Real Food Challenge Prepwork Day 4

Today we’re going to talk about another big topic — one that has a huge impact on your general health, the amount of body fat you carry, your mood, and your appetite! Are you curious what this mystery topic is yet?

Sleep.

Yes, SLEEP!

Before you dismiss the contents of this message please hear me out.

Selling people on more and better sleep should be as easy as selling them on more and better sex. For some damn reason that is not the case however and I receive significant pushback when I tell folks to prioritize their shut-eye.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead!”

“Sleep is for the WEAK!!”

These are common refrains you might get when pushing your nefarious agenda of more rack-time.

Ok, first let’s talk about why sleep is so important and then we’ll talk about some steps to help you get the best sleep possible.

Sleep deprivation mimics many elements of the aging process. One could make the argument that how you feel when you are sleep deprived is likely how you will feel if you are both diabetic and old (sleep deprivation dramatically impacts insulin sensitivity).

Improved sleep time and quality will help you: Lean out, avoid depression, autoimmunity, heart disease…it might even help you be a better athlete.

What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?

Emotional impairment: Research indicates that sleep deprivation negatively affects mood and emotional stability.

Cognitive impairment: One night of inadequate sleep affects driving safety as much or more than driving with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit.

Shift work has been on the CDC list of known carcinogens for quite some time. Right next to cigarettes and paint thinner.

So, how do you get the best Sleep possible? You practice Sleep Hygiene.

Here are 5 tips for Sleep Hygiene

  1. Sleep in a pitch black room. If you need to scare your neighbors into thinking you run a meth lab in your house due to covering the windows with aluminum foil, DO IT.
  2. Avoid watching television or reading in bed — your bed should be for sleep and sex only. But do remember you CAN have sex elsewhere…
  3. Avoid working on your computer or other devices. If you must do computer work in the evening download f.lux, a program that will change the color of your computer screen (omit blue light) according to the time of day.
  4. Avoid paying bills, reading emails or having stressful discussions for at least 2 hours before bed. I dearly love my wife but this was nearly a breaking point for us as she tends to “ruminate” before bed and used to ask me business/planning questions before bed. After seeing me freak out a few hundred times she realized this was counter productive on a lot of levels. Get a notepad to record all your obligations and write them down so you can tackle them the following day. You are getting ready for bed, your best bet for effectively tackling the things you need to do is to get a good night’s sleep.
  5. Make sure there are no LED or other lights (alarm clocks, etc) in your room. Please see recommendation #1 above (folks never take this seriously…it works! Get after it!)

Athletes and gym goers should also keep in mind that working out in the evening can make it difficult for some folks to fall asleep (increases your heart rate and body temperature)

Food and Sleep go hand in hand

It sounds so simple: eat real food and prioritize your sleep. But sometimes simple is the best answer to a complex problem. The good news is that once you get going it gets easier. The better you eat, the better you’ll sleep. And sleeping better means fewer food cravings, better mood and energy levels etc.

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