If you’re eating well and exercising regularly, but you still don’t feel or look the way you want, poor sleep may be to blame. Here’s how to tap into the power of sleep and make rest a daily priority.
Everything from creative thinking, to good decision making, to proper digestion, to high performance is heavily dependent on getting good quality sleep.
Unfortunately, more than a third of adults get fewer than 7 hours of sleep each night, the minimum needed to keep your risk of health problems in check.
And that’s not counting the millions of folks who likely over-estimate how much sleep they’re getting, or whose sleep quality is poor because of other, seemingly unrelated lifestyle factors; like drinking alcohol or using caffeine several hours before bed.
5 signs you are not getting enough sleep
  1. Your mind is foggy: when you sleep well, what you’ve learned gets cemented to memory. Lack of sleep quality =
    1. reduced concentration,
    2. confusion,
    3. impaired judgment;
    4. and forgetfulness
  2. You’re unhappy: when you sleep you produce fresh neurotransmitters and regulate hormone production, lack of sleep causes =
    1. impaired regulation of hormones,
    2. higher levels of stress,
    3.  low moods;
    4. and an increase risk for depression
  3. You’re getting sick a lot: lack of sleep leads to lower count of T-cells, which causes inflammation to go up, resulting in=
    1. Increased vulnerability to viruses,
    2. Increase risk in getting sick,
    3. and increased risk of heart disease and other inflammation-related illnesses
  4. You’re struggling with your weight: poor sleep is linked to excess body fat, as it can=
    1. Disrupt appetite regulation,
    2. Cause you to feel hungrier during the day,
    3. Lead to increased caloric intake;
    4. and excess body fat can lead to poor sleep
  5. Your workouts feel harder than normal: when you get good sleep, your body has the opportunity to refresh levels of neurotransmitters and remove energy-draining metabolites. Otherwise, you can experience =
    1. Decreased central nervous system activity,
    2. Slower reaction time,
    3. Low energy and endurance capacity,
    4. Depressed mood;
    5. and reduced desire to exercise
This highly effective and proven sleep hack strategy I learned from Craig Ballantyne in his book “The Perfect Day Formula”. It’s called ‘The 10-3-2-1-0 Goodnight Formula’ and it goes like this:
  • 10 hours before bed – No more caffeine
  • 3 hours before bed – No more food or alcohol
  • 2 hours before bed – No more work
  • 1 hour before bed – No more screen time (turn off all phones, TVs, and computers)
  • 0 – The number of times you will hit the snooze button in the morning
Stop drinking all caffeinated beverages 10 hours before bed. This is generally the amount of time it takes for your body to clear caffeine from the bloodstream.
By avoid eating big meals and drinking alcohol 3 hours before bed you will avoid heartburn, and interrupted sleep. Alcohol may seem to help you become sleepy, but it will have impaired your normal sleep cycle – specifically the R.E.M. cycle.
Ending all work-related tasks 2 hours before bed will equal longer and better-quality sleep. This means no more taking calls, checking emails, or thinking about tomorrow.
If you struggle with this “off-button”, I understand and can relate. But, if you want to enjoy uninterrupted time with your family and to be present for them, you need to perform what we call a “Brain Dump”. Yep, a brain dump! It is very simple to perform and takes less than 5 minutes and requires nothing more than a blank piece of paper and pen.
Do this: Write down everything that is running through your head as fast as you- get it all out. Now set that piece of paper aside; maybe in your office or by your keys, and don’t look at it until tomorrow. This will help you clear your mind.
Tech – electronic devices, like TV, tables, and smartphones eliminate blue light. This blue light stimulates neural activity which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, spend your final hour reading books, talking with your spouse, meditating, or taking a bath.  But, do not use your tablet or computer unless you want to stare at the ceiling for the next hour.
Lastly, the temptation to hit the snooze button first thing in the morning. Not only will hitting the snooze button make you late for your day but going back to sleep for a few minutes makes you feel more tired than if you had just got up to start your day immediately. One of the best strategies I’ve found is to set your alarm across the room. This makes you get up, and take a few steps to turn it off. By then, you’re more awake and less likely to hit the sheets again.
So now you know the benefits of sleep, signs of if you are lacking in the ZZZ department and a true fire way to start getting more quality sleep, TONIGHT!
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Sleep well,
Coach Jeff