I decided to write a blog post about SLEEP..
I want to raise awareness of the paramount importance of getting good quality restorative shut eye.
Not only is rest and recovery an integral part of our daily self-care, I also believe that if we want to be optimal in our lives and FIRE journey it must be a priority.
It can a badge of honour for some people to express how little sleep they get and need. We all know people who shout from the roof tops while drinking a double expresso latte about how they champion through their weeks and months on only 5 hours, 4 hours or even pull regular all-nighters to quote
“Get the job done ..” you get the picture!.
Before I dive into my own thoughts and feeling about SLEEP importance on the Financial Independence journey, I am just going to tackle the macho argument as sleep drastically reduces a healthy young man’s testosterone levels, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Eve Van Cauter, PhD, professor in medicine and director of the study, identified men who slept less than five hours a night for one week in a laboratory had significantly lower levels of testosterone compared to when they had a full night’s sleep. Everyone knows how low testosterone has a host of negative consequences for men, not simply in sexual behaviour and reproduction. Testosterone is critical in building strength, muscle mass, bone density, general well being and much more.
“Low testosterone levels are associated with reduced well being and vigour, which may also occur as a consequence of sleep loss” said Van Cauter.
We have all been in a situation where we cannot quite put our finger on the solution and make a decision. We need to work through the problem. How many of you have heard the expression “Let me sleep on it?”. This is actually what happens when we get into true deep sleep phases, our brain actually becomes more active (unless you have a night cap) and starts to flush out the toxins and draw dots between the day’s activities in order to solve problems and process information.
We spend around a third of our lives asleep and we have dedicated rooms in our houses for this activity called ‘bedrooms’ so we cannot underestimate the importance of true rest and recovery.
From a mindset perspective good deep restful sleep can aid the reduction of cortisol the stress hormone and in turn sets us up the following day in a stronger position better able to handle the normal stressors as they come in.
On your FIRE journey you will need to make key decisions daily and at unexpected times, I believe that reducing our consumption of technology in the bedroom and putting our thoughts and tasks onto paper before bed whilst creating good sleep hygiene can put us into an optimal state for life.
I am privileged to be able to talk to some many people, interview and coach 121 nowadays. A common theme I am seeing amongst high performance people is the priority of deep restful sleep (not necessarily quantity), in addition to health and relationships.
If anyone is in doubt as to how tired some of us really are. A quick way to test is to cut out your consumption of all caffeine products for 72 hours (coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, supplements etc) and watch what happens to your mind and body during this time.
I came across a phrase used online which is “Wired and tired” and the more I look into this I see a global problem with more people turning to sleeping tablets etc.
A book I read recently and very much enjoyed is Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson which looks at 21 essential ways to sleep your way to a better body. I have added it to the list of books I recommend here.
So my thoughts on sleep are that it might be worth exploring this topic for some of us anyway who could perhaps tweak a few things and see if there are any improvements over time as a result on our FIRE journey and general health and well being. When we have a good night’s sleep we generally feel great!
Leading on from this post and moving into a future topic about being present in the moment, I want to link to a book I personally read a few years ago by Ekhart Tolle called The Power of Now click here
I would categorise the Benefits of Sleep under the Health Pillar as I personally find it has a positive impact on the the other 3 pillars when you jump out of bed ready to have life!
My 4 Pillars of Life (4 hour, 4 weeks) mini-program is now live and looks at specific subjects for each pillar.
A reminder of The 4 Pillars of Life;
If you are interested in this topic I have included a video by Shawn Stevenson who presented Sleep Smarter at Google, enjoy..