Last week we continued our discussion of implementing systems into your life in order to optimize your life and be the best you can be. There are five areas that we want to focus on to accomplish this.

  1. Eating (Nutrition)
  2. Sleep
  3. Physical Work (movement and exercise)
  4. Mental Work
  5. Spiritual

This week I want to focus on sleep. First, you have to accept the fact that quality sleep is necessary for you to be at your best physically and mentally. I have met many people who are hard-driving and successful that view sleep more as a luxury rather than a necessity. They almost view their lack of sleep with a sense of martyrdom and those who get 8 hours of sleep each night as being lazy.

As with almost everything, there are outliers. There are people who can consistently function at a higher level without much sleep. However, I think these are few. My view on sleep changed a couple of years ago when I heard Dr. Kirk Parsley speak at the Unbeatable Mind conference. Dr. Parsley, a former Navy Seal, spoke about working with the Seals and how even this hard charging group experienced negative effects from sleep deprivation. He also said that with a return to better sleep they began performing better. You can listen to his interview on the Unbeatable Mind podcast or listen to a shorter Ted Talk.

Getting more sleep is something I have placed a high priority on this year. As a result, I’ve been experimenting with the OURA Ring to monitor my sleep (actually Louise gave it to me for Christmas). It was very eye opening in that I thought just because I was getting to bed earlier that I would automatically get more sleep. When looking at my actual sleep patterns it makes sense why I feel tired on some days when I think I should be fully rested. If you are like me, you can definitely benefit from more and better quality sleep.

Here are some ways to improve your sleep:

  1. Go to bed at the same or near the same time each night, even on weekends.
  2. Avoid caffeine after 2 pm.
  3. Avoid alcohol at night.
  4. Avoid heavy meals right before bed.
  5. Avoid intense exercise at night.
  6. Avoid television or blue light (computer, phone, etc.) before bed.
  7. Have room temperature between 60-68 degrees.
  8. Use blackout curtains.
  9. Do five minutes of box breathing before bed.
  10. Magnesium.

I hope you find this helpful on your path to optimization. Next time we will be taking a look at improving your nutrition.