I read Shawn Stevenson’s book ‘Sleep Smarter’ a little over seven months ago, and it has changed my life completely. While I’m far from implementing all the habits changes recommended in ‘Sleep Smarter’ the one’s I have adopted have already boosted my productivity immensely.

I use to hate going to bed because I was always working on something new or watching impact theory on youtube. I was so caught in the “no sleep” mentality that it started affecting my health. I would wake up every morning feeling exhausted and worse than the night before and for some reason I was never tired during the night. For many years I thought this behaviour was normal because everyone around me seemed to be doing the same thing. One night like many before I came across an interview on impact theory on the benefits of sleep. Shawn Stevenson spoke with such passion and clarity of all the benefits sleep had. Right away I ordered his book.

After reading Shawn’s book and implementing most of his strategies I can most certainly say that everyone should be investing in their sleep. Here are some of the reasons why:

Muscle Regeneration

As a professional soccer player I have to recover my body as fast as possible to be able to endure the constant training and hard tackles that often occur in practices and games. When you have a really hard training session whether that’s on the pitch working with your team, or an individual training session in the gym. You enter into what is called an elevated catabolic state. Which means you breakdown your muscle tissue. In order for your body to fully recover you need proper nutrition, hydration and adequate sleep. When you have a deep and restful sleep during the night, your body has the ability to recuperate your muscles and make them stronger by entering an anabolic state.

“Being awake is a catabolic state meaning it breaks you down and sleeping is an elevated anabolic state which heightens your growth and rejuvenation of the immune, skeletal and muscular system. Basically, sleep rebuilds you and keeps you youthful”.

So no matter how hard you train on the pitch or in the gym if you are not allowing your muscles to fully recover with deep and uninterrupted sleep you will never be able to see the results you work so hard for.

Decision making

Have you ever made a silly mistake in your regular life or in your occupation that you knew you should have seen coming miles away and could have easily avoided? If you are anything like me it takes me days to get over a simple mistake that I know I should have seen coming. As a Professional footballer you need to be alert and focused during practices and games. As you move up in levels you realize that the time and space on the ball is very limited. You constantly need to check your shoulder before receiving the ball or move into a space where you can receive and keep your team in possession. The issue is: if you are sleep deprived the chances of making those simple mistakes go up tremendously. “Research shows that just after 24 hours of sleep deprivation, there is an overall reduction of 6% in glucose reaching the brain. Simple translation: you get dumber. This is also why you crave candy, chips, doughnuts, and other starchy, sugary things when you’re sleep deprived”

We can get into the whole topic of nutrition another time. But what you have to realize is that if you ever want to evolve in your career or in life in general you have to invest in your sleep.

We live in a society where being exhausted from work and going the extra mile is highly celebrated so most of us already know how to grind and work extremely hard. However we are not very good at winding down and taking some time to recharge. “it’s important to remember that there is a big difference between “working” and actually being effective.”

The best in the world take their sleep seriously. why won’t you?

LeBron James Recently came out with a master class on the mindfulness app Calm

called “Train Your Mind” in which he stated, “There is nothing more valuable to my body, to my recovery, to my career and even just my happiness than sleep. what’s crazy is the most powerful thing you can do for your health it’s also the most natural thing you can do.” he continue to explain the importance of his sleep routine and said, “When I don’t get the proper sleep, I know what happens. My recovery plan gets thrown off, I start to feel lethargic, my mental game slips and my thinking gets narrow. like I lose control of my options in certain situations.”

So how can we actually sleep better?

Avoid Blue light emitting devices such as cell phone or TV at least 90 minutes before bed. Blue light Suppresses the production of melatonin which is the hormone that helps to regulate your sleep. You can also buy a pair of blue light blocking glasses and wear them at night.

Try to create a sleeping sanctuary. avoid having your cellphone in your room or at least put it on airplane mode if your need it as your alarm. Read a book instead before bed.

Make sure the temperature in your room is little cool rather than warm. research suggests that sleeping in colder temperature actually helps you sleep better.

Create a sleeping routine. Have you ever noticed that when you schedule something important you always find the time to complete it. Schedule your sleep. “What gets schedule gets done.”

Tags : sleep