Why The Eight Hours You Sleep Matter Most
If you feel like you are never waking up rested, or if you cannot seem to make it through your day without some hair falling out, or that the inertia of this moment isn’t helping you gain momentum, or that you just aren’t inspired by the people with you in your life, or you feel like your body doesn’t self-heal itself quickly, then this is for you:
THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP
Sleep, after a head injury, is always finicky. Either you are sleeping 18 hours to let your brain recover, or you are not sleeping at all. I developed a healthy fear for the night-time on the days I knew my brain wouldn’t be able to sleep. Fearing Sleep Was Awful.
We Spend Around 33% of our earth-time asleep and with our eyes closed. We NEED sleep. And while most of the LifeHacks in our world involve what we do when we are awake, I would actually argue that these 8 hours set up the rest of the 16.
You know how not getting enough sleep affects the rest of your day? By setting up a foundation of great sleep, you give yourself a better chance to be more productive daily, yearly and over a lifetime. 20 minutes of better sleep a night is the equivalent to 219,000 minutes over a 30 year span.
Literally, this could be the difference between getting the life you wanted and reaching your goals, or snoozing them away….
- GET A (FREE) SLEEP TRACKER: “Anything that doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get changed.” Get one here — and take ONE week doing nothing, just tracking it, and seeing how you are actually sleeping. If you are getting between 7–9 hours of sleep and 1.5–2.0 hours of restorative sleep per night on average, then CONGRATULATIONS! Sleep is probably not your problem.
- EXPERIMENT: Now, it’s time to figure out what works for YOU (yes, you!). Start with one change at a time, measure it, and see the changes.
- CAFFEINE: Don’t start by giving up coffee completely, that’s how we fail at habits. Start by having your last coffee by 10am, so it’s mostly out of your system by 10pm. Now, track your sleep again, and see if your restorative sleep number improves. I’m 100% decaf now because it affected me so much.
- EXERCISE: See if you sleep better on the days that you do more exercise than normal, and if that is the case, then you may have found your trigger to better snooze-time. The days that I get around 10,000 steps, do a Nike Fit Gym session outside, or do yoga, I tend to sleep better.
- AMISH HOUR: The hour before bed, try doing it without a screen. Around the board, in all age groups, you will probably see an improvement in your sleep. Without your mind being stimulated like it would when playing a slot machine, you allow it permission to slow down, soften and relax.
- DIET: 3 things to try here — 1) eating 3 or more hours before bedtime, 2) how alcohol (or other drugs) affect you before snoozing and 3) Sugar — this is regularly known to induce nightmares, so avoiding this may help you sleep better just due to better dreams.
- SLEEP AIDS: If you snore, you may not be getting enough air. Trying nasal strips would help here. So would a great eye mask.
- SUPPLEMENTS: Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters and get them ready for slumber. I take one most nights and see a healthy uptick in my actual REM sleep.
Sleep is Wellness:
Sleep is the newest frontier of research, and with good rights. Start by tracking your sleep and seeing if you are getting enough — then see what works and what doesn’t. I’d say the biggest changes I saw during my recover was the Amish Hour, Magnesium Supplements and Choosing My Evening Meals Carefully. Your mileage may vary, but the point is to find something that works for you. Good luck, and…. good night!