Scientists have come up with a revolutionary way of how to live longer. This way is good for your memory, keeps your glucose stable, makes you more attractive, makes your immune system stronger, energizes, makes you more productive, removes toxins, and reduces cancer risk, Alzheimer’s, or diabetes. And it’s free! What, you may ask? Yes, it’s vitamin ZZZ or SLEEP.

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Why sleep?

Let’s just say you eliminate from your routine sleep, sports, or food for 24 hours. What do you think will make the biggest impact on your energy levels?

An adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a day. If you sleep 6 hours or less, you are already harming yourself. It’s known that people who sleep 5 hours or less live ten years less! If you are a professional athlete, add an extra hour to your sleeping routine.

More and more scientists talk about the sleep shortage pandemic. Why? Oh, it’s all about stress, the fast pace of life, and technology. That’s why:

  1. During the last 70 years, the average sleep duration decreased by 1 hour and 10 minutes, leaving an average sleep time of 6 hours and 50 minutes.
  2. People tend to stay longer and goes to sleep usually at midnight. That is why you sleep so bad – we skip critical processes by going to bed that late.
  3. All these things change sleep patterns. We spend less time in the REM stage, which is vital to our creativity and emotional health.
  4. Sleeping pills are booming. Only in the USA, 10 million people take sleeping pills EVERY DAY.
  5. 20-30% of the labor market are night shifts. People working night shifts are in the risk group because of sleep deprivation.
  6. Slumbering drivers are responsible for more traffic accidents than drunk drivers or drivers on drugs combined!

That’s why sleep is fundamental for physical activity and diet. So if you’re into at least one of those – start with getting your sleep habits right. 

Moreover, if you lack sleep or are a terrible sleeper during 12 – 3 AM, you might experience a shortage of Leptin hormone. Shortage leads to a bigger urge to eat, and because of a hunger hormone called Ghrelin, you end up eating 300-400 more that day.

Sleep and mental health

The Mental Fitness industry is one of the most growing sleep industries. With that comes a new generation of CEOs. It was not a long time ago when the industry was dominated by old school leaders of hard-working people with sleepless nights and no personal life. Well, now, we have marathon runners, yogis, healthy diet enthusiasts running the biggest ventures. They all know one secret – you have to work on your brain as much as you already work on your body. The care of yourself will have a big impact on their everyday life; this means more productivity, energy, and sharpness.

By the way, did you know that famous workaholics Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher both had Alzheimer’s?

Why is sleep important to leaders?

Sleep shortage (less than 7 hours) or bad sleeping (often waking up, snoring) dramatically impacts health and productivity. However, don’t think that you have to worry about only the future; sleep deprivation also leads to short-term consequences such as glucose spikes, a weak immune system, slower metabolism. In some way, good sleep is your brain detox!

Also, there’s another thing – sleep is crucial to your performance! Sleep deprivation makes an impact on your concentration, attention span, energy levels. Moreover, it also plays a big part in creativity and problem-solving skills, which are crucial in risk management. You might agree with me on this – an insomniac boss is a bad boss. Harvard Business Review research finds that leaders who sleep less are more likely to be irritable, have less patience and emotional stability.

If you are a leader, you must also lead yourself to better sleep patterns because a good leader is like a good athlete!

Two critical elements in your sleep quality

If you want to sleep better, don’t think it’s a difficult task. Well, first, cut alcohol and caffeine. Those are two critical elements in your sleep quality.

With alcohol, you can reach deep sleep, but you will probably lose the REM stage, increase heartbeat and temperature. This leads to waking up more frequently, even if you are not aware of it. Alcohol has the same algorithm as Valium or Xanax, which activates GABA, the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter; its principal role is reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. You can activate this neurotransmitter also with less harmful methods as amino acid Taurine or lime-blossom tea.

Caffeine is a wonderful stimulant while used in the first part of your day because it lasts up to 12 hours in your body. Later on, it blocks Adenosine, a very important sleep chemical. Replace coffee with green tea, which consists of l-theanine – a great relaxant. Or sip something more suitable for a night like cacao or coconut milk.

Sleep routine examples

For a good sleep pattern, your routine must become a habit. There are many ways, but here’s an example for you:

  1. Check surroundings – cool, dark, comfy bed, mattress, and bedding.
  2. Minimize blue light.
  3. Physical activity 2-3 hours before sleep.
  4. Something that reduces stress.
  5. Healthy diet.

You can mix all tips mentioned above into a couple of options.

Option no1:

3-4 hours before sleep: workout, cardio, or other physical activity. You pulse – 100-120bps.

2-3 hours before sleep: dinner (turkey, rice, vegetables, preferably beetroots and spinach).

2 hours before sleep: avoid blue light. When it gets dark outside, follow nature’s path and dim your lights at home.

10-12 minutes before the sleep: infrared treatment for 10-12 minutes.

1 hour before the sleep: take magnesium, l-glycine, calming tea.

10 minutes before the sleep: ocean waves and white noise.

Option no2:

3-4 hours before sleep: take a walk in the fresh air.

2-3 hours before sleep: salmon and vegetable salad.

2 hours before sleep: avoid blue light, dim lights accordingly. Also, no caffeine and alcohol.

1 hour before sleep: cool the bedroom, meditate, take a calming bath or shower.

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