30 Day Nutrition Challenge 6: Sweet Dreams
Sleep is really important and if you don’t get enough it’s actually really bad for you.
Granted, some people do have a rare genetic mutation that means they can thrive on only 4 hours sleep, Margaret Thatcher was famous for only sleeping 4 hours per night. Kevin seems to be one of those mutants. Personally, if I only had 4 hours sleep each night I would quickly become a homicidal maniac, like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.
Research shows that if you get less than 6 hours sleep a night you dramatically increase your chances of an early death. Sleep repairs your body, it regulates your hormones, it’s really good for your mental health and, importantly for this group, it helps you to lose weight.
Poor sleep means that it’s harder to resist those cravings I mentioned in the previous email. It changes your levels of insulin sensitivity for the worse, meaning that you are more likely to store energy as fat. It also makes you tired, meaning that you move less and exercise with less vigour which consequently reduces your metabolic rate. All that and the fact that being sleepy usually makes you grumpy as hell, affects your mental clarity and reduces your productivity. Sleep, in short is pretty feckin important.
The trouble is, most people don’t get enough because they hate their lives so much, they would rather stay up late watching pointless crap on telly and scrolling through their social media feed, spying on other people’s fake perfect lives and making themselves feel even worse, than going to bed. Why? Because the prospect of getting up and starting it all over again fills them with dread.
Only you can change this. If your life or your work sucks that much, there’s only one person who can change it and that’s you. Stop procrastinating with TV and social media and start taking action, work on self-compassion, self-improvement, education, planning and doing. You are not here to make a living, you are here to make a difference and until you are living your passion your life will always be out of sync with your core values.
But let me give you some simple, practical advice on how to get better sleep.
- Make sure your room is in total darkness or wear a sleep mask
- Get yourself the most comfortable bedding you can afford
- Ensure your sleep environment is cool
- Create a wind down routine in the evening – make a job list for the next day, journal and write your thoughts down, write in a gratitude log, meditate, stretch, read a self-improvement book, etc.
- No TV, computer, tablet or mobile in the hour before bed
- Dim the damn lights in the evening
- Avoid too much physical stimulation in the evening
- Avoid too much mental stimulation
- If you must use your computer download a red tint app like f.lux to make the screen easier on your eyes
- Avoid caffeine after 5pm and if you are especially jittery you might have to avoid it all together.
Do as many of these things as you can and if you still aren’t getting 7-8 hours sleep each night you’re either a mutant like Thatcher or you’re the next William Foster.