use that may help regulate your body temperature.

12. You can literally get amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping at the right hours.  It's been shown that human beings get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10pm to 2pm. You get the most rejuvenating effects during this period, and any sleep that you get in addition is a nice bonus.

13. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has now classified overnight shift work as a Group 2A carcinogen. This means that staying up  late repeatedly, and working overnight is a strong enough cancer-causing agent to be lumped in with lead exposure and UVA radiation.

14. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who worked the overnight shift had a 30 percent greater incidence of breast cancer.

15. Just one night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin resistant as a person with type 2 diabetes, but extend that out to when you're not sleeping during the night at all, and you and diabetes will do more than just flirt with each other.

16. Fix your gut to fix your sleep. Upwards of 95% of your body's serotonin is located in your gut.  The obvious sleep connection is that serotonin is the building block for the "get-good-sleep" hormone, melatonin.

17. Incorporate magnesium-rich foods in your diet

18. It's a well-established fact that we sleep better in a dark environment, yet so many people aren't taking full advantage of this. Studies show that exposure to room light during usual hours of sleep suppresses melatonin levels by more than 50%.

19. Sleep experts suggest that your room be so dark that you can't see your hand in front of your face.

20. Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia discovered that even a simple nightlight could contribute to myopia in children and lead to significant vision problems later in life. The researchers found that 10 percent of children who slept in the dark ended up being nearsighted, while 34% of the children who slept with a nightlight and 55 percent of the childreen who slept in a lightened room developed nearsightedness.

21. Morning exercisers had up to 75 percent more time in reparative "deep sleep" stage at night than midday or night exercisers.

22. One of the big issues with working out late in the evening is that it significantly raises your core temperature, and it take upwards of 4 to 6 hours for your temperature to come down again.

23. Keep your bedroom reserved for sleep and sex.

24. Data show that children with televisions in their bedrooms score lower on school exams and are more likely to have sleep problems.

25. A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that 4 hours of wireless Internet-connected laptop exposure led to a significant decrease  in progressive sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.

26. Lose weight. People with a healthy weight show a 5% increase in cortisol levels after consuming a meal, while overweight and obese individuals' cortisol levels increased by a whopping 51%! The biggest issue is that cortisol is as close to an anti-sleep hormone as you can get.

27.Give your body a solid 90 minutes(more is better) before heading off to bed after eating. 

28. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published research showing that meditation is an effective treatment for insomnia.

29. One of the best times for meditation is when you're already close to the alpha and theta brain waves. This would be as soon as you wake up in the morning, or right before bed at night. As the American Academy of Sleep Medicine research showed, meditating in the morning is proven to help test subjects sleep at night.

30. Chamomile can be used as a mild sedative and sleep inducer.

31. The use of melatonin supplementation is that it can potentially down-regulate your body's natural ability to utilize melatonin on its own.

32. Going to sleep early and waking early syncs the body clock with the earth's natural circadian rhythms, which is more restorative than trying to sleep while the sun is up.

33. In 2008, a study from the University of North Texas found that students who identified themselves as morning people earned significantly higher grades. In fact, the early risers had  a full grade point higher than the night owls in the study with a 3.5 to 2.5 GPA respectively.

34. A comprehensive study conducted through the department of radiotherapy and oncology at San Gerardo Hospital in Monza, Italy, found that 60 percent of patients with sleep disorders had an improvement in sleep quality after at least 2 weeks of acupressure treatment.

35. A 2009 study found that women who slept in their bras had a 60 percent greater risk for developing breast cancer.

36. Oxytocin is a potent anti-stress hormone. It reduces the signs and symptoms of depression, combats the negative effects of cortisol, and helps regulate blood pressure. It's also been shown to decrease intestinal inflammation and improve gut motility as well. All the more  reason to get as close as possible (Oxytocin is released during skin to skin contact for example massage, sex, or simply cuddling).

37. Overwhelming research is mounting that shows the impressive benefits the earth's electromagnetic surface has on the human body. 

38. In a study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, researchers found that when test subjects were grounded, there was a "rapid activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and corresponding deactivation of the sympathetic nervous system".

39. Dr. Spencer is an Olympic athlete and 8 time Tour de France- winning team doctor and has been directly involved in more than 40 Olympic, World, National, or Tour de France Championships. He told me(author) that grounding technologies played a vital role in the success of his athletes. He found very quickly that earthing accelerated tissue repair and wound healing from injuries that athletes encountered during practice and competition. Among the benefits he also observed and reported from his patients: better sleep, less pain, more energy, and faster recovery.

40. "Grounding to the earth changes your physiology immediately. The more you ground, the more you can benefit because you are at your most natural electrical state when connected to the earth."  That said, even a minute is helpful, but the longer the better. I'd say to target a minimum of 10 minutes each day.