This article is about the 6 core factors that affect how well you sleep and how much energy you will restore each night. It’s not all the factors that affect your sleep performance as that would be a pretty long post. Rest assured though, these six factors, if you master them, will go a long way towards advancing your life.
Sleep is potentially one-third of your life or more.
Yes, that is, if you want to be living the advancing life grounded in that creative substance, the life force that animates you and powers all of your personal activity; mostly free of all the dysfunction that takes place when your energy is depleted and you’re trying to function and perform well but can’t very well because you’re dependent on your will, fight or flight stress hormones and a state of health and well-being that’s just getting crushed.
That’s a dramatic way of saying, to live the advancing, forward moving, upward spiraling life, and not get stuck in vicious cycles and downward spirals, we must learn how to live with optimal energy levels at the core of the way we live our lives. Understanding fatigue science and energy management is the key to sound lifestyle management and that starts with making sure you are getting a great night sleep every night.
Get sleep right and everything else in your life can go right.
I know, it seems so unfitting to think that seemingly doing nothing, enables you to do everything but it’s true.
When we talk about performance lifestyle for the purposes of living the advancing life, while there are so many ideas you’ll learn that will amaze you, grab your attention and take you on the ride of your life, none of these superpowers are possible if you are not getting enough sleep.
So instead of saying that sleep is not sexy, I’m going with a different narrative. Sleep is sexy, no only in the sense that I guarantee you will feel sexier when you are full of energy, but it’s sexy in the sense that sleep and the optimization of your life to make sure you get enough and the quality of sleep you need every night, delivers more than anything can in this world.
Why is simple, because everything else in life depends on you having enough energy to either process, function and act upon it, in order to deliver. And while sleep is not the only form of recuperation, it is the bedrock and you need enough of it.
Before I deliver the 6 factors that affect how well you sleep and how much energy you will restore, here’s a quick story.
For years as an entrepreneur of various kinds—health and fitness, tech, the Internet, lifestyle—I always thought that I was getting enough sleep. I had plenty of stories and a whole spiel about how well I sleep. That said, silently, I kept quiet about how tired I felt nearly all the time. Sure I would have those couple hours each day where I felt pretty good, otherwise, I didn’t feel very energetic.
Few knew about my condition because I would compensate with super stimulating behavior and always staying busy. I even built a personality to cover up my fatigue. I hated feeling tired and left to my own worsening condition, in retrospect, I would want to sleep more, take many more breaks and at least half my weekend off and would require regular vacations every couple of months. Imagine that, crazy huh?
Of course, that’s not crazy, that’s normal, but to me, there was too much to accomplish and achieve and I did not have time for that right now. I would do that after I achieved my goals. I knew the importance of sleep… but that’s where it stayed.
At least I was getting 8 hours of sleep.
Or was I?
When I learned about the difference between total time in bed and actual time asleep and started to understand fatigue science and energy management, the role these insights and disciplines played in one’s performance, I had a reality check. I wasn’t getting nearly 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Matter of fact, I was getting on average 6.8 hours of sleep.
Now you may be thinking, “wow,” I wish I was getting 6.8 hours of sleep” and if you are saying that you need to contact my office immediately because you’ve got to resolve that for reasons that are more inspiring than therapeutic, though both indeed. You see, we’ve been hearing that we need to get 7-9 hours of sleep or more for decades. But that’s not total time in bed, that’s time actually asleep and the range depends on how much energy you are spending during the day.
Lebron James get’s up to 12 hours of sleep a day and that’s one and one very key reason why he performs so well. Just keep in mind that most people nowhere near an elite athlete put out at least as much energy as Lebron does if not more with life and career (business) responsibilities on a daily basis even if they’re not into sports or a fitness enthusiast; so that should tell you something.
If you’re a driven goal and success oriented person today, and you’re struggling to get even 7 hours of sleep a night on average, and are in many cases getting far less on various nights of the week if your average is anywhere close to my previous usual average of 6.8; there is little doubt you are suffering from sleep (energy) debt and it’s either distracting and holding you back or compromising your performance, health and well-being.
Percentage of adults in the U.S. who reported they get enough sleep as of January 2017, by age
Well, I was struggling and for a long time, and it’s taken a while to fully come to terms with what it really takes to ensure I get at minimum of 7, but ideally 8-10 hours of recuperation during every 24 hour period; the combination of mostly sleep, but also naps, recovery time, relaxation and the essential rejuvenation periods that are required even if I/you’re getting great sleep on a regular basis.
I know of nothing that can deliver greater and more transformative performance results than getting adequate sleep in your life. It’s why I have made it part of my mission to help people understand fatigue and energy science, and master the key factors so essential to spending that one-third of your life sleeping well so that the other two-thirds are amazing!
So here 6 Core Factors That Affect How Well You Sleep
- When you go to bed and wake up (aligning with circadian rhythm). This is a big deal; it’s when you get the sun and then stop taking in blue light that directly affects how neurotransmitters are functioning inside your brain and body and this directly affects your energy level on the uptick and downtick; as directly as it gets.
- Carving out a larger total time in bed so that you get more hours of “actual sleep,” (sleep quantity). Sounds simple I know, but that’s why in Performance Lifestyle training, learning the what, why and when are essential, but also the practical realities of how.To quote a friend and associate, Cindy McCormick who has been a student of Performance Lifestyle training for some time, and is one of those people who learns and applies without delay, when faced with the prospect of logging more sleep time, as part of our Sleep Performance Training; she said…”Hi, John! Are you saying an additional 1 hour and 20 minutes? That will take some rearranging, but I am willing to try it and see if it makes a difference – this has been interesting so far!”
Yes, even adding in an extra hour takes some planning and insight. You’re talking about freeing up 9 hours and 20 minutes a week. That’s more than a day. Now you know why optimizing every aspect of your lifestyle is so important.
- Restoring your body from accumulated sleep debt (energy debt) as we call it. This may be one of the most difficult but rewarding disciplines there is as today as we’re all living in energy debt to some degree due to putting out more energy than we recuperate each day. More than 33 percent of the population is not getting even 7 hours of sleep a night, as I can attest; and a sleep deficit is a performance killer.
- Take pre-sleep actions – such as what you eat (are you up peeing multiple times a night?) and when you finish eating, type and when you finish exercising, get your sleep environment right, take a warm shower, minimize sound, sound, take in red and amber light, etc, to ensure you limit (wake episodes) during the night.
- (Sleep wake consistency) one of the tougher elements given our work loads and world, but one of the main ideas in living performance lifestyle is establishing a default structure, even if you’re not bound to it, it averages out.
- Understanding optimal energy levels peak, buffer, regeneration (time of day/week) and making sure the actions you take during these times are consistent with your energy level so as not to incur more energy debt.