But First, Sleep
I know lack of sleep pretty well. Only one person I know knows it more than I do. My wife, Christine! We’ve had 14 years of four kids either sleeping in our bed or waking us up. You would think that we would have figured it out, but we still have a 5 year old that raids our bedroom every night. You might think it’s cute and cuddly like a puppy! Trust me, it’s not! Think more like hot and sticky, like a dirty dog that kicks you all night long! I sleep through it, but Christine has felt the effects of lack of sleep.
Here is what we know about sleep. It is one of the most fundamental requirements for basic human function and, when done right, good sleep becomes the pillar for optimal performance, weight loss, and balanced hormones.
So, before you start that fancy diet that you read about or the one that your cousin’s neighbor’s sister lost 10lb on in three days by juicing and detoxing, think about how much sleep you are getting. By the way, anyone who loses 10 lbs in anything less than six weeks will most likely put it back on, plus some. Remember weight loss habits have to be sustainable.
Now, I’m not going to make this crazy confusing. There is a lot of science out there that tells us how to sleep, how much sleep to get, what pills to take to get to sleep, and more. Here are the basics:
Everyone needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. We are all different, so some of us need more, but nobody needs less. If it’s anything less than 7 hours, most likely you can see some significant changes in body composition, energy levels, and performance by just sleeping more.
Here is a good way to know if you are getting enough sleep. You should wake up feeling good. What’s that mean? Try keeping a journal, either physically or mentally, that rates from 1-5 with 1 being very tired and 5 being ready to go. Try 14 days of getting 7 hours or more of sleep. You will likely notice that the more sleep you get over time, the higher your readiness score on your scale gets.
My go-to’s on how to fall asleep:
Sleep in a cold room - 72 degrees or cooler
Sleep in a dark room - blackout shades or eye mask
Do some foam rolling or mobility before bed as it helps shut the body down.
Shut off all screens at least 1 hour before bed or install blue light blockers on your screens. I use f.lux
If you need a sleep aid, try some melatonin. I only use this on nights that I can’t fall asleep or if I’m changing time zones. Take 3-5mg right before bedtime.
Sleep is one of the most basic functions that can make one of the most immediate and impactful changes in our health.