Today we’re going to talk about Why We DON’T Sleep.
We’ll take a quick look at the Top 10 Sleep Kryptonites.
But, first, here’s another gem from Matthew Walker’s brilliant book: “Two thirds of adults throughout all developed nations fail to obtain the recommended eight hours of nightly sleep. I doubt you’re surprised by this fact, but you may be surprised by the consequences. Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer.”
(Q: Where do you fall in those statistics?)
And now for the Top 10 Sleep Kryptonites.
1. Simply not valuing sleep. This is where it all starts. If you don’t REALLY get just how important sleep is then you’ll never change your priorities to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. (Right?)
2. Inconsistency. All the leading sleep gurus (including Matthew) tell us that CONSISTENCY is key. In fact, this is his #1 tip: “Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. … Set an alarm for bedtime. Often we set an alarm for when it’s time to wake up but fail to do so for when it’s time to go to sleep. If there is only one piece of advice you remember and take from these 12 tips, this should be it.”
3. Screens. 90% of adults are on their electronic devices within an hour of going to sleep. That’s a really bad idea. Unless you like having a bad night of sleep. 😲 Solution is easy: Digital sunset!! (Make that: Solution is SIMPLE but not easy.)
4. Anxiety. This is a top reason people give for why they can’t sleep. We’re too stressed. Well… Guess what? If we structure our lives such that we’re basically redlining our energy all day every day, we’re going to have a lot of “Enervated Anxiety” and it will be really hard to magically flip the “Off” switch when our heads hit the pillow. Solution? Train yourself to flip the switch and get really good at creating a sense of Energized Tranquility.
5. Caffeine. Caffeine works because it basically masks your fatigue. It has a half-life of 5-6 hours—which means that if you have 100 mg of caffeine at 4:00 pm, around half of that caffeine is still having a party in your brain at 10:00 pm. Not helpful for sleep. Solution: Create a caffeine curfew. Stop consumption after 2:00 (or noon) (or whatever is your ideal).
6. Alcohol. You may think you sleep better after drinking but, well, you don’t.
7. Tobacco. Tobacco is a stimulant. Are you still smoking? QUIT! (lol) (Seriously.) ( 🤓 )
8. Eating too late. If you eat a big meal before bedtime, your body needs to work too hard digesting food when it should be doing all the important repair work. Minimum goal should be to eat your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime. Professional Optimizers might want to run the 4-hour-before-bedtime experiment to see if you can get Glymph for the Win!
9. Exercising too late. Exercise is (obviously) awesome. But we don’t want our core temperature jacked up before bedtime. Basic recommendation is to exercise at least 3 hours before bed. But… Professional Optimizers know that exercise gives us a 12-hour mood boost so we architect our days to get our natural little hit of Ritalin and Prozac in the first half of our days!
10. Suboptimal sanctuary. Your sleep environment matters. A lot. Key things to Optimize? Temperature should be around 65 degrees. It should be SUPER dark. Blackout curtains for the win. And, of course, make it quiet. (Oh! And move the TV out of your bedroom. Unless you want to be part of a statistic that correlates depression with bedroom TVs.)
That’s Today’s +1.
The Top 10 Sleep Kryptonites.
Which one can you Optimize Tonight?