When it comes to hacking your mind and body, one of the simplest and most effective things you can do is improve your sleep.
Whilst not as ‘sexy’ as other biohacks, such as thinking about which dietary supplements to take, or which nootropics to try, optimising your sleep will allow you to wake up fresh and energized, concentrate on work for longer, improve your mood, and in so doing help you reach your goals more quickly.
There’s a problem in our culture, among entrepreneurs but also among the population in general, where only going to bed for 3-4 hours a night is often considered cool, or that it shows dedication to your work.
But the truth is that, apart from a small number of people who are lucky enough to be able to get by on little sleep, not getting enough hours in means that you’re only limiting how effective you can be during normal waking hours. And even if you can get by on little sleep for some time, the chances are you’re only setting yourself up for a large energy crash down the line.
The first step, then, is to make sure you’re sleeping for the amount of time your body needs to recover and rejuvenate, which will typically be at least 7-8 hours.
Optimising Sleep Quality
Quality of sleep encompasses a number of things. It means, first of all, falling asleep quickly once in bed, which decreases anxiety about going to bed and helps you keep to a regular sleeping schedule.
It’s also about staying asleep until the morning, which maximises the amount of time you spend in deep and REM sleep, the phase where the memory and regenerative benefits of sleep come most into play.
Finally, it means waking up at the end of a sleep cycle, when you’re much more likely to wake up fresh and alert. Waking up whilst in a phase of deep sleep can leave you feeling groggy and tired for the whole day, regardless of how much time you slept.
Three Steps To Getting Quality Sleep
The following three steps are among the easiest to implement to maximise the chances you get a quality night’s sleep:
1. To help you fall asleep quickly, limit your eyes’ exposure to light before bed
1-2 hours before bed, by dimming the lights at home, you make your body aware that nighttime is approaching, leading it to make chemicals to help you fall asleep. Wearing blue blocking sunglasses (like these) also helps this process, by ensuing light doesn’t overstimulate your eyes. And if you have to use a computer in the hours before bed, be sure to use a programme like f.lux, which dims the light from your screen, making it easier on the eyes.
2. To help you stay asleep, wear a sleep mask (like this one) and ear plugs whilst sleeping
These minimise distractions any distracting lights or noises through the night.
3. To wake up feeling energised, use an app, such as Sleep Time, to wake you up
Apps like these track your sleep cycles, and wake you up at the end of a sleep cycle, when you’re most likely to wake up fresh and energised
Sleep is one of the basics which is often overlooked but which, if neglected, nothing else can make up for. If you’re struggling with getting quality sleep, implementing the above steps will lead to markedly better sleep, along with increased energy and productivity during the day
In Episode #21 of the podcast, we spoke with Mans Denton (TheHackedMind.com) & Kyle Eschenroeder (StartupBros.com) about hacking sleep, along with other ways entrepreneurs can biohack themselves to better performance in all areas of life.
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