I just read Arianna Huffington’s book The Sleep Revolution.
And you won’t believe the 10 things I found on why you’re having sleep problems.
I’ve been seeing her everywhere on social media and the Internet promote her message about the importance of sleep. She’s a multi-millionaire entrepreneuer who bought into the sleep myth most of modern society has.
It’s pretty epidemic.
I’ve seen everyone from high school students to CEO’s live off 3 or less hours of sleep a night. Mrs. Huffington herself did this until she collapsed from exhaustion.
How To Get To Sleep Fast
I think she raises some interesting points and I wanted to share with you the top 10 techniques and learn how to fall asleep instantly:
1. Avoid Blue Light Before You Sleep (from Electronics or Lamps)
In the last century thanks to the invention of the light bulb, we are now able to light up our rooms as if it is daytime even though it’s the dead of night. This can wreak havoc on our body’s sleep schedule.
Light can suppress the body’s production of melatonin, which helps regulate our circadian rhythms, something that is essential for our sleep patterns. According to Harvard sleep researcher Steven Lockley, a light of just 8 lux, which is less than most ordinary room lamps and only twice of a night light, is enough to affect us.
The type of light we receive matters as well. Blue light, which is mainly emitted from electronic screens and LED bulbs, has an exceptionally disruptive effect on melatonin levels and circadian rhythm.
A study by Anne-Marie Chang of Harvard Medical school and others found that participants who used an eReader before sleep took longer to fall asleep, a later timing of the circadian rhythm, and had reduced morning alertness.
George Brainard, a circadian-rhythm researcher and neurologist says that the alert stimulus from blue light will frustrate your body’s ability to go to sleep later and is an underlying biological stimulus even after you turn off the light.
Dr. Dan Siegal, a clinical professor of psychiatry, says that exposing your eyes to this stream of photons is telling your brain to stay awake, don’t secrete melatonin, and not to go to sleep.
I don’t recommend you go to such extremes unless you can easily afford it, but some people buy and wear blue-light blocking sunglasses when they go to bed. They look like orange-tinted sunglasses.
Heather Woods, a sleep researcher from the University of Glasgow, coauthored a study on how social media affects teens. Those who had the highest emotional investment in their social-media lives reported having low sleep quality, increased anxiety and depression, and decreased self-esteem.
Arianna’s recommendation is to stop using electronics at least 30 minutes before you stop using lights.
For people who are always inside for work or school, it is important to spend a healthy amount of time to get a healthy daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun. For those who spend way too long outside tanning, you probably have gotten more than enough Vitamin D and should limit your time outside to prevent skin cancer from ultraviolet rays.
2. Sleep More To Increase Athletic Performance
Athletes, listen up! Would you like a simple way of shaving a second off your sprint time or increasing your performance by 10%?
In 2011, Cheri Mah of Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Lab had 11 members of the Stanford basketball team participate in a study. She found that they averaged just more than 6.5 hours of sleep each night. For the next 5 to 7 weeks, they were asked to aim for a minimum of 10 hours a night. The players’ sleep average went up to 8.5 hours and their sprint time was .7 seconds faster, free-throw shooting went up 9%, and 3-point shooting increased by 9.2%.
A similar study was conducted by Mah on Stanford football players. Their 20-year shuttle sprint went from 4.71 to 4.61 seconds and average 40-yard dash time went from 4.99 to 4.89 seconds. Their day-time grogginess went down and vigor went up.
Golden State Warrior’s Andre Iguodala used to stay up late watching TV then wake up early to hit the gym. One day, he got a sleep therapist and adjusted to a consistent 8 hours per night. His points per minute went up 29%, his free-throw percentage increase by 8.9%, his 3-point shot % more than doubled, his turnovers decreased 37% per game, and his fouls dropped by 45%. He was named the 2015 Finals MVP.
While there are successful people in business or athletics that live off very little sleep, there are some who sleep more than the average person. Apparently, Lebron James, one of the best basketball players of all time, sleeps 12 hours a day. Roger Federer, one of the best tennis players of all time, says that if he doesn’t sleep 11 to 12 hours a day, it is not right.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gets 8 hours of sleep a night. Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison says it’s essential for her to get 8 hours as well.
Look at this infographic below to see more of Mah’s findings and other top athletes like Usain Bolt who sleep a lot:
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