What makes sleep a part of your superpowers? During sleep, you get enhanced physically, emotionally, and mentally. It’s the key to accessing your abilities.
Sleep affects your physical body dramatically. In fact, it affects it more than your exercise and diet combined.
There was a great study done by the University of Chicago – they took the subjects and put them on a calorie restricted diet and allowed them to have 8.5 hours of sleep. Then they did everything else the same way, except sleep – they only let them have 5.5 hours of sleep. The results showed that when these people were getting 3 hours more sleep, they lost 55% more body fat. All the magic happens when you sleep.
One of those things is HGH. Changes in our body happen with changes in our hormones, that’s why we look so different now than when you did when you were 15. That’s why you have to optimize your hormones, and nothing optimizes them more than sleep. During sleep, you get the most growth hormone. Your body naturally produces what people get when they take performance-enhancing drugs, your body makes that while you sleep. These hormones let you maintain your lean muscle mass.
Muscle is your fat burning machinery, the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn to maintain your muscles, even when you are at rest. HGH is also known as youth hormone. Kids have a lot of it, that’s why teenagers get muscular faster and have more energy than adults.
Cortisol (has a lot of bad things assigned to it, but it’s misunderstood by the media) does a lot of damage when its levels aren’t optimal. Sleep deprivation elevates your cortisol and keeps it burning at a high level. Cortisol has a unique ability to burn down your muscle tissue and turn it into glucose. All the hard work that you are doing can get lost if you don’t get enough of high-quality sleep. Muscles turn into glucose, which turns into insulin which is a fat storing hormone.
Melatonin (known as a sleep hormone, but it’s much more than that) is also a very powerful antioxidant anticancer hormone (probably the most powerful anticancer hormone that we produce.) That’s why studies have shown that people who do shift work, have radically more chance of getting cancer. It’s because these people are disrupting their melatonin function. Melatonin increases something called “brown adipose tissue.” It functions more like a muscle; it burns fat that you don’t want. Remember, melatonin isn’t just something related to your sleep, it’s related to everything about you.
Leptin will dramatically decrease even if you are just getting sleep deprivation for one night, basically, you will be hungrier the next day.
Ghrelin is a hunger hormone. This is where you get into a battle – Willpower VS Biology, and biology will win. Don’t put yourself in situations where you are in this fight (leptin will decrease, ghrelin will increase and you will want to eat more or burn willpower.) Break that cycle, get a good night of sleep and start to fix these issues.
Sleep deprivation also causes other physical instabilities and emotional instabilities. There is an increased activity in your amygdala (primitive survival based part of your brain) and decreased activity in the cortex (logical part, decision making.)
MRI – live activity of brain showed that there is 60% more reaction to negative things if we are sleep deprived. It’s also much harder to get back to normal, not to mention the consequences that occur because we didn’t think straight – conflicts with family and friends… we are not our best version of ourselves at that time.
A lot of people think that they should get energy from an external source (pills, coffee, Red Bull…) The reality is that focus will be as good as your sleep. Your brain transforms information to short-term memory and then to long-term memory during sleep. Deprived people can’t really convert all of that brilliant information that they have learned, so their memory isn’t optimal.
New pathways in your brains are being built while you sleep, it’s very powerful!
Brain detoxification – your brain is like a sponge, and sponges get dirty, they need to be cleaned which happens during sleep. Lymph system is body’s waste management, glymphatic system is responsible for cleaning your brain, and it’s 10 times more active during sleep. That’s brain’s focus, it also strengthens your cells by 60%. Most brain and memory problems are caused by brain’s inability to detoxify itself. Our concentration is decreased when we are sleep deprived and we are much more likely to do cyberloafing (pretending to do legitimate work, while being on a computer – spending time on social media, watching YouTube videos…) 1 hour less sleep causes 15-20% more cyberloafing.
Strategies to Improve your Sleep Tonight:
- Our devices are wrecking our sleep quality. Blue light suppresses melatonin twice as much as green light and suppresses circadian timing. Red light disrupts the least (historically we saw a fire at night most often, we didn’t see blue at night.)
- Most likely you won’t stop using your devices at night, but you can use software that will change primary color of your screen. Your iPhone already has a function called “Night Shift” to take care of that. Free apps are also fine, there are tons of them.
- Flux is a great application for your laptop, it’s free and it’s automatic.
- We are all guilty and addicted to our devices. Dopamine (happiness hormone) is designed to get triggered while we seek (through human evolution.) If we wouldn’t get up and seek things, we wouldn’t survive and be where we are today, dopamine leads to the need to search for things, and the internet is perfect for that because there are infinite things to find. To problem is that if you don’t find it, you’ll go crazy. The good thing about internet is that you always find Instagram is just seek-find every 2 seconds, and it never stops! You get addicted very quickly, it’s like a slow drip of morphine each time you scroll down. It’s very difficult to just put down your device and have your nighttime ritual. You have to have a strategy in place! If you don’t have a good strategy, you will waste an incredible amount of time and throw away your sleep – “Just one more post…” So what can we do? We have to fill out that void with something of equal or greater value – whatever that might be for you. A 60-minute ritual is advised – play a game with your friends, be with your wife and kids… do something other than Facebook to break away from that addiction. Awareness trumps everything, catch yourself more often and take back the control of your mind.
- Eat more good sleep nutrients – the gut-sleep connection is going to blow your mind! You have 400 times more melatonin in your gut than you have in your brain. Bacteria in your gut communicate and produce these sleep hormones.
- Potassium is very important to intake (bananas aren’t good because they have too much sugar which will disrupt your sleep.) Better sources of potassium are avocados, guacamole, dulse (probably the richest source of potassium in nature)
- Magnesium – responsible for 300 biochemical processes in your body (means that your body can’t do 300 things when you don’t have magnesium.) It’s an anti-stress mineral (over 80% of the population is deficient in magnesium.) Leafy greens (anything green) will be a source of magnesium, brazil nuts, and perhaps taking a magnesium supplement if you think you don’t have enough of it because it’s so vital! This can be also inputted through your skin instead of orally (which can quickly be too much.)
- Calm your inner-chatter – busy mind. When going to sleep you may want to have just one thing on your plate – just sleep. Meditation is an affecting treatment for insomnia, and it’s free without any side effects. A lot of people have tried meditation, but there are few of them who can do it on a consistent basis, because it’s medically proven that people who meditate in the morning sleep better in the evening, it’s a parasympathetic nervous system hack, focus on conscious breathing shifts that rest system within a few minutes. It’s also an amazing training for your focus (on one thing.) When you are trying to sleep, you are also just focusing on one thing, not on what you are going to wear tomorrow, or what you will eat…
“My bed, it’s an amazing place that I go to remember everything that I was supposed to do.” That happens to a lot of us and to help calm down this busyness, meditation is one of the big keys.
- To play at a high level (be a master) create yourself a sleep sanctuary. Your brain is constantly looking for patterns, and if it associates different things with your bed (if your bed is the entertainment center of your house) where you are watching TV, doing work, playing on your iPhone, you are training your brain to think about those things when you want to fall asleep, whether you want it to or not. Move all of those things out of your room.
- Only two things should be happening in your bedroom – Sleep and sex. Get all the tech out of your bedroom.
- Get yourself black curtains, make sure it’s completely dark while you sleep. Even just a little bit of light will prevent you from have high-quality sleep. Your body is not designed to be exposed to that kind of things in the evening.
- Cool it off a little bit. Our bodies have a process called thermoregulation, in the evening your body naturally drops the temperature to start the creation of sleep based enzymes and hormones, if your body has to work hard to keep you cool it’s going to disrupt your sleep quality. The optimal range is 62-68 degrees (16-20 Celsius.)
Sleep is where you are going to optimize physical, emotional, and logical powers… make sure you optimize it!
Read more about Neuro-Linguistic Programming: https://www.mitjadolinsek.com/nlp/