Sleep, goddamnit!

You aren’t sleeping enough. And when you are, what sleep you are getting isn’t nearly restful enough. I can pretty much guarantee it.

Sleep is one of the most, if not THE most important thing you can fix to improve your quality of life. First of all, if you are morbidly obese, simply working on defattening yourself will help improve your quality of sleep. Assuming you are working on that already if it is necessary, there are a couple of other things you can do.

The easiest one is probably to get away from your computer or tv or other backlit device for about an hour before bed. Staring at a lit screen basically tricks your body into thinking it is still daytime, and suppresses your natural melatonin production. You can install f.lux on your computer to help with this – it changes the colour temperature of the screen to be warmer and less sunlike. It also seems easier on the eyes in the evening.

You should also have good sleep hygiene practices. That means for the most part only using your bed for sleeping (and banging, of course). Keep your room as dark as possible. Keep regular hours – go to bed at the same time, try to get up at the same time every day.

Some supplements can possibly help improve your sleep quality and how long it takes you to get to sleep. I personally am a huge fan of melatonin before bed, I find it really helps me regulate my sleep hours, especially when I am working odd shifts or trying to get to sleep when the sun is still out. [Zinc/magnesium?/?]

You should try to get at least 7 hours of good quality uninterrupted sleep per night. I personally can function on 4 pretty much indefinitely, but it sure isn’t optimal and I get run down a lot faster. Some people need more, basically no one needs more than 9 unless they have some sort of medical condition. If you get your schedule in check and have good sleep hygiene practices, you will find out what you need.

I find that 7.5 hours is perfect for me. I now pretty much always naturally wake up a minute or two before my first alarm goes off, and haven’t fallen back asleep and needed my second one in months.

If you are sleeping poorly or just plain not getting enough, you will most likely see really significant improvements in your overall quality of life if you fix that. I am sharper at work, need less coffee to get me through the day, am not completely drained by the end of the work day, my mood is more stable, and I recover from stresses like training faster than I have in years.

It sounds like some miracle snake oil pitch, but I’m really not selling anything (yet…) and it did help me that much. So go out and get some goddamn sleep.

To back all of this up because I am lazy and didn’t want to cite a zillion studies, here is an examine.com article titled “How important is sleep?” Go read it right meow.

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