Sleep. This has become a very touchy subject over the years.
How much do we need? How often do we need it?
In a world where being your own boss & entrepreneurship in general has become the cool thing to do, sleep deprivation has become very popular as well. We live in a go-go-go society where we hardly have any time to think. Let alone sleep.
As a society we’ve begun to correlate sleep deprivation to success. Sleep less, do more work. Tired? Drink another coffee & keep cranking away.
This may be true .. We may be able to do MORE work if we sacrifice sleep, but what about the quality of that work?
Our effectiveness decreases quite drastically the more we deprive ourselves of sleep. So we may be putting in more hours, but our quality of work is being sacrificed quite drastically. Seems kinda counterproductive if you ask me.
This is just one issue that stems from chronic sleep deprivation though.
As many of you know, i’m a huge fan of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. I’ve been listening to the show religiously since I was 17 years old. It has completely changed my life.
Joe has a range of interesting guests on the show. Last week he had Matthew Walker on the show, who is a neuroscientist. They spent a lot of time talking about sleep. It was a VERY eye opening conversation.
The downfalls of sleep deprivation run so much deeper than any of us could have ever imagined. It’s a lot more than just yawning a few more times throughout the day & having a cloudy brain at times. The benefits of quality sleep on a nightly basis were quite astounding as well.
Lets start with some of the negatives first ..
I don’t wanna go too in depth in this article, because I would be doing Matthew Walkers information an injustice, but here are just a few negative health implications that Walker listed. They range from a compromised immune system to excess junk food cravings to wild mood swings & even depleted hormone levels. Furthermore, chronic lack of sleep increases our chances of getting things like cancer, alzheimer’s, heart disease etc etc quite dramatically.
There are so many things that Walker discussed on the podcast that I would love to describe in this article, but as i’ve already mentioned, I would be doing his words an injustice. I will go ahead & link the full podcast at the end of this article. I highly recommend that you listen to it.
He also recently published a book titled, ‘Why We Sleep’. I have not yet read it myself, but after listening to the podcast i’m gonna have to pick it up.
Digging a little deeper though .. Let’s chat about a few of Walkers recommendations to increasing quality of sleep. Even if you’re in a place in life where extra sleep just isn’t an option for you, increasing quality of sleep will certainly help !! We can all benefit from these tips.
- Go to bed & wake up at the same time every day, even after a bad nights sleep or on the weekend.
- Keep your bedroom temperature cool; about 65 degrees fahrenheit is optimal for cooling your body towards sleep. Wear socks if your feet are cold.
- An hour before bedtime, dim the lights and turn off all screens.
- If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something quiet and relaxing until the urge to sleep returns.
- Avoid caffeine after 1pm & try to avoid going to bed tipsy. Alcohol is a sedative and sedation is not sleep. It also blocks your REM dream sleep, an important part of the sleep cycle.
- Something that has helped me a lot is meditation before bed. It seems to really help slow my brain down & quiet my thoughts.
This recent podcast with Walker hit home deeply with me.
Prior to moving to Indianapolis I was waking up @ 3am every morning in order to workout @ 4am. Meaning I had to go to sleep by 7pm in order to get eight hours of sleep. Which is pretty difficult to do if you have any sort of social life.
Over the past 4 months or so i’ve begun emphasizing my sleep more than ever though. I’ve allowed myself to push back my wake up time a few hours to allow myself to get a solid 7-9 hours per night. Every night.
The benefits have been astounding.
My cognitive function seems to have increased quite noticeably. When I wake up in the morning I feel much more refreshed. Ready to attack the day.
As a result, my productivity throughout the day has increased 10x. Although i’m sleeping a few more hours per night, i’m getting more QUALITY work done per day. I’m also getting more quantity of work done as well ironically. Double whammy.
The biggest difference that i’ve noticed with my body is my improvement in hormone levels. I’ve struggled with low testosterone levels a lot in the past. When I first got to Indy my levels were looooow. My sex drive was bare minimum.
Within a few months of getting my sleep in check, my testosterone levels have increased quite a bit. They feel like they’ve doubled over the past 3 months.
The more balanced out your hormone levels are, the more muscle mass you put on & the stronger you’ll get. The benefits of having proper testosterone & other hormones are endless.
I know what most of you’re thinking .. “I just don’t have any extra time to get more sleep”. This is likely true for some of you !! You may have a family, full time job & trying to get a side business going. You may need to sacrifice some sleep to make this happen.
BUT a number of you are just wasting time that could be spent getting some extra sleep. Which would in turn make you much more productive during the time that you’re awake.
As GaryVee says, “6-7-8 hours of sleep is the game, don’t get it twisted – it’s not how much you sleep it’s what u do when you’re awake.”
Those are just my thoughts on sleep .. I recommend that you take the time to listen to the Joe Rogan podcast that I mentioned prior. Matthew Walker drops a lot of science that was very eye opening.
Here’s a link .. (Joe Rogan & Matthew Walker)
Off to sleep !!
Until next time,