Sleep is for the WEAK!
Fuck that. Sleep is non-negotiable.
It's "the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting in sports." - Matthew Walker
Listen to Walker break down some hard facts about sleep on the JRE Podcast.
QUICK AND DIRTY FACTS ON SLEEP
Short on time?
Here's some takeaways from the podcast...
- 1 out of every 2 Americans are sleep deprived.
- 1 out of every 3 Americans sleep 6 hours or less.
- Getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night increases athletes risk of injury by 60%.
- At 6 hours or less, per night, your time to exhaustion drops 30%.
- The less you sleep, the more lactic acid build up you have.
- Your lungs ability to expire carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen decreases the less you sleep.
- Just one night of less than 4 hours of sleep, can reduce anti-cancer fighting cells by 70% - which is one of the reasons insufficient sleep predicts cancer.
- During daylight savings in the spring, when we lose an hour of sleep, we see a rise in heart attacks by 24%.
- In the Fall, when we gain that hour back, there's a 21% decrease in heart attacks, which showcase sleep's effects on the cardiovascular system.
Bottom line: Get better sleep.
6 ACTIONABLE STEPS TO BETTER SLEEP
- Quality Matters
- Cut Blue Light
- Limit Caffeine
- Consistency Affects Sleep
- Train Hard
- Black It Out
1. QUALITY MATTERS
Adequate ‘quality’ sleep is essential for peak athletic performance yet it remains one of the most overlooked methods in an athletes toolbox.
One study discovered subjects that went 36 hours without sleep reduced work time to exhaustion by an average of 11% when compared to normal sleep.
Sleep deprivation clearly affects performance.
2. CUT BLUE LIGHT BEFORE BED
Research has found that exposure to excessive blue light from LEDs may suppress melatonin & affect our circadian rhythms.
In simple terms, put the phone away.
Don't scroll before bed, stop the games, plug it in and put it aside.
Specifically, 30-60 minutes prior to bed.
3. LIMIT CAFFEINE
If you're struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, take a look at your caffeine intake;
WHAT TIME ARE YOU CONSUMING CAFFEINE?
3pm or later?
Not ideal if you're trying to sleep better.
WHAT TYPES OF CAFFEINE ARE YOU DRINKING?
Tea? Coffee? Espresso? Energy Drinks? It matters.
If you're pounding energy drinks mid-day to early afternoon, replace it with tea or a cup of coffee.
Energy drinks can have upwards of 300mg of caffeine and if you're already having trouble sleeping, this is the nail in the coffin.
Stick with natural sources.
HOW MUCH ARE YOU TAKING IN?
If you're reading this, it's safe to assume you're struggling in the sleep department.
You're either a walking zombie or chugging coffee straight outta the pot to keep your eyes open.
Those of you who are the latter need caffeine intervention.
We're not saying to cut it out cold turkey, but start cutting back in increments and let your body adjust.
Ie. If you drink 4 cups a day, cut it to 3, then 2, then 1 and get some damn sleep.
4. CONSISTENCY IS ALWAYS KEY
A tale as old as time.
Start a sleep schedule and stick to it (even on the weekends).
If you wake at 6am during the work week, wake at 6am on the weekends, same goes for bed time.
Your body has a natural 24 hour cycle called circadian rhythms - they need consistency.
This will help your body adapt and help you wake feeling more rested.
5. TRAIN HARD
We’re preaching to the choir on this one, but it had to be said.
If you can't sleep, maybe you're body just isn't tired enough?
Train hard daily and your body will crave sleep to repair itself.
If you're training hard, daily, and still can't sleep, your problems are outta our wheelhouse. Listen to the podcast and maybe even send Matthew Walker an email for some advice.
6. BLACK IT OUT
No brainer here.
Create a sleep sanctuary by creating a dark, quiet, uninterrupted space.
If you share a room, get a good night mask.
If you live in a busy area or have loud roommates, get a noise machine that you agree with.
If you have kids, you're shit outta luck. Refer back to the previous 5 tips.
WE'LL LEAVE YOU WITH THIS...
"The number of people who can survive on six hours of sleep, without showing any impairment rounded to a whole number and expressed to a percent of the population, is ZERO." - Matthew Walker
Btw...Zinc helps you sleep. Figured we throw that out there.