by Coach Chris Lofland
People wear it like a badge of honor, almost bragging about it…."Pfff, I don’t need much sleep. I function just fine on 4-5 hrs. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
These people are wrong
Sleep deprivation is a serious thing and you should be taking it seriously. You’re not being lazy or less productive if you sleep more, and we really need to leave that mindset behind. Sleep deprivation has been linked to (here we go...and this is the short list): Memory Loss, Compromised Immune System, Junk Food Cravings, Mood Swings, Depression, Anxiety, Increased Stress, Chronic Pain, Increase Risk of; Diabetes, Stroke, Alzheimer's, Heart Attack and more….
Literally, almost everything gets better and functions better with more sleep (body and mind). Also, almost everything is worse with a lack of sleep. Less than seven hours and you are getting worse at living. Eight hours and you are maintaining living. Nine to 10 hours and you are getting younger (basically you have a superpower!)
One of the first things coaches do for Olympic Athletes is develop their sleep (9-10 hours) because it has the highest impact on increasing performance. Not training them more or harder, but just sleep more and better.
Okay, sorry. Here is a list of things you can implement today to start getting longer and better sleep. Keep in mind this won’t change overnight (haha). You’ll have to stay consistent to reset a lot of your messed up patterns and hormones. But if you stick with it you will adapt and reap the benefits!
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. Even on the weekends.
- Keep your bedroom cool. About 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Avoid caffeine after 1:00 PM.
- Don’t go to bed “tipsy.” Alcohol is a sedative and sedation is not the same as sleep.
- Create a “getting ready for bed routine” and stick with it. (Bath, brush teeth, read for a bit…every night). This will help your body naturally “wind down” for bed.
- Avoid light. Put away tablets and phones and make your room dark about an hour before you go to sleep.
If you are interested in learning more from someone that has a lot more credibility than me on this subject, check out Matthew Walker’s book, “Why We Sleep.”