I have been seeing a ton of stuff lately that goes something like this:
“The snooze button is the enemy.”
“Not getting up to your alarm sets you up for failure.”
“You snooze, you lose!”
While I think there is a valid point trying to be made here, this the of thinking addresses just a symptom and not the root cause. Perhaps missing your alarm can impact your day; you may be late to a meeting or miss your morning workout, but again the cause is mot likely a deeper issue. More that likely you are not sleeping enough.
Now if you believe that you function best on 4-6 hours of sleep nightly, or you make up for the sleep on the weekends, stop reading this page immediately and check out what a leading sleep expert, Dr. Kirk Parsley, has to say on the subject. I recommend you start here.
I am going to assume if you are still reading you believe that you should be getting around 8 hours of sleep each night. Great! Now, how can we accomplish that? Should we go ahead and set that alarm a little bit later? Heck no! I am a big believer that the early bird gets worm. I also think that everyone should allow themselves ample time each morning to complete a morning routine and not have to rush out the door.
The simple answer to more sleep is to go to bed earlier. Keep in mind simple does not mean easy, and there will be plenty of challenges that will try to keep you from reaching your goals. Such is life. Learn to face the challenges and prioritize your time better. You may have to wait til the weekend to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones (a personal favorite that you should be watching), but your overall health will thank you.
Let’s imagine that you decide to be part of the 5 am club and take the earliest General Fitness class that we offer at HB. Good on you! Nothing says you are ready to win the day than getting in a hard workout first thing. We will assume that to be ready for a 5 am class, you will need to wake up at 4 am so you come prepared to crush the training session. So let’s work backwards. A 4 am wake-up with 8 hours of good sleep has you asleep by 8 pm. Notice I said asleep, not in bed. A lot of people I speak with tell me how they go to bed early each night and still can’ manage quality sleep. The problem is they don’t go to sleep. They go and watch their last two hours of television in their bed (possibly one of the worst things you can do for your sleep hygiene).
Without taking much more of your time, here are three simple steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene and overall health:
1. Admit to yourself that you probably do not sleep enough, especially if you train hard.
2. Work backwards when determining the best time for you to go to bed. Don’t demonize your alarm clock. We all have lots to do each day, but not much that we should sacrifice our health for.
3. Remove any blue light from the bedroom. Ideally, avoid any exposure to bright lights – your TV, cell phone, computer, etc – an hour or two before you head to bed. (hard i know, but its the small steps that count) For more info on blue light, read this article from Harvard Medical School.
Getting more sleep is a simple thing we can all do to improve our health. Keep in mind however that simple does not mean easy.
Be Strong and Sleep Well