This sleep guide is courtesy of Crazy Muscle
This guide was made to help you live healthier and longer. Oh, and get more sleep too! I’ve asked so many customers what their single biggest struggle was and it wasn’t diet, it wasn’t exercise. It was not getting enough sleep. Can you relate? I know, I sure can.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been trained by one of the top productivity / performance coaches in the world and have read countless articles and studies about sleep. I’ll spare you the science-y talk and share with you everything I’ve learned and some ways to get better sleep starting TONIGHT!
Here are some of the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons why bad sleep should be avoided at all costs.
BURN MORE FAT
There are tons of studies out there supporting this in all sorts of angles, but here’s the main point. A combination of the wrong hormones and a lack of productivity contribute in less motivation to get your butt into the gym or be mindful of what you shove into your mouth.
There’s a hormone called ‘ghrelin’ that makes you hungry. Another hormone called ‘leptin’ suppresses appetite.
More sleep = more leptin = GOOD.
Less sleep = more ghrelin = BAD.
Probably obvious by this point, but those who sleep more tend to eat less calories than those who sleep less and munch on processed snacks all day.
I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘melatonin’. You know, the hormone that your brain releases to help you fall asleep. The cool thing about melatonin that most people don’t know (myself included) was that it plays a strong role in growth hormone (GH) secretion. In fact, your system will get flooded with GH, which will help your body repair the damage and stress caused by your epic workouts.
What’s even cooler is that your muscles will also bulk up more to compensate for the next epic workout because well…that’s just how the body works.
KICK ASS AT WORK
Abraham Maslow is famous for developing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
In a nutshell, humans have basic psychological needs (air, food, water, sex, sleep), safety needs (employment, health, property) and love/belonging needs (friends, family, significant other).
Once you have these 3 satisfied, a need for esteem is desired in the form of confidence, achievement, respect and other traits you might think of about what would make your co-workers like you and be impressed by you. Self-actualization is a need that naturally comes after you have the respect and confidence that you truly are an expert at what you do.
Notice that sleep (physiological) is the bedrock of your hierarchy of needs?
Each layer of the pyramid is meant to be like levels in a video game. You start at the bottom and only once you’ve mastered that level can you progress to the next.
I know a lot of us want to become experts in our respective fields or gain the skills to get into a different field.
Regardless of whatever you desire, you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep to maximize your problem solving skills and improve your memory.
One of the most famous examples of this was a study done on medical interns. The researchers found that the interns who were allowed more sleep made 36% less serious medical errors.
High blood pressure.
Type 2 diabetes.
Pretty heavy topic, but I think you get the idea of the magnitude of what bad sleep habits can eventually have.
FAQS ABOUT SLEEP
Is there an optimal time range that produces the most efficient/effective sleep?
● Most researchers have found that 7 – 9 hours is a good amount, but ultimately this exact number depends on you. For me, I tested various sleep durations and sleep times making sure to document my performance output. I found that I am most productive when I sleep 6 hours at 9:30 PM with a 1 hour afternoon nap at 1 PM.
How much sleep do you really need?
● Robert Oexman, DC, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, Missouri says it best. ”When you can wake up easily in the morning and stay alert throughout the day, you’re getting enough sleep. For most people, a healthy amount of sleep is seven to nine hours a night.”
Is it better to sacrifice sleep to exercise?
● Definitely not! If you have a chance to get an extra hour of necessary sleep versus waking up early to go exercise, always choose the extra hour of sleep to allow your body to continue repairing itself.
How do you fall asleep faster?
● In the most simplest way, go to sleep at the same time every day, don’t get stressed out at night and refrain from watching tv or your phone right before bed. Here are some of the actual strategies I’ve used to become an expert sleeper.
ACTIONABLE WAYS TO GET BETTER SLEEP
Establish a night time routine and stick to it.
One of the many things I’ve learned after having kids is how important routines are. Normal routines bring comfort and relaxation to the child’s mind and as a result, they fall asleep very quickly.
Deviate from the routine EVEN A LITTLE BIT (brushing teeth before books instead of books before brushing teeth) and that causes stress, which elevates cortisol. Melatonin is released once cortisol levels decrease.
Nice thing about being a kid is that you don’t have a deadline at work or dealing with an unexpected expense.
As adults, we have way too many things we worry over right before bed.
Here’s how I don’t let stress into my night time routine:
1. Fill up my 40 oz CamelBak vacuum-insulated water bottle.
2. Go around the house and make sure all windows and doors are shut/locked.
3. Take 10 minutes to write down my biggest priorities to tackle the next day on my white board.
4. In front of the bathroom mirror, I take 5 minutes to stare at myself and say what I’m thankful for.
5. Floss, brush my teeth and wash my face.
6. Put on a fresh pair of Nike shorts and a clean Crazy Muscle dri-fit shirt (I work out in the mornings).
7. Read a book for 30 minutes with a halogen bedside lamp with a dimmer.
8. 10 minute relaxation meditation exercise.
9. Fall asleep within 1 minute.
In total, my night time routine takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, but think about all the stuff I get done in that time. I know a lot of people that sit in bed for that much time trying to just fall asleep.
It’s important to start your night time routine at the same time every night. For me, I wake up at 3:30am. I’ve learned that my optimal sleep is 6 hours at night with a 1 hour nap in the afternoon. I worked backwards to figure out that I need to start my night time routine at 8:15pm (which is when my oldest daughter goes down).
Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed and write shit down.
One of the biggest hurdles I had to face when I started my sleep training was lying in bed and fighting through the sea of thoughts that would constantly pop up.
David Allen wrote a book called “Getting Things Done” and one of the major points from the book was that getting things written down will clear your mind so you can focus on the important tasks at hand.
I believe the same goes for sleep. If you are preoccupied with a bunch of thoughts, write everything out and forget about it.
Use blackout curtains or a sleep mask to make sure your brain knows it’s time to sleep.
Lights are the enemy when it comes to getting good sleep because it typically signals to the brain that it’s time to wake up. Another reminder why you shouldn’t be staring at your phone or watching TV in bed.
I’ll be honest…both take a bit of time getting used to, but the payoff is worth their weight in gold.
Take an afternoon nap and no, I’m not kidding.
Believe me, I was the biggest skeptic of this idea when my performance coach suggested it.
I understand that my situation might be a bit different because I am the owner of the company so technically, I can take as many naps as I want and not get in too much trouble. 🙂
If you have a boss, hopefully these points can help you convince them to let you improve your productivity by taking an afternoon nap.
NASA did a study and found that a 26 minute nap could boost your productivity by roughly 34%. There have also been studies done that have shown that $150 billion (with a ‘B’) is being wasted due to lost productivity.
Presidents, superstar athletes and even the great Albert Einstein were known for taking afternoon naps.
Prime nap time ranges from 1 PM – 3 PM. The “after-lunch lull” you feel is not because of your food, it’s biological.
Get it in your calendar and set an alert for it. My calendar is literally stacked from top to bottom with everything I need to do that day.
Common example is waking up earlier. It would make sense to sleep earlier right? If you’re waking up at 7 am now, schedule your bedtime for 11 pm so that you wake up at 6 am. Try to shoot for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.
Most people tend to waste time late at night and get shit done in the morning. Taking an hour out of your unproductive time and adding it to your productive time is one way to “buy” time.
Do not look at screens 30 minutes prior to bedtime because a lot of modern devices are now utilizing LED lighting technology.
This is great for many reasons. It saves energy, the light output is stronger and you don’t need to replace the bulbs as often.
While this is really good stuff, the blue light wavelengths that are produced by LED lights are the silent killer when it comes to your sleep.
These lights boost your attention and suppress the natural wind-down process your body goes through when the sun sets.
Here are 3 things you can do to sleep better:
1. Turn on Night Shift on your iPhone or get this app for Android phones.
2. Get Flux for your computer.
3. Keep your phone out of your bedroom and read before you sleep.
If you are thinking “but I use my phone as an alarm clock”. Go buy a damn alarm clock! 😉
Pull out your wallet and invest in a good pillow and if you can, the mattress.
Professional singers don’t go to Walmart to outfit their studio nor do professional catcher go to Play it Again.
Sports to buy shin guards.
If you want to take your sleep to the next level and improve every aspect of your life, I would strongly recommend investing in a super high quality pillow and mattress.