As a hard driving entrepreneur and business owner, sleep is just something that gets in the way more productivity, or so I thought.
Now don’t get me wrong, as lifelong athlete I know rest is vital for top performance and I try to get as much as possible, but also over the past 15 years I’ve been building a national company and with that comes stress, responsibility and a relentless non-stop drive.
Sleep is just something you do because you need some rest and there’s really not much else to it.
Well, I started wearing my Apple Watch and monitoring my sleep and what I discovered actually shocked me. I was getting horrible sleep! No wonder I was drinking cups of coffee everyday and feeling afternoon slumps. I was waking up everyday always feeling exhausted. Here’s how I was doing on a random night.
Not too good huh?
I then decided to make a change and win this war for sleep. I’d never taken it seriously before. I’ve read articles on how it’s important and how people are trying to “hack” sleep but it just never really set in.
I took a step back and made some changes. Some expensive ones too but if you want to operate at your best, you have to invest in yourself.
So here’s the 5 steps I took:
Invested in a high quality mattress.
Yes, it was expensive but the payoff for me comes in deeper restorative sleep which means I wake up able to accomplish more because I feel great. Remember, deep sleep is when the body repairs itself, clears out toxins, strengthens memories and resets your body for the next day. If the investment delivers those then it’s worth the money. Also, I stuck with a wool topped mattress vs. memory foam. Memory foam lacked support and retained too much heat. After my wife and I tried 3 different mattresses over a five month period ( That’s right 3 mattresses. One was too soft, one was like a rock and the last one was just right ) We finally found the perfect fit.
Lowered the temperature.
I always thought the bedroom room needed to be warm and cozy. You get nice and groggy, tired and will sleep great. The articles I read about keeping your room between 60-67 degrees seemed absurd. I’ve even seen cooling pads people sleep on that run cool water through them to maintain a cool body. Could that work? Well, I bet you it probably does. I’ve never tried it but I just might. The key though is you need you room to be cool, dark and quiet like a cave as some articles suggest. Once we started to lower the temperature in our room, my segments of deep sleep began to lengthen.
Photobiomodulation or Red Light Therapy.
Here’s another tool in my toolbox for better sleep. I personally use a light panel from a company called Joovv. I spend about 20 minutes total under the red light. There are many articles that discuss the potential benefits of light therapy and it’s something you might want to investigate. I’ve incorporated this into my nightly routine and my anecdotal results seem to be very positive. I’m monitoring my results but so far so good.
Water, Magnesium and Electrolytes.
I always drink water with electrolytes and a little magnesium powder mixed in. I’m careful to take less Magnesium than the serving size recommends on the bottle as I’ve found that too much makes me extra tired and groggy the next morning. Also if you are on any medications you must check with your doctor first. I always want to be hydrated before bed as one loses water through just breathing during sleep. I know you might worry about having to go to the bathroom during the night but I rarely find this to be a problem.
Here’s a few links about Magnesium
Foam Roller Massage.
Now this is my last trick to prepare for bed. I do a short foam roller session about and hour before I plan to close my eyes. The goal is to loosen up any tight muscles and kinks from the day and relax them. Relaxed muscles make it easier to fall asleep. Personally , it seems to relax the muscles and and calm my entire body. This doesn’t have to be an extensive session and it can take around five minutes total.
After making these changes and staying consistent as much as possible. A typical night sleep is now more in this range. I still have more improvement to make but it’s much better than the erratic and inconsistent sleep I was getting.