WHY YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO GET 8 HOURS OF SLEEP A NIGHT
Here’s the understatement of the year: sleep is important. And while many of us dream about getting ten hours of sleep a night or indulging in a nap on a weekend, typically it’s the first thing that gets compromised in the face of a busy schedule. If you need to fit in a workout, it feels like cutting into your morning rest is the likeliest option for making that happen. If you have more work to do, a quiet house at 11pm is probably calling your name. But sleep is one of the most crucial parts of your routine when you’re aiming to achieve sustained peak performance. TB12 Body Coach Paul Hagerty (LAc, CSCS) says that some studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to lower levels of testosterone (in men), and higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can actually zap your energy. “Sleep is where your body and your tissues all recover,” says Hagerty. “If you want to reach your full potential and achieve sustained peak performance, you need to give yourself the proper recovery time the night before. In order to get stronger, you need to eat and rest appropriately.” If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’re not able to reach your full potential, he says. It’s as simple as that.
Sleep is so important that we’re making it our mission to revamp your sleep routine so you can get more of it, with a change that focuses on getting at least eight hours of shut eye a night.
For the next 12 days, you’re going to make it a priority to get eight hours of sleep every single night. It might sound impossible, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. After 12 days, you’ll see an increase in your physical and mental energy. And you’ll have the evidence to justify continuing the habit going forward!
THE KEY TO ZZZZS
Whether you fall asleep the second your head hits the pillow or find yourself up and down all night long, most people can use a little help winding down before bed, or making the most of your shuteye. Here are three tips for making time for your rest, and maximizing your relaxation.
Work backwards for your schedule. First things first, instead of thinking about when you’d ideally go to bed, think about your next morning. What time will your alarm go off to get you where you need to go? Once you know that, Hagerty recommends working backwards to find out your bedtime. And then comes the hard part. You have to stick to it. If your alarm is going off at 6am, your bedtime is 10pm — no excuses!
Now that you know your non-negotiable bedtime, Hagerty suggests setting yourself up for success by spending the last hour before bed — whenever that is — preparing to have the most restful sleep possible. Check your email for the last time at least an hour before bed, close your computer, leave your phone outside your bedroom, and create a stress-free environment for sleep. You can do whatever you want for your pre-bed hour, as long as it’s relaxing.
Hagerty recommends trying this breathing exercise to get yourself to wind down. Breathe in for five seconds, then breathe out for five seconds. As you’re breathing, place your hands above your bellybutton to feel the rise and fall of your diaphragm. Continue this for three minutes — and if you have trouble making it that long, start with one minute and work your way up from there!