Sleep

How to sleep better and snore harder

Sleep is over rated.

4 hours is the new 8.

You can sleep when your dead.

Some of the lines I use when consoling poor folk that have terrible sleep patterns. Well maybe not the last one, its sound like something more suited to Wall street.

Lack of sleep kills. Literally. It also kills fat-loss, training performance, muscle gain, happiness, vitality and even your bank balance (sleep therapy’s, weird supplements, postopedic memory foam madness type mattresses).

Here is a pretty frank statement that should wake your ass up to the problem of lack of sleep,

—– It makes you fat as a fool and you don’t even know it —–

You see, sleep deprivation causes you to crave high calorie foods, feel hunger when you are actually not hungry and even messes up your brains ability to regulate the hormones that control appetite and fullness. Here is bunch of science to confirm this (1, 2, 3).

A study by Spaeth et al (2013) looked at 221 sleep deprived participants and concluded that chronically sleep-restricted adults with late bedtimes may be more susceptible to weight gain due to greater daily caloric intake and the consumption of calories during late-night hours.

A kind of no shit Sherlock moment really when you the think about it. The longer you stay up the more opportunity you have to munch down that 4th curly wurly or that 3rd bowl of crunchy nut (two personal favourites of mine).

So what in the world can be do to start spiting more zzzzs for longer. Here are 3 easy and hopefully straight forward tips to making counting sheep as enjoyable as counting 50s.

 

  1. Banning the blue light.

This a big one and while you might feel your phone actually helps you sleep science would firmly disagree. That light keeps you alert, focused and wondering about things you don’t need to wonder about at even the best of times. So no televisions in the bed room, no computers, no tablets and if possible no phones.

But Eoin my phone is my alarm!!! How in the world will I be able get up and catch the worm without it???

I know. I am the same and my solution is simple. Put it on airplane mode when you get into your room, set your alarm and place as far away as possible from your bed. Hopefully the temptation to check it will be diminished if you actually have to get out of the scratcher to go to it.

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  1. Brain dumping and dream enhancing.

While obviously sounding hilarious brain dumping can actually be a great head clearer and unwinding tool to help you hit the pillow peacefully. Solving your own problems as well as the worlds at 3am is never that enjoyable of a task so pre empting an energetic mind with some mental exercise just prior to sleeping can really help offset this.

I personally cannot recommend more a good book placed exclusively on your bedside locker. Along with dumping your thoughts into a journal a la brain dumping, reading about someone’s else’s life is a great escape that can leave you feeling extremely well rested and ready to melt away into your memory foam.

What type of book you should chose is obviously a matter of personal preference. Auto biographies of sports stars are my own bedtime reading books of choice.

 

  1. Quiet darkness.

Quiet desperation isn’t just how we spend our Sunday evenings, its actually quite useful for sleeping deeply and soundly. Black out blinds are a must. Plague your landlord, your parents or your spouse to get them. Failing that use a sleep mask. You can get them in the euro shop or the next time you are flying long haul just swipe the one the kindly hostess gives you. It terms of making your room as quiet as mass on midweek mornings that can be tricky.

Living with rowdy housemates, energetic kids or in a built up area can contribute all sorts of unwanted noise at unwanted times. Well insulated walls, doors and having the head of the bed placed as far away as possible from the door are minor things that can help. Personally I find ear plugs to be a god send and wear them almost every night. The issue people find with them though is the initial discomfort and the potential for long term reliance.

Find plugs that are mouldable like bees wax or silicone for comfort and just don’t wear them every night so you don’t become dependent on them for a good night’s sleep.

 

Closing thoughts on kipping hard

Its hard I know. I can only imagine what its like with babies and really small kids. 4 hours is literally the new 8. If you are one of those people, making sure your training energises you and not wreaks you is key. Making sure you have a monstrous stash of healthy snacks littered around the house might be vital to fail safe against those sleep deprived cravings.

A few more things you can try include a warm shower before bed, ensuring you have fresh sheets every week, having some scented candles at hand, eating something nice before knocking off (calories allowing) and just going to bed earlier can all help.

Its tough I know and it might feel nigh on impossible in your current situation. All is not lost though I promise. If you are doing some good towards your training and eating wise with zip sleep imagine what you could on consistent sleep. An encouraging thought that may help you dream easier and sleep harder.

References:

  1. Greer, Stephanie M., Andrea N. Goldstein, and Matthew P. Walker. “The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain.” Nature communications 4 (2013).
  2. Calvin, Andrew D., et al. “Effects of experimental sleep restriction on caloric intake and activity energy expenditure.” CHEST Journal 144.1 (2013): 79-86.
  3. Spaeth, Andrea M., David F. Dinges, and Namni Goel. “Effects of experimental sleep restriction on weight gain, caloric intake, and meal timing in healthy adults.” Sleep 36.7 (2013): 981-90.
  4. Wyse, Cathy A., Stephany M. Biello, and Jason MR Gill. “The bright-nights and dim-days of the urban photoperiod: implications for circadian rhythmicity, metabolism and obesity.” Annals of medicine