The single greatest tool you will find is your bed.
You are probably a killer and know how important getting good quality sleep is. You probably also notice the difference in a single day on how having a bit of sleep deprivation destroys your routines.
The goal with this little post is to explain how sleep works, and what tools you can start using to start owning the sleep game.
Sleep 101, why is it important?
There is a lot of research out there supporting sleep (obviously), with infinite benefits. Here are some of them:
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, by not allowing your body to reduce inflammation levels. Another study showed that sleep also played a big role in fat loss, people who were well-rested lost more than 50% of fat when compared to those that had sleep deprivation.
Lack of sleep makes training harder too, a study showed that it depresses our thermoregulatory system by reducing our ability to sweat during exercise. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to change blood biomarkers drastically.
Sleep matters, right?
How many hours should you be getting?
When scheduling your sleep, think of it as going through waves. Each wave is around 90 minutes long, where your brain transitions between different stages (REM, light sleep and deep sleep)
The key is to schedule your sleep so you wake up at the end of your last wave, that is why we have been told to sleep 8 hrs, approximately 30 min to fall asleep and then 5 complete waves of 90 minutes, totaling 7 hrs and 30 min.
Here are the top 5 sleep tools that were my game-changers:
-The first one is scheduling and fixing your routines.
Pick a time that works for you, and make sure you are in bed by that time. Start your pre-bed routine 10 to 20 minutes before your desired time and make sure it is something you can do every night.
Example: turn off the TV, go out and read fiction, brush your teeth, go to bed. Or, brush your teeth, take the dog out, drink tea, meditate, go to bed.
Once it becomes routine, whenever you start it, it will be a behavior your brain will recognize as getting ready to turn off you will start falling asleep faster by signaling specific neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in down-regulation.
This is really important. You want data on what is working and how is it working. Getting good amounts of sleep is college football, getting good quality sleep is Pro Football. You want to track your sleep because you want to make sure your sleep practice is working ( routines and tools) and that you are getting good quality as well.
Good quality sleep means, feeling rested when you wake up, and not waking up in the middle of the night multiple times.