8 Ways To Hack Your Sleep And Be More Productive
This post is rather different to my usual Marketing/Business related posts; but sleep is immensely important, it influences how we work and feel throughout the day. We sleep for more than a third of our lives so really; optimizing your sleep is essential.
Ever since my late teen years; I struggled with my sleep. To say the least; I had really bad sleeping habits. In fact, I once went 3 days without sleep. Why?
Well because I hated sleeping and wanted to be awake 24 hours a day. While at the same time, I didn’t exactly enjoy being ridiculously tired throughout parts of the day.
After endless months of barely sleeping; I came to the conclusion that sleep was important and I needed to get into a cycle.
So I decided to experiment with sleep optimization and how I could sleep less, but improve physical & metal performance during the day.
Several years later and I’ve never really talked about it with anyone… So I’ve decided to share several cool hacks you can use to improve your sleep and wake up feeling fresh & energized:
1. Eat A Nutritious 200-250 Calorie Snack Before Bed
This one was a life saver for me. I was going to bed at 1am, sleeping over 8 hours and still feeling like “shit” in the morning. Morning fatigue, a lack of energy and a headache first thing in the morning. It happened almost every day until I started doing this. Feeling like crap in the morning isn’t just a result of a lack of sleep or bad sleep.
So just prior to going to sleep, consume a small snack of 200-250 calories. If it’s over 250, don’t worry about it. A few good snacks; a few oranges, nuts, low fat yogurt, celery, chicken breast or a protein shake. It’s often a case of low blood sugar that makes you feel crappy in the morning. It’s also a case of waking up while in deep sleep. So make this part of your daily routine; you’ll feel much better for it.
2. Read/Watch Fiction Prior To Sleep
My biggest problem was always the going to sleep. Once I fell asleep; I’d be like a rock and remain asleep until morning. It’s the same for millions of people; they have a hard time falling asleep. Usually it’s because people struggle to stop their brains from thinking.
When your brain is really active; it’s hard to fall asleep. To solve the problem of actually thinking, watch or read something fiction before bed. Whatever you do; don’t watch or read any non-fiction. Doing so will force your brain to start thinking about your newly acquired knowledge and how to use it.
3. Make A List
If you’re constantly thinking in bed; you’re going to struggle to fall asleep (as previously stated). Some people spend up to 3 hours lying in bed before sleep. That’s a huge percentage of the day that could be spent doing more productive things. On top of reading or watching fiction prior to bed; you should make a list. A list of exactly what you’re going to do the next day. You should break down the tasks you want to get done the following day and at what times. Making a list will stop you from late night planning; just do it.
4. Wake Up Once
I can’t even remember where I read this; but it’s been proven that you can increase the percentage of REM (deep quality) sleep by waking for five or so minutes around four and half hours after falling asleep. I’ve tried this myself and the results are noticeable. Try it out, maybe it’ll work for you.
This one is pretty obvious; but too important not to mention. Exercising about 2 hours prior to bed dramatically speeds up the time it takes you to fall asleep. It also improves the quality of your sleep. If you can’t find the time to exercise a few hours before; exercising any time during the day has the same affect.
6. No Alcohol Or Caffeine 4 Hours Before Sleep
It’s been proven countless times that consuming caffeine (via coffee etc) 2-4 hours before sleep drastically decreases the quality of your sleep. As for alcohol, it has a similar effect. Over two glasses of wine/beer/etc 4 or less hours before sleep decreases deep sleep by 20-50%. Shocking fact right?
7. Use Technology
There are a ton of gadgets out there that help you monitor your sleep. First is the ZEO; a cool little gadget that allows you to see exactly how much quality sleep you’re getting and how to improve it. Then there’s the FitBit, another gadget that not only tracks your sleep; but tracks all kinds of stuff.
The FitbBit is a small gadget you can put in your pocket or where on your clothes. It tracks how many steps you take, the calories you burn and supplies all kinds of analytical data on your sleep. These little gadgets show you when you’re in light or deep sleep. Coupled with more cool stuff; they are must have gadgets for those who want to optimize their sleep.
Taking a hot bath before bed increases melatonin release. While having a hot bath is far more attractive, ice baths are way more effective. You can start by taking 5 minute ice baths just before bed. It’s simple; buy a few bags of ice at your local store, stick them in your bath and wait till around 70% of the ice has melted. Then get in the bath and bathe for 5 minutes. It literally feels like getting hit by a tranquilizer gun!
P.S. Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions below. Also put your name and email in the form on the right for more cool business & lifestyle tips, tricks & secrets.