Nothing works until you finally decide to sleep properly.

Our current lives are very busy, I understand. Finding the time to fit in 7-8 hours of sleep is hard. Not only that, it’s a struggle to fall asleep in less than 10 minutes and also feel energized whenever we wake up.

It’s sad, but a fact: so many people are out there using pills to knock themselves out to sleep 4-5 hours, and consequently feel unrested when they wake up.

Sadly, this has become the norm when it shouldn’t be. For those of us who are looking for a higher quality of life, we understand that sleep is a very big component. We must sleep enough, we must fall asleep easily, we must not wake up multiple times during the night, and we must wake up feeling ready and energized.

“What about everyone online, those friends of mine that are crushing life, those who are sleeping four hours a night?”

In rare cases, a rare gene mutation (ADRB1) causes some Homo Sapiens to need less sleep.

Again, that is rare. Evolution brought us here. Unless some of us find that we have that gene, the need for sleep is as real as pooping.

Let’s tackle the issue in the following order:

  1. The Science

  2. The Lifestyle

  3. The Chronic Stress

  4. The Tools

The Science

Many 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. Sleep regulates your metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

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 negatively change blood biomarkers drastically. Another study showed a decrease of 10-20% in testosterone levels of healthy men. Want to get stronger, but not sleeping enough?

The Lifestyle

We want to be very objective in how we look at our current situation. If we can’t get enough sleep because we just had a baby, experience trauma, or because we are dealing with health issues - sleeping 8 hours might be a bit tough. So let’s not knock ourselves down with opinions about our present conditions. Let’s just do our best effort. Like the Stoics, we should only think about what lies within our control, everything else doesn’t matter much.

The Cycles

Have you heard of sleep cycles? REM and DEEP waves?

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.

Typically, waking up in the middle of a wave, makes one feel groggy. Test it.

The Chronic Stress

Being chronically stressed without effective downregulation practice impairs our HPA axis, thyroid, and sex hormones.

Remember, our body is a complex system. Messing with one will lead to a negative consequence in another area.

Cortisol and adrenaline help us use body fat as energy. But when we keep them elevated for long periods of time, we might mess with their natural diurnal flow. Ideally, these hormones are high when we wake up, and they lower as the day goes by.

Chronic stress keeps them elevated through the day (which also inverts the diurnal cycle. Note: this is a complex topic that we are trying to summarize here because not everyone is well versed in the endocrine system), making it hard to relax and fall asleep at night.

The Tools