Did you know that the World Record for sleep deprivation was removed from the Guinness Book of World Records?
This is an astounding fact that we read in Matthew Walker’s book “Why we Sleep.”
“Guinness” deems it acceptable for a man (Felix Baumgartner) to ascend 128,000 feet into the outer reaches of our atmosphere in a hot-air balloon wearing a spacesuit, open the door of his capsule, stand atop a ladder suspended above the planet, and then free-fall back down to Earth at a top speed of 843 mph, passing through the sound barrier while creating a sonic boom with just his body.”
The fact that Guinness decided that sleep deprivation needs to be removed from the record books, but not free-falling back to earth while breaking the sound barrier, tells us that lack of sleep can be extremely hazardous to our health and well-being.
With all that being said, two-thirds of adults throughout all developed nations do not get the recommended 8 hours of sleep.
We get it, time is money and we’ll be getting plenty of sleep once we’re dead – but the evidence is overbearing.
Lack of sleep (< 6-7 hours of sleep) doubles your risk of cancer and is a lifestyle risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure.
And even short bouts of decreased sleep will decrease your reaction time and concentration to the same levels alcohol can create. “In a study, those who were awake for 19 hours straight performed just as well on a concentration test as those who were legally drunk (.08 percent blood alcohol).”
We could go on and on about all the evidence that demonstrates how lack of sleep can negatively impact the health of your body. But the book “Why We Sleep” has changed our outlook on sleep altogether, even though we already knew sleep was beneficial.
Joe Gambino had changed his own sleep habits after reading this book sleeping a minimum of 7 hours a night and averaging about 7.5 hours (up from 6.45 hours). The results are amazing and he now has more energy throughout the day, is more productive, and has noticed improvements in his own pain levels and performance.
With sleep being a low-hanging fruit – something that requires very little effort to accomplish – there is no reason for being sleep-deprived (unless you have a sleep disorder).
Here are 10 ways you can improve your sleep habits according to Matthew Walker in his book “Why We Sleep:”
Stick to a sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days, but not later than two to three hours before bedtime.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine in the late afternoon. Caffeine takes about 8 hours for its effects to wear off. And nicotine is a stimulant that often causes light sleep in smokers.
Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Alcohol can reduce the amount of REM sleep preventing you from getting deep sleep.
Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. Large meals can cause indigestion at night which affects sleep quality, and consuming too many fluids can cause frequent awakenings to urinate.
Don’t take naps after 3:00 PM as it can make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night.
Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after getting out of the bath may help you feel more sleepy.
Sleep in a dark, cool, gadget-free bedroom.
Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after lying down for 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
Get some sun during the day as it is important in regulating daily sleep patterns.
Don’t waste your money on supplements, recovery services, and other fitness fads. Focus on improving the low-hanging fruit, such as sleep, prior to the more elaborate solutions.