There was a famous quote out there a few years ago by a celebrity pop singer which said,
“Sleep is for people who are broke. I don’t need sleep.”
For many years, most “peak performing” individuals shared this notion. The less sleep, the more time to be productive, make things happen, ensure all of my dreams come true.
Someone from the Common Sense Department may respond to this idea by saying, “How can you ensure your dreams come true, if you don’t sleep and don’t have any dreams?”
However, over the last 5-10 years, more and more people have begun to turn towards more optimal health practices, like sleep, to improve their performance, rather than trying to continue burning at both ends.
This is a good thing! But, when you’ve eluded sleep for so long, it can be hard for your brain and body to know what to do when it’s time to hit the sheets.
Just like learning to dribble a basketball with the non-dominant hand or play the guitar, for some, sleep comes naturally, but for most… it takes a lot of work.
Here are a few simple ideas for improving your sleep:
- Consistent Sleep/Wake Cycle
I always like to say, “Consistent feedback provides consistent results.”
When you provide your body and brain with consistent feedback, it will begin to produce efficiently and effectively according to that feedback.
If the feedback is random, the results will follow suit.
Start by going to bed within the same hour each night. If you prefer to be in bed early, maybe try to shoot for a bedtime between 8:30 and 9:30. If you’d rather stay up later, maybe 10:30 and 11:30.
Once you have the bedtime dialed in, start applying the same principle to when you wake up in the morning.
…even on weekends.
Make sure to allow for at least 8 hours in bed. That doesn’t have to mean 8 full hours of sleep… just give yourself enough time in bed to at least get 6.5 hours of actual sleep.
When you go to sleep at around the same time, and wake up around the same time, every single day, your body develops a circadian rhythm.
Now, instead of tossing and turning in the night, your body has a built-in plan for how to sleep most efficiently, allowing for more sustainable energy and focus during the day.
- No Food Intake 3 Hours Prior to Bedtime
You might be thinking, “What does food have to do with my sleep?”
When you eat too close to bedtime, your body’s focus is on digestion, rather than restoration.
During the night, the body and brain work at the cellular level to clean the cells, restore broken down muscles, and flush out toxins in the brain.
When you eat right before bed, instead of working on the aforementioned task list, the brain and body are solely focused on digestion.
The problem with this is, now everything gets pushed back. You begin your deep sleep stage 2 hours after you’re supposed to, which causes you to only get a little bit of REM sleep.
Or, your heart is racing too fast to get the food digested so you stay in light sleep for the first half of the night and get zero deep sleep.
By backing that last meal or snack off by at least 3 hours, you are providing your body enough time to complete digestion, ensuring a restful and restorative night of sleep.
- Get a Tracking Device
If you’re not measuring, you’re guessing.
Just like you wouldn’t leave the success of your business or career up to guesswork, you do not want to leave your health to guess either.
Maybe you feel great every morning when you wake up. Great! But you don’t know whether that’s because you had quality sleep or if you just have a natural surge of cortisol around 6 am.
Either one could be true… but without some kind of wearable sleep measuring device, you simply do not know.
Or… maybe you’re the person who feels like you’ve been punched in the face repeatedly throughout the night when you wake up in the morning (author of this article slowly raises their hand…)
Wouldn’t you like to know why you don’t feel well? At least from a sleep architecture standpoint? I know it’s really helpful for me!
Whichever person you are, or even if you’re somewhere in between, using a wearable device to measure your sleep patterns is so valuable for grasping a better understanding of your unique sleep habits, your health, and your day-time performance.
A few devices I would recommend:
- Oura Ring (this is what we provide our Decode 2.0 and Sleep Blueprint clients)
- Fitbit Sense – accurate wrist-wearable device
- Apple Watch – accurate wrist-wearable device
Beyond these, you will need to do some research. These are the ones I have experience with.
Remember, at the end of the day, you are your business and your family’s number one asset. Not the bottom line, not how many deals you close, not how efficient your home runs… YOU!
Begin making daily deposits to improve your sleep by using the simple steps listed in this article.
I know you will love the results.
…and remember, sleep is for everyone. It is a gift. Use it.