Let's get one thing straight, sleep is the most under-valued, overlooked component of ones lifestyle that can quite possibly affect it the most. Per Kelly Starrett (Mobilitywod.com), I believe he's said that if we are getting anything less than 8 hours of sleep, we're at a 20% loss of immune function. Sounds awesome. Don't expect to be very productive that day or expect much out of your performance. Now, there are some of you out there saying "Well, I live off of 4-6 hours of sleep and do just fine!" I'm sure you think you do, but you may also have a ticking time bomb waiting to explode on the inside. Our bodies are made to rest at sunset and awake at sunrise. Our cortisol levels are supposed to be high in the mornings to allow for alertness, functionality and performance and low during the night to allow for proper rest from the days events. We should be able to sleep restfully at night, allowing ample amounts of melatonin to take us into dreamland, rather than supplementing with sleeping aids to do the trick. If this sounds like you, messing with the natural processes of the body, then you may be flirting with a lot more than you think.
Take 20 minutes of your day to watch this, trust me, it's worth it:
Let's talk about how lack of sleep can affect performance. Want to feel like crap? Try waking up for a 5am class on 4-6 hours of sleep. Now add high intensity exercise. Doesn't feel good does it? Performance sucked? Bar just wouldn't budge? Hard to breathe? Yeah, must have been one of those days right? Everyone has them. Yeah, it definitely wasn't the 7 episodes of LOST you watched right before bed or the extra hours you stayed up perusing your social medias. Let's be real, the dumb stuff you're doing before bed IS affecting your sleep, plain and simple. The bedroom is made for rest and reproduction, that is all. No TV's, no computers, no blinking lights or LED's, nothing but complete darkness. Here are a few "low hanging fruit" recommendations on how you can improve your sleep immediately.
1)No TV, lap-tops, cell-phones, Ipods, Ipads, Kindles, or any bright lit screens 60-120 minutes before bed
It's called a technology detox but there should be a 60-120 minute grace period where none of the above should be in front of your face prior to getting into bed. The blue and green lights from these devices can affect our eyes and hormonal responses that are crucial in preparing us for a restful state.
1A)Remove any of the above from your bedroom
This also applies to any blinking lights or LED's from a smoke detector, cable box, WiFi box, alarm clock, or even your cell phone. Everything affects something and the smallest of any protruding light can disrupt your slumber or prevent it from happening. Remember "the bedroom is made for rest and reproduction, that is all".
2). Black out curtains on windows
This applies to the same concept of artificial light but you want zero light exposure when your body is resting. That means the occasional motion censored lamp outside your window or the street light peering in from a crevice of your blinds can have an affect on your slumber. Get some super dark curtains and put those bad boys up, shit even foil and masking tape will work. Imagine a very dark cave and you are the bear. Replicate
3). Supplementation Just one of Magnesium's many benefits is right before bed. Magnesium has been known to enhance the recovery process by relaxing and calming the muscles, preparing the body for a more restful state of sleep. Pure Pharma makes a top-notch product that I've taken forever and lucky for you we carry their products here at Behemoth. Another good brand is "Calm" that you can get on Amazon or at your local Sprouts or HEB.
4). Loud, obnoxious alarm clocks
No one enjoys waking from a deep sleep to the sound of an Iphone's loud ass radioactive ringtone. To be honest, its not enjoyable and at times can be quite infuriating. Loud and annoying alarm clocks mess up our circadian rhythms and rudely wake us from a deep REM sleep. Try an alarm clock that is a bit more soothing and progressive or in a perfect world, no alarm clock at all! I know the Iphone has plenty of applications like that now-a-days, I actually use one called Sleep Time, it's 99 cents and although it's not perfect, it's much better than waking up to noises that make me want to break things.
Also, we are made to naturally awaken with the rising of the sun, not necessarily with lamps and ceiling lights that, upon waking, put us into a really shitty mood. There is a product that Aryan owns that's a 30 minute brightening light simulating a natural sunrise. Once reaching 30 minutes the most beautiful sound of chirping birds begins softly and builds allowing you to wake up without wanting to reach for a weapon. I think it runs around 100$, maybe a bit expensive, but how important is your sleep to you? There are a variety of products out there but the natural progression of light is a pretty cool concept that may be able to help with waking more peacefully.
All in all, fixing your sleep will help improve EVERYTHING and it is one that is in our absolute control to fix. Be honest with yourself and Stop working on your laptop a few hours before bed, no late night texting, twittering or instagraming and just turn the damn TV off. It's that simple. Our sleep is of upmost importance to our overall health and well-being. If we want to improve EVERYTHING in our lives, then we MUST sleep more. It may take some time of tossing and turning at 9pm in your bed, but you have to be consistent and you have to start somewhere. Just think how difficult it is to break any long term habit. Its tough because it doesn't happen over night, it takes time. Stay committed to improving your sleep if you know it's something that can be better. If you want to look better, feel better, perform better and put yourself at least risk of injury and illness, rest more. Its that simple.