How to Upgrade Your Sleep

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It is a Sunday morning, I roll over to check my phone and see what time it is.  It’s 11 o’clock. Nothing annoys me more, knowing that some people have been up for a good five hours more than I have and squeezing the very best out of their day.

The worst is, I feel just as tired as I did 10 hours ago, when I hit the hay. If you are one who loves to sleep all day, stop reading……. now.

Highlighted two years ago by my college golf coach at Queens University of Charlotte, the team was informed about how to achieve an entire extra day a week. After asking several players in the team what time they were getting up, it became apparent that the likes of Stanford were getting up on average three hours before us each morning which equated to 21 more hours a week of extra practice.

Check out a standard day in the ex-college Stanford student Mr Woods, who set the tone for this – here

Closing out at my time as a college athlete at Queen University of Charlotte. Very proud to be standing next to so many talented athletes. Conference Champions 2013.

Closing out at my time as a college athlete at Queens University of Charlotte. Very proud to be standing next to so many talented athletes. Conference Champions 2013. We were taught so much.

The art of hacking your sleep has always interested me. The statement “Recommend adults need to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night for good health” This is what we know as schema.

Schemas: Help us create complex messages from simple materials.

The use of schemas can sometimes involve a somewhat slower route to the real truth. We live and breathe them each day and follow the rules of these sticky concepts which have been programmed into our brain for generations. Here are just a few which we follow each day,

  • You need to drink 8 cups of water a day.
  • The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.
  • You only use 10% of your brain.
  • And of course – You are supposed to sleep 8 hours day.

However here are some facts that are not built on schemas. 

  • The number of hours you sleep is not as important as the quality of sleep.
  • Eating the right foods improves your sleep.
  • Supplementing with vitamins can better your sleep.

Here are the three main problems which we all struggle with when we hit the hay.

  • Taking too long to get to sleep (onset insomnia)
  • Waking too often throughout the night (middle insomnia)
  • Waking early and being unable to get back to sleep (terminal insomnia)

Hacking your sleeping cycles.

REM – after about 90 minutes, we enter into REM sleep in which our brain activity changes dramatically. Our muscles become inhibited but our eyes start flickering. The brain is said to be more intense in REM than when we are awake. Most of our beautiful and scary dreams come in this stage. A typical adult will enter around 4-5 times per night and each REM will last around 90 minutes. The rest will be spent in a Non- REM cycle, where the brain physiological processes reboot.

Having grown up playing golf with a gentleman called “Gunner” an army officer who got his name from, quite literally gunning the enemy down. I always remembered his 20 min power naps throughout the day. Whether it be in the club house lying in one of the thick leather chairs or on the drive home pulling over on the hard shoulder for a quick power nap. This chap slept 3-4 hours a night and was a sharp as a cookie 24-7! What I did not realize was that he was acting out an Uberman sleeping cycle. (Even if he did not know)

So what sleep cycles can you test on yourself? 

  • Monophasic – 8 hours of sleep.
  • Biphasic – 6hrs & 1x 20 min nap. ( This was my routine during college)
  • Everyman – 3 hrs – 1.5 major nap & 1x 20 min nap.
  • Uberman – 6 x 20 min naps.

How to sleep through anything & have the best night sleep of your life.

After graduating I moved to San Fransisco, and I l lived with a bunch of guys in what can only be described as an orphanage with wi-fi. It was an amazing time in my life. It was a hacker house. Filled with over 20 people from all around the world, all chasing a dream.

There happened to be a Frenchman who lived among us. Whose snoring was so loud, it would make a family band seem quiet.  This post is dedicated to him.

So here is how to have the best night sleep of your life where ever you are. 

1. Download these two apps; Calm & Sleep Cycle.

Calm: is a meditation app, but I use it for a better nights sleep. It has soundtracks from waves crashing onto a beach to rain falling in the amazon rain forest. Very relaxing. 

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Choose your sound track and go..

Sleep Cycle:  in order to track your regular sleep patterns, download Sleep Cycle. Just put your phone under your sheet of your bed, and set the alarm. It will track your sleep quality using the microphone on your phone, and wake you feeling more refreshed at the top of a sleep cycle. Working opposite to an alarm it will wake you up when you are in a light sleep cycle i.e. Non – Rem stage, so you don’t wake up half way through that amazing dream and feel groggy and tired in the mornings.  Important: Make sure you put your phone on airplane mode so you don’t cook your head with RF.

An example of sleep cycle chart.

mmmmmmmm

My Sleep cycle – Tuesday 14th January .Sleep Cycle App.

2. Buy some Headphones

I would recommend noise canceling, they are pretty affordable these days. Stick away from the major brands to get the best price. If you spend around $50-80 you will get a very good set for your money.  And save yourself a small fortune.

3. Get some Earbuds

If you can fall asleep with both headphones in, then go for it. I like to sleep on one side, and having headphones in all night can be quite irritating. So I use an earbud on the side I sleep on.

4. Almond Butter. 

Ever wonder how you can sleep 8-10 hours and feel tired? Often the culprit is low blood sugar. Make a pre-bed snack part of your nutritional program.have a small snack such as: a almond butter or 5-8 almonds, To prevent low blood sugar levels.To enhance lucid dreaming try Alpha Brain.

5. The Routine.

  1. Consume 2 tbs of almond Butter.
  2. Get into bed
  3. Set the sleep Cycle App
  4. Put in the headphones/ earbud
  5. Play Calm soundtrack.

Sweet dreams and enjoy.

Two more things….

The Genie – I simply could not live without this thing. And for everyone who knows me personally see’s it on my head where ever I go. A great way to unwind before bed!

Routine – going to bed at 10 o’clock one night and then 1 o’clock the next night will only play with your cycle even more. Be as strict with your time keeping as an army general.

Please let me know if this helped. I would LOVE  to know.