“Is it 5am? You’ve got to be kidding me! I need to get some sleep.”
Does that sound familiar?
I stressed out about how I still was awake. The sun was coming out and I was still wide awake. The story of my life. I could never fall asleep. I could never get enough rest. Being up until 6 am sucks when you have to wake up early in a few hours. There’s nothing more annoying than not being able to fall sleep. You end up feeling lethargic and useless the next day because you didn’t get enough rest. It’s impossible to function on no sleep. This is why I’m going to help you get some sleep!
How amazing do you feel after a full night of sleep? How motivated are you when you wake up refreshed and recharged?
On the flip side — How terrible does it feel when you wake up feeling sleep deprived?
I’ve learned over the years that sleep is so critical to health, living forever, and being successful in life.
What are the benefits of sleep?
- Increased focus.
- More recovery time for your muscles.
- Being well-rested.
- You not being a little bitch the next day.
- More motivation.
You can check out our colossal post on living forever for more 411 on sleep. I’ve never been able to sleep. I hate it. Ever since I was a kid I would spend all night tossing and turning. The other problem is that once I do fall asleep, it takes me forever to wake up. It sucks.
Did you know that a lack of sleep can actually make you fat?
“Perhaps you have also noticed a desire to eat more when you’re tired? This is no coincidence. Too little sleep swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction. Despite being full, you still want to eat more. It’s a proven recipe for weight gain in sleep-deficient adults and children alike. Worse, should you attempt to diet but don’t get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since most of the weight you lose will come from lean body mass, not fat.” — Matthew Walker, PhD
How can you get some sleep in finally?
Turn off the lights.
This isn’t The Simpsons where Ned forces the kids to go to bed when the sun is still out.
To properly fall asleep it’s important to turn off all of the lights (this includes your cell phone or laptop). Get your room as dark as possible. You don’t want any lights interfering and keeping you up.
You might have to leave your phone in the next room. You don’t want to see that light going off every time that you get a notification. You also are forced to actually get out of bed to turn off your alarm when your phone isn’t within arm’s reach.
Make your room colder.
How’s your room? I personally can’t sleep when it’s too warm. I find that it’s much easier to sleep when your room is cool.
It’s much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep when you’re cuddled in under your blankets. Turn the AC on in the summer and pass out. You’ll wake up feeling great.
Watch what you think about before bed.
“Why didn’t I call John back?”
“Why did I send that awkward text message in 2009?”
“I wonder how my ex-girlfriend is doing…”
This happens to all of us. We try to sleep but can’t because we think about our car and if it’s locked. We think about how the day went and what went wrong. We think about the next day. And it goes on. And on. It gets us nowhere. Stop it. I used to think about a million useless things while in bed. Anxiety is just experiencing failure in advance. It’s not worth it and gets you nowhere.
How can you stop stressing out about crap in bed?
- Create a ritual. It’s key to have a nightly ritual. This can be sex, reading, or watching your favorite show.
- Let go. Just let go my friend. Forget about it. If you can’t solve something, sweat it.
- Try to turn your mind off. Don’t let your mind wander.
Read fiction before bed.
Reading before bed really does help. The trick is to find some fiction or something for pleasure/entertainment. Turn your brain off. Have some fun. Zone out and close your eyes after a good reading session.
Watch the caffeine consumption before bed time.
This is where I mess up huge. I need to stop drinking so much coffee before bed. The trick is to get your caffeine in during the morning before work/the gym.
Stop chugging coffee close to bed time! Those evening meetups are a killer. You already know this though because we have all felt the caffeine buzz before bed.
My best tip here to cut out the afternoon coffee. It’s better to be a little tired during the evening if it means that you’re going to pass out better.
These tips should help you pass out and get some quality sleep in so that your muscles can recover. However, if you’re anything like me, you still might struggle!
What if you still can’t sleep? What happens now?
You have to set a sleep schedule.
It’s difficult to fall asleep when you always try to go to sleep at a different time. This screws up your body. The trick, which is admittedly difficult, is to have a set sleep schedule.
What I try to do is to keep myself up as long as possible one day. I run on no sleep. I sacrifice the day. I ensure that I last until 11pm or so. Then I pass out. The point here is to create a schedule. It’s key to sleep at the same time every day or else your body won’t know how to react.
Yes, I’m looking at you weekend party-goes (myself included). That one night of partying and going to sleep at 5am can screw up your sleep schedule if you let it. You might have to sacrifice one day of being tired to keep your sleep patterns in check.
Try to go to sleep at the same time every night so that your body can get into a groove.
Squeeze in naps.
Maybe you’re just not meant to do the whole 8-hours per night sleep?
Sometimes I truly believe that one long sleep isn’t for me. So I try to get some rest from 4am until about 10am. Then a power nap after an afternoon workout (BJJ, weights, or kettlebells).
I love my naps. I operate better under this system. I squeeze in a few naps here and there. This works well for me when I have big projects/tough training on my plate.
Have you embraced napping? The Mexicans are huge fans of the afternoon siesta and I’ve become a fan of them myself. There’s nothing like a nice snooze on summer afternoon.
I’m not here to lecture you on working hard – BUT…
You might not be training hard enough.
I find that when I go hard on the mats and in the weight room during the day, I’m ready to sleep well by the time night rolls around. Push yourself to the limit. Work your body. You won’t have any choice but to pass out and get some quality sleep in.
Don’t go to sleep until you’re tired.
DUH! Captain Obvious checking in. Don’t laugh just yet.
The biggest issue with sleep is that too many of us go to sleep when we’re not tired. We feel that we should be sleeping. But why? Screw what the clock says.
Go to sleep when your body tells you to, not the clock.
How can you sleep better and get a good night’s rest?
- Set a sleep schedule so your body gets into a flow.
- No coffee in the afternoon.
- Train harder.
- Read before bed.
- Leave your cell phone far away.
I don’t want us to have to turn to pills or drugs or to be dependant on anything to fall asleep. Let’s try to fall sleep naturally and get lots of rest so that we feel amazing the next day and don’t have to chug a RedBull before work.