What if you could choose to be more clever, healthier, more attractive, and better in bed while warding off cancer? What if we told you that it is the one thing that every person on Earth needs and something that you do every single night?
In the past two weeks, we explored how to take control of your energy levels. We began with establishing a solid morning routine that leverages our natural circadian rhythm and stress cycle. We dove into harnessing the power of reward centers of our brains (thank you, dopamine and serotonin for the support!) through the practice of inserting gratitude checks throughout the day to lift our mood. Now, the final piece of the puzzle lies in our energy-boosting recovery habits.
In the third part of the #ChosenInsightSeries on Taking Control of Your Energy, Chōsen Co-Founder John Stanton uncovers how our universal need for slumber is the crucial ingredient of optimal productivity. He shares his personal habits, a.ka., actionable steps, on how you can fall back in love with sleep.
New scientific discoveries in the last 20 years have shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Sleeping 7-8 hours a night consistently can make us healthier, safer, smarter, and more productive. It improves learning, memorization, and the ability to make logical decisions. Sleep boosts our mood and energy levels. It revitalizes our immune system, supports a healthy libido, fine-tunes our metabolism, regulates our appetite and hormones, prevents cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.
We keep going: sleep slows the effects of aging; increases longevity; and increases efficiency, success, and productivity. The list goes on!
During one of our signature Chōsen Experiences in Bali, John was sitting with one of the most accomplished Olympians in history, Michael Klim: Olympic gold medalist, father, entrepreneur, and an integral member of the Chōsen programming team. One of the impressive attendees, an innovator and business leader, asks Michael: "Michael. I want to perform like you. What is your secret?" He replies, "I sleep 8.5 hours every night, always have." To which the guy replied, "Yeah, yeah, but what if I can only afford 4-5 hours of sleep a night? I have to be productive, you know. What would you recommend to do to make sure that I can perform at my best? How do I bio-hack this problem?" Michael grins and says, "Sleep time is productive time; there is no substitute!"
"For most of our modern times, being successful equaled working harder, sleeping less, and sacrificing mental and physical health for monetary rewards. Today, science shows that prioritizing recovery advances your goals more than burning your longevity to the ground in pursuit of it," adds John.
So how can we trigger our body and mind to wind down and recover for a cleverer, healthier, more attractive, and happier version of ourselves? Here John's top five neuro-designed, Olympian-approved actionable tips that you can try starting tonight (he does these himself!):
1. DIM THE LIGHTS
Cortisol wakes us up in the morning while Melatonin helps put us to bed. When we are consistently engaging our brains in the evening and keeping ourselves busy with bright lights and electronic devices that emit blue light, we unknowingly trick our circadian rhythm into thinking that it is still daytime. This delays our much-needed Melatonin spike.
To trigger his body and mind to wind down and recover better, John turns off electronic devices an hour before bed (and an hour after rising!). He also dims the lights before bedtime, puts on some calming music, and sleeps in the dark.
2. TAKE A WARM BATH
Your body wants its core temperature low when you sleep. Taking a warm bath helps you "cool off" before bed. It dilates blood vessels, allowing your body to lose all that extra warmth. John likes an Epsom salt bath to further assist in athletic recovery, but a calming warm bath without will do in a pinch!
3. SLEEP IN A COOL ENVIRONMENT
The drop in temperature that coincides with the setting sun further supports our Melatonin trigger. For optimal sleep, John sets his bedroom temperature to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18.3°C.
4. SKIP BIG MEALS, STIMULANTS, AND SLEEP AIDS
Our Chōsen nutritionist, Elisa Haggarty, tells us to wait about three hours between our last meal and bedtime to allow digestion to occur and prevent heartburn and insomnia problems. When this isn't possible, John goes with a light meal and skips dessert.
As caffeine has an average half-life of five to seven hours, John recommends consuming caffeine only in the morning or early afternoon to help you fall asleep with ease. He has a 1:30 pm cut-off for himself and his favorite beverage: a single-origin, pour-over coffee.
Alcohol or sleeping pills don't help you sleep. Shocking, we know! They're akin to anesthesia which suppresses your REM sleep cycle and makes it difficult for your brain to do its memory consolidation work properly.
5. GO TO BED AT THE SAME TIME EVERY NIGHT
John didn't tell us what time he goes to bed every night ("It's early!" he says). Still, to awaken refreshed each morning, he has implemented a ritualized part of his sleep habits that is the most significant Melatonin trigger possible. He goes to bed at the same time every day. We recommend setting a "wind-down" alarm to help kickstart your evening ritual.
"Neuroscience has proven that sleep makes us cleverer, more attractive, happier, and healthier. When we harness the power of sleep, we optimize our health and wellbeing," says John.
For more information on how we can support you to bulletproof your resilience and optimize your lifestyle for increased performance, reach out to us, we would love to hear from you!
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