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Sleep On Your Way To Success

Updated on April 3, 2019
Hacicu Bogdan profile image

Bogdan is a Sports and Physical Education student, football player and a person on his way of becoming the strongest version of himself.

"Sleep is the best meditation."

— Dalai Lama

Everybody needs sleep

Sleep is that quiet moment our body needs to recover and recharge in order to get ready for a new day full of energy consuming and catabolic activities that we usually have to do so we can reach the goals we set.

Having said that, it is clear that to do those activities, we want our body to work at its best everyday so we can be as efficient as we can. This is the part where sleep plays a big role so it is a good idea to optimize our sleep and sleeping habits accordingly to the degree of the energy we ask our bodies to hand out.

Unfortunately, in today's fast-paced society, sleep gets a secondary importance to other things like work, fun or activities that bring joy to us.

The thing is, the human body developed its natural circadian rhythms well before the finding of fire or tools, and as Paul Chek says in his book The Last 4 Doctor You'll Ever Need, in modern society people get ninety minutes less sleep every night than people living a hundred years ago.

Research studies suggest that the sleep between 10 P.M. and 2 A.M. is the most refreshing cycle and the most efficient for physical recovery (muscles, joints, bones and organs) and after that begins the cycle involving the nervous and hormonal system.

With those in mind, let's talk about the benefits of a good night's sleep and the side effects of poor sleep.

Source

Sleep and success

First off, let's see how optimizing sleep can get us on top of our game and help us reach the success we're striving for.

  1. Sleep is crucial for learning and memory
  2. Aids in perfecting motor skills
  3. Keeps a strong immune system
  4. Facilitates weight loss
  5. Improves concetration and productivity
  6. Promotes emotional stability
  7. Maximizes athletic performance
  8. Spurs creativity
  9. Sharpens attention
  10. Lowers stress


As you can see there are quite a few sleep benefits and all of them are on our side when it comes to becoming the strongest version of ourselves and reaching success.

Poor sleep and success?

We've already established that a good sleep has the potential to skyrocket our achievements but now we should ask ourselves the following question:

Can a poor sleep have the same "benefits" as a good sleep?

To find that out let's look for some side effects of sleep restriction:

  1. Increased hunger and appetite
  2. Contributes to weight gain and obesity
  3. Increased Inflammation
  4. Promotes disease
  5. Greater risk of heart disease and stroke
  6. Associated with depression
  7. Poor athletic performance
  8. Kills sex drive
  9. Low energy
  10. Mood changes


Is this looking like a good strategy for living and enjoying the life you want, achieving goals and reaching the ultimate success?

In my opinion it isn't even close to what I'm striving for.


Source

Now that we know sleep is very important for our overall health and has effects on every domain of our life, the questions are....

Do we prioritize sleep as we should?

Are our sleeping habits helping us to take on daily activities with our body at full capacity?

The answer is different for each of us. Some treat sleep as a religion and others as a hobby. It is well known that most young people feel like they have all the energy in the world. It's like energy flows through their veins. This is the time when the desire is to discover and experience as many things as they can so sleep is something done just for recharging batteries, just like phones, the difference being in the fact that the human body has other needs like nutrition, hydration, movement etc.

Going further you may ask yourself how many hours of sleep does one need?

The general recommendation is 7-8 hours/night but in reality it depends. Since every one of us is unique, the hours of sleep that will give us the best results depend on many variables like:

  • sex
  • age
  • lifestyle
  • daily activities
  • exercise intensity
  • athlete/ non-athlete

My invitation to you is to experiment and see which one works best for you. Some people can cope extremely well with 6 hours of sleep a night while others need 9 hours to feel refreshed.

To form a general image, I will leave below a chart with the hours of sleep recommended for every age by the National Sleep Foundation.

Period of life
Hours of sleep recommended
Newborns (0-3 months)
14-17
Infants (4-11 months)
12-15
Toddlers (1-2 years)
11-14
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
10-13
School age children (6-13 years)
9-11
Teenagers (14-17 years)
8-10
Younger adults (18-25 years)
7-9
Adults (26-64 years)
7-9
Older adults (65+ years)
7-8

How many hours a night do you sleep?

See results

Sleep Improvement Tips

Now that we've learned how important sleep really is, the benefits of sleep that can help reach your full potential, the downsides of poor sleep and how many hours of sleep do we need for maximal improvement, all that remains is to look for ways to optimize our sleep.

Without further ado let's see what methods can help you make sleep a priority and get the most refreshing and rejuvenating sleep that you can get.

1. Have a regular bed time

By doing so your circadian rhythm gets used to this routine and it knows that you better be sleepy when the time to get in bed comes.

2. Wake up when the sun rises or around 6 P.M.

3. Reduce exposure to artificial light and electromagnetic radiation

You can do this by unplugging any electrical device like radios and alarm clock before bed. Also stop using your computer and phone 1-2 hours before bed or at least if you use them try some blue light filtering programs.

4. Practice mindfulness and meditation

This way you relax you body and increase melatonin levels, the hormone responsible for sleep.

5. Exercise

Physical activity is known to promote better sleep by decreasing your cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Be careful though to not overdo it.

6. Keep a dark and cold room

It is essential to have a comfortable environment when sleeping so pull the curtains on your windows since any amount of light can disrupt your sleep. People also sleep better when the temperature of the room is between 60-65°F (15-18°C).

7. Avoid naps during the day

There are people like me who have a really difficult time falling asleep at night if they've already taken a nap during the day.

8. Shower or bathe before bed

It gives you that clear and fresh relaxing state.

9. Listen to relaxing music

10. Do some journaling

Going to sleep with your mind full of thoughts that cultivate anxiety, stress and negative emotions isn't the most intelligent thing to do. Instead, take 15 minutes before bed to write the things that went well that day, things that you are grateful for and even plan the next day for a better management of your time.

Go to sleep with the sunset, wake up with the sunrise
Go to sleep with the sunset, wake up with the sunrise | Source

Watch your mouth

From a nutrition standpoint, here are some proposals for a pre-bed eating routine:

1. Look for tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps the brain get into a relaxed state, which makes it easier for you to fall asleep. Some sources of this amino acid are meats like turkey, chicken, lamb, beef (look for the best quality when buying those), nuts, fish, cheese, 100% sprouted grains.

2. Relax with CALCIUM

Calcium helps the cells in the brain to make melatonin. If you tolerate milk, a glass of cow milk with a pinch on turmeric and cinnamon can do wonders, or a warm glass of goat's milk kefir.

3. Magnesium

High levels of magnesium are known to induce a deeper sleep. Foods known for their magnesium content are dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and sprouted grains.

4. Valerian Root

This is another plant that has the potential of inducing sleep, by increasing the amount of gamma aminobutryic acid (GABA).

5. Tea

Last but not least, caffeine-free tea has been shown to increase glycine levels, thus relaxing nerves and muscles. Some options could be chamomille, peppermint or passionfruit.


Promotes relaxation in individuals leading a hectic lifestyle and helps support restful sleep

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Hacicu Bogdan

Comments

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    • Hacicu Bogdan profile imageAUTHOR

      Hacicu Bogdan 

      6 weeks ago from Cluj-Napoca, Romania

      Glad you found this helpful, Thelma!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 weeks ago from Germany and Philippines

      I need to sleep at least 7 hours per night or else I would not be in good shape and very unproductive. Thanks for sharing this very informative hub.

    • Hacicu Bogdan profile imageAUTHOR

      Hacicu Bogdan 

      5 months ago from Cluj-Napoca, Romania

      @C E Clark I don't even know what to say about sleeping only 1-4 hours. On one hand it is good if you can cope with so little sleep but on the other hand I don't think your body is happy with this.

      Anyway I'm glad that you found this helpful and THANK YOU for your support!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 months ago from North Texas

      Lots of great information on sleep! Sadly, not everyone has control over the amount of sleep they get or when they get it. I sleep whenever I can. That is, day or night. Even so I'm lucky to get 2-4 hours of sleep in the winter, and 1-2 in the summer. I know this situation will probably do me in one of these days, but I have no control over it.

      It's true that most people seem to think sleep is a luxury and that it doesn't matter how much you get, because it's wasting time that could be spent doing something productive, however sleep itself is productive as you point out in this article, and a person who gets enough of it is likely to be more productive also.

      Posting this article on Facebook and on Awesome HubPages.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      6 months ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      A well written hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      6 months ago

      Interesting. I didn't know about the 10-2 cycle. I have moved to a later work schedule and a later sleep schedule. Yikes!

    • Hacicu Bogdan profile imageAUTHOR

      Hacicu Bogdan 

      6 months ago from Cluj-Napoca, Romania

      @Debra Roberts I'm glad that you solved your problems and can enjoy life now!

    • Deb Vesco Roberts profile image

      Debra Roberts 

      6 months ago from Ohio

      Sleep and I are natural-born enemies. I have struggled with it since childhood. At the age of about 43, I sought out the help of a sleep therapist and through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) I was able to learn how to use my mind to control my sleep habits, along with practicing good sleep hygiene. It didn't help that I was a night shift nurse for about 15 years when my kids were little. I also took my worries to bed with me...family issues, work problems, debt concerns, kid safety, my marathon running...I solved the world's problems the second my head hit the pillow. Between the CBT and getting out of my 25-year marriage (which wasn't horrible, just unfulfilling), marrying someone as adventurous and thought-out as myself, changing work shifts, and having a spouse that likes to cuddle, all remedied much of my bad sleep habits. People take for granted the beauty of a good night's sleep when it comes easy for them...but if you struggle, it's an ongoing nightmare. Great topic and well-done!

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