5 Evening Habits That Mess With Your Sleep

There is one aspect of your lifestyle that is more important than all others. It’s your sleep. And unless our nighttime routine promotes success, we suffer. Yes, not just you but those around you. And it is, to use an old success term, the “key” to human energy, health and performance.

Sleep is the bedrock for restoring your energy, and what we do in the evening impacts it more than anthing else. Your evening/nighttime routine will either mess up your sleep and ultimately deplete the level of energy you so depend on during your relentlessly busy days, shorting your action potential; or, it will make you powerful and give you grace!

Before we dive into the 5 evening habits that are messing up your sleep, first a little background.

Everywhere you look, there are health and success experts, trainers, strategists and thought leaders all focused towards great ends; wanting you to live a disease-free, healthy, higher achieving and fulfilling, quality of life.

That said, almost all overlook the life force energy that makes it all possible. And even fewer are talking about the lifestyle we’re living as a whole these days that results in us being so wiped out tired before the end of the day that we end up responding to stress in ways that create way more stress as we cope with exhaustion, which, crushes (in a bad way) our sleep quality.

That, of course, leads to a vicious cycle that can give way to other vicious cycles such as poor eating… and ultimately a hard-to-get-out-of downward spiral; as poor sleep quality undermines all our other lifestyle habits; and so it goes.

In response, and for a long time, I’ve been inspiring, educating and supporting people, typically the driven among us, on how to live in balance with vibrant health and peace of mind while achieving even our most ambitious goals, as a new kind of coach, a Performance Lifestyle Coach. It’s what gave rise to founding Performance Lifestyle® Inc and growing a team of people who will help you get all aspects of your lifestyle working for you (not just your nutrition and fitness), so you can better achieve what you’re up to in the world.

In other words, we help you get free of the hidden lifestyle challenges that distract and hold so many people back from living that disease-free, healthy, higher achieving and fulfilling, quality of life.

The difference between a Performance Lifestyle coach and any other type of “life coach,” is that we focus on your style of living for whole-life performance; not just obtaining the skills and knowledge needed to achieve specific personal or professional goals. For example, what’s the point of having the skills to achieve a specific goal, if you are suffering from fatigue and are not able to perform well, to begin with? 

Which, is our segue.

If there is one hidden challenge that is more challenge “ing” than all the others; a problem that is so pervasive even those who don’t realize they are suffering from it are likely suffering from it to some degree, affecting every other aspect of their lifestyle, and their capacity to stay healthy and succeed… It’s fatigue

I have known that for some time, particularly as a very driven person who suffered from fatigue for a very long time, but I must admit its taken years for me to appreciate how influential fatigue is and has been in my/our hard-charging lives. It’s also taken our company years not only to prioritize fatigue and energy management over all other aspects of human performance (psychology, nutrition, fitness…) but become knowledgeable in the “motherload metric” of fatigue (the flipside of energy) what and how important optimal sleep (for starters) is in limiting its daily and cumulative impact.

And above all the amazing insights we’ve learned as a company key scientific concepts and findings, understandings, nuances, principles, practicess, strategies including the use of technology to ensure we not only get enough and the right quality of sleep, but also manage our energy throughout our day’s, weeks and month for better results in our lives— none trumps the impact of fatigue more than the evening routine. 

Talk to almost anyone these days and you will discover a sleep problem; if not sleep apnea/like symptoms, there are too many awakenings due to an overactive mind, or simply not enough sleep. And, what should be obvious but is too rarely talked about, is how much energy we are spending these days.Today, more than 70 million people in America are struggling to get enough of the deep and regenerative quality sleep that makes our life work well, but we are also spending more energy each day than at times, 7-9 hours of sleep alone, can actually recover.

So let me be clear when it comes to energy, sleep is not enough, but you must get enough sleep!

Now, there is a much bigger conversation here, though in this journal post we’re identifying 5 common evening habits that are surely messing with your sleep. They are all part of your nighttime routine and your nighttime routine will determine the success of your sleep. So this journal post should inspire you to optimize your nighttime routine—the post-work, pre-bed period—which is critical to your sleep, or what we call “the bedrock of human energy, health, and performance.”

This will start you on the path to living a “performance lifestyle,” you can call your own, where you optimize the way you live as a whole, to support you and what you’re up to in the world.

5 Evening Habits That Are Messing With Your Sleep

Stuck tossing and turning when it’s time to sleep? Here are some surprising ways that you might be shortchanging your shuteye in the hours leading up to bedtime—and how to reverse course.

  1. You eat dinner too late.

We get it, you’re working late and late work hours can lead to late-night dining. But eating like you’re in Europe doesn’t make for quality sleep. That’s because your body does its best digestion when you’re upright—not curled up in bed and when you’re ok with your energy digesting food. On behalf of you, let’s just say, you don’t want to be ok with your body digesting food throughout the night.

Going to bed with a full stomach makes you seven times more likely to suffer from uncomfortable issues like acid reflux, sleep apnea, or heartburn that can keep you awake.

Also, sleep is for energy, and body regeneration, not digestion, which is energy intensive and distracts your energy away from regeneration, leaving you tired and less recovered in the AM. There is a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and hormones that will be blunted if you are eating too late at night. This is a big one.

       2. You watch TV in bed.

Exercise, like sun/light, earlier in the day, is great for your sleep. TV marathons, on the other hand? Not so much. Not only does the availability of endless episodes mean serious temptation to keep watching past your bedtime, and eat, but the blue light that the TV emits can disrupt your body’s natural melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep when it’s time.

Take your TV out of your bedroom tonight it’s a stimulant that is killing your sleep. Nothing like having a Walking Dead Zombie on your mind as you drift off into not so peaceful sleep, let alone the news.

We like to watch TV, at times, so if you do, be prepared to make changes on certain days that afford this time, so it does not take away from your sleep.

       3. You go to sleep with your smartphone in the room. 

Phones and tablets are just mobile TV’s, they bring the same sleep-evading blue light into your bedroom as TV. But that’s not the only reason they can disrupt sleep. Checking your e-mail or scanning Facebook or other social media sites before bed can be a recipe for getting riled up with work stress or political posts—none of which is conducive to restful sleep. And as we have all learned it’s hard to stop.

Look, here at Performance Lifestyle, we look to live ideally, but we are not idealists. There are times to break every rule, particularly when other rules have been broken and you are in-fact coping. There are worse things you can do than watch America’s Got Talent on your iPhone before bed. I am the head coach of Performance Lifestyle Inc and I do so from time to time. You don’t want to make your iPhone or Android, a major way we interact with the world, the bad buy here. But we do need to work on our relationship with our devices as part of your performance lifestyle.

Do you have a relationship with your iPhone that’s supporting you and what you’re up to in the world? Or, is it distracting you, depleting you, and taking your time and attention away from what’s important to your health and success?

One reason we call this the “performance” lifestyle is that, while no doubt healthy, performance is based on energy first and foremost and to manage your energy, you must learn lifestyle management. Digital devices today are part of that management. You need to use them, they cannot take you over.

    4. Your midnight snack is sugar-central.

First, if you are eating, a whole food, plant-based nutrient-rich diet, you will not be driven for midnight snacks or snacking much at all.

Munching on cookies may seem innocent enough, after a hard day’s work, but all that refined sugar can take a toll on your sleep. The inevitable sugar crash, and worse, body cleansing that is always taking place, especially when you sleep, may leave you feeling ready to turn in, but unable to sleep.

Excess sugar can also cause middle-of-the-night awakenings as your body detoxifies, and you are both craving and uncomfortable. And that sets the stage for bleary-eyed mornings as you didn’t actually recharge during the night as your body dealt not only with the sugar but all the other food “stuff” that the sugar, and salt, and oil, etc came packed with.

If you are experiencing sleep apnea like effects where you breathing gets’s blocked, particularly when sleeping on your back then, first and foremost, look to your food choices and when you are eating.

    5. You are too tired at night and buffer poorly before bed. 

Yes, this is a habit. It’s a macro habit and more indicative of your daily routine. It’s getting too tired.

This can probably be the toughest thing to deal with at night. It’s ironical when you face how tired you really are, not how tired you think you are. When we slow down, this is called a buffering period. It’s the time period between the activity of the day and the inactivity during sleep. Years ago, before the Internet sped up the pace of life 10-fold, when we worked for 8 hours, had “life” for 4-8 hours and then slept for 8-12 hours we had a buffer period to wind down before bed.

Years ago, before the Internet sped up the pace of life 10-fold, when we worked for 8 hours, had “life” for 4-8 hours and then slept for 8-12 hours we had a buffer period to wind down before bed. Today we don’t have that buffer. With access to information the way we do, we are working or “spending energy” nearly all the time. Unless you make the time to buffer and change the way you work your days, weeks and months so that you are not so tired by nighttime you need food, tv and a bottle of wine, let alone sleeping pills just to get to sleep, then your sleep will be compromised.

Lack of buffering time is why people struggle with getting to sleep and get to sleep so late. They are simply too tired and it’s too uncomfortable to deal with the deep regeneration that takes place as you initially succumb to sleep. And this also creates an unhealthy association between stress and your bed as you toss and turn dealing with your exhaustion.

Final thoughts for now, 

As stated above, sleep alone is not enough today to maintain the surplus energy over and above the demands of our relentlessly busy days, but it is the bedrock. You must enough quantity
of sleep that is high quality, and consistently and we are going to help make this possible for you in your life.

Stay tuned. Ask the Lifestyle Coach will be starting soon, where you will be able to ask your most important questions and participate in monthly Q&A on all articles, journal posts and realization video’s from that month as you walk the Performance Lifestyle path that will uplevel the way you live and make possible the advancing life.

Author: 
John Allen Mollenhauer, known as John Allen or “JAM”, is the head coach and founder of Performance Lifestyle Inc. and a leading authority in healthy, performance living worldwide. He is Professional Coach who helps driven people live in balance with vibrant health and peace of mind while achieving even their most ambitious goals.

Schedule with JAM today to assess your present situation and determine the best course of action for you and or your company.

 

 

 

Sleep is the key to your success.

Why Sleep May Just Be Your Newest Highest Priority

Did you get more sleep in August?
Summer has come to an end, and we hope August was warm and good to you and that you got lots of sleep. August is the most rejuvenating month of the year and this year, it’s more important to our family than ever before.  We have another baby coming into our family in October, so this past month was the second to last month of our present life schedule without a new toddler that will definitely test our sleep skills.

Yes preparing for the family expansion is important, but making sure we are well rested going into this unpredictable period is even more important; in fact, it’s the most important. It’s also the reason why we slowed down big time in August and sleep became our newest highest priority.

Typically, and ironically, the one aspect of lifestyle that is often considered the most expendable is the most important. So important in fact that there isn’t one function in your life or my life that isn’t affected by either the surplus or depletion of energy that comes primarily from our sleep routine.

It’s why the entire Performance Lifestyle curriculum starts with learning how to establish optimal 7-9 hours or more of actual sleep, not total-time-in-bed. These are very different concepts and one depends on the other. 

For years I thought I was getting the “8 hours of sleep” we all hear so much about by going to bed at 10 PM and waking up at 6 AM. Assuming I fell asleep the minute my head touched the pillow (which would not be a good sign), and, that I didn’t wake up not once the entire time, I would have been correct in getting 8 hours of sleep.

But does that sound likely to you?

Hardly! 

And now in retrospect, the answer to “why in the heck was I so tired all the time?” is clear. 

In actuality, I was getting approximately 6.3 hours of sleep or less based on testing. No wonder I felt tired virtually all the time, for decades, despite having relatively optimal nutrition and excellent exercise habits. The only exception to feeling tired all the time, was when I was super stimulated, which was probably why that was my aim near all the time as an entrepreneur and athletic person. The over stimulation of constantly going camouflaged my fatigue to a large extent for a long time, but it only covered it up. When I wasn’t in high gear mode I was exhausted beyond measure. 

That’s the truth.

There may be many ways to explain that feeling of fatigue and low-grade anxiety that persisted within me for years, but one thing I can now tell you with certainty, being short nearly two hours of sleep per night for probably 4 decades was not helping my plight.

2 hours of energy debt, (depletion due to lost sleep) per night compounded over years will take a massive toll on your life (I am no exception) and the worst thing is; virtually nobody will catch it.

Your fatigue, your bodies malfunctions, your desire to over eat and be inactive and that feeling of being a little “cookoo for coco puffs” etc… will be blamed on your psychology, your nutrition, your everything else like a questionable purpose or passion for your job etc and all of these may have some merit; but few if any, will look into your sleep and how much energy you are regenerating each day in contrast to how much you’re spending.

If you’ve ever had the feeling of losing money, you know a little about what that feels like. It’s the same with personal energy only worse as you become more and more a shell of your former self, depleted of the life force you need to function, let alone succeed as a human being.

A few weeks back I wrote up an article called The 6 Core Factors That Affect How Well You Sleep. 
Read it again.
Sleep is that big of a deal, and of all the aspects and key concepts we will help you master here in Performance Lifestyle® training, sleep performance is numero uno. Everything else depends on it. 

At first take, it may seem to you, “ok, sure I need to sleep more but I have so much to take care of I can only get 6 hours of sleep.”

Mrs. Houston, you have a problem and I suggest to reconsider that story as taking care of everything else depends on your getting enough sleep. That’s obvious. Things have to change, and it’s not enough to just say that you’re going to get more sleep; there is way more to it than a passing consideration or resolution that will only ensure your current sleep routine continues selling you and your life short.

No matter what your present situation, you can get more sleep and even realize surplus energy to meet and exceed the demands on your energy, but it requires sleep among other keystone energy management habits.

To experience the surplus energy we aim to maintain in a performance lifestyle of our own making; get ready for a whole new view of sleep and what it takes to have optimal sleep performance that makes the rest of your life a lot more functional.

In the coming couple weeks, we’re going to begin helping you get that performance edge (surplus energy) everyone wants. We’re going to begin helping you beat fatigue and approach your life, your family and your career from a position of strength.

We’re going to help you get out of the red and into the green as you can see by the picture below. It’s not as easy as one may think at face value, as there are very few things that perplex people more than the subjective take they have on their own energy levels, their actual energy levels and what it takes to bridge the gap. There is a lot wrapped up in making sure that 1/3 of your life works so well, that the other 2/3’s are amazing.

Juts wait and see what happens. You’ll soon have a whole new sense of influence or control over your life and god knows success-oriented people love to know that. It’s why sleep may just become your newest, highest priority.

Fitness Tracker

The One Way to Get Better Results with Your Fitness Tracker

In 2016, 61 million wearable fitness devices—fitness trackers, activity, and sports trackers—were sold. Wearable tech is making its mark, especially when it comes to human performance. And it will continue to play a bigger role in our lives in the years to come.

The Value of Measuring Advanced Data

Fitness trackers measure a variety of standard data points, including calories burned, pulse, heart rate variability, body temperature, and steps taken. They can also measure advanced data like strain and recovery needs so you can “unlock human performance,” as Will Ahmed, CEO of Whoop states. I like that last feature as a central premise of a fitness tracker because learning how to live with optimal energy levels is the primary objective of Performance Lifestyle. To maintain optimal energy levels, you must understand how to manage stress and recovery.

In the athletic world, recovery means a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

Recuperation or regeneration are broader terms that include recovery, but also encompass the energy you need to restore or replenish to function and perform at capacity. Restoring human energy must take place systematically and regularly, in healthy ways, so you don’t get caught up in addictive and unhealthy lifestyle habits to try and keep pace with a busy life. And that is only possible when performance is a way of life.

The Impact of Fatigue

Athletes are more in tune with a performance lifestyle approach because they regularly prepare for events where officials, the media, and the public judge the results of their preparation. They can’t cover up their fatigue the way many non-athletes attempt to do because it will show in their performance in an accentuated way.

But you don’t need to be a sports or fitness enthusiast to recognize how fatigue impacts performance. It’s true for all of us. You can’t cover up fatigue for long.

Restoring Your Energy

Even in athletics, there is still a bias toward focusing more on sophisticated training systems than on the one thing that powers the results they are training to achieve—replenishing energy. Energy restoration guides the regeneration of all human capacities, from memory to muscle repair and more.

To get better results with your fitness tracker or sports tracker, you must sufficiently recuperate. Even the most sophisticated fitness tracker won’t do squat for you unless you have enough energy. Without adequate energy, you’ll just be the smartest person still suffering from the hidden lifestyle challenge of fatigue

This is why it’s of the utmost importance to track daily strain and recovery needs over all other metrics.

The New Big Thing

Performance Lifestyle Advisor Ian Jennings, renowned strength and conditioning coach and author of Coaches’ Guide to Enhancing Recovery in Athletes: A Multidimensional Approach to Developing a “Performance Lifestyle”  states that “fitness-fatigue theory is the basis of performance lifestyle training.”

He goes on to say, “Under-recovery will always compromise performance, and to be effective, any performance-enhancement program must ensure that recovery is as well-planned and programmed as the athletes training.”

This statement is true whether you’re into sports or not. You are always spending your life force energy and recuperating; it’s a never-ending process. And this is why I think measuring daily strain and recovery is the new big thing.

Getting Results with a Fitness Tracker

So what’s the one way to get better results with your fitness tracker? Optimize your lifestyle to make the behavioral changes you need to perform better. If you want the numbers to improve on your fitness tracker, this is the way to do it. You won’t see the progress you want unless you have enough energy to support your goals.

Fitness, sports, and activity trackers require changes in lifestyle and training to be effective. You need to leverage the data to make lifestyle changes that result in increased energy, health, and performance. Just knowing that you are taking 10,000 steps is probably the most common way to use a fitness tracker. But walking in and of itself is not a hard practice to master.

It’s the pulse rate, strain, recovery, and training metrics that require the biggest changes. Resolving the factors that result in excess strain and lack of recovery can be challenging because so many of us are performance addicted. The simple act of getting more sleep and managing recovery requires training so you know how to create boundaries and change your priorities to avoid incessant activity and make more time for recuperation.

With 123 million fitness trackers, activity trackers, and sports trackers expected to be sold by/in 2020, the march is on to do something with all this self-quantified data and knowledge about our behavior patterns. That something is performance lifestyle training and coaching.

Do you know what needs to change to alter the numbers and results in your life?

Combining Your Fitness Tracker with a Performance Lifestyle 

A performance lifestyle is all about optimizing your lifestyle to look, feel, and perform better. The emphasis is on the regular, systematic recuperation required in today’s performance culture so you can live with the optimal energy levels that make all three of those outcomes possible.

Every principle, practice, and strategy in a performance lifestyle is health-promoting as a given, not the end goal. This creates the framework you need to focus on your life goals without being distracted or held back by hidden lifestyle challenges.

One practical application for the data from your fitness tracker is to use it to guide the lifestyle optimizations you learn about in Performance Lifestyle training. Once you measure your performance using the credible and useful stats provided by wearable fitness trackers like Whoop or Fitbit; Performance Lifestyle training can help you move the needle and improve your numbers.

Human performance is not just a function of willpower and the psychological strength to get things done. It’s about knowing what powers the body and brain and employing the essential lifestyle skills to perform and succeed in a way that’s balanced and healthy.

Getting Started

Subscribe to The Rise newsletter. Plus you’ll get a free, abridged copy of The Rise of a New Lifestyle–Optimize Your Lifestyle to Look, Feel and Perform Better by Living in Balance For Vibrant Health and Peace of Mind While Achieve Even Your Most Ambitious Goals. 

To do that, you must master the primary requirement of human health and performance—regenerating your life force energy. Learn how to harness, maintain, manage, and sustain the vital performance energy that is consumed by stress throughout the day.

Fitness trackers typically give you a better understanding of what you’re doing with all your energy. But what are you doing to make sure you have enough energy? This is the reason we love Whoop as much as we do.

If you have a fitness tracker, get the most out of your wearable fitness device by signing up for Performance Lifestyle training. If you don’t have an activity tracker yet, you can get the tracker and the training together. With this combination, you have a powerful solution for successfully making changes in your lifestyle and “unlocking human performance.”

Are You Working Under the Influence—at risk of WUI

Another great article by Thea Lee— Field Studies Manager at Whoop, which will enhance your performance lifestyle.

Productivity: the cornerstone of capitalist America.  But how do we achieve that magical state? That optimal flow where deadlines are met, schedules grind forward at ever-increasing pace, and you’re staying on top of the competition?

The answer, most often, seems to require cutting corners on sleep. The average working American spends 9am-5pm at a job site (if not longer), commutes to and from work, and in what little free time remains will sprinkle in social time with friends and family, exercise, or any number of leisure activities of interest. After all, the more we fit into waking hours, the more we get done, right?

This logic certainly appeals to me. I’m notoriously bad at compromising, and why should I? If I manage my time right, I can balance exercise, socializing, some cooking (it’s a struggle), and reading, all in the non-work time frame.  As long as I’m in bed by midnight I’m getting some good sleep (it only takes one cup of coffee in the morning to get me going so that’s pretty good!). I don’t have kids so what’s my excuse not to optimize my time?

That schedule, however, has chronic partial sleep loss written all over it. And I would not be in the minority. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, published in February 2016, concluded that more than a third of American adults aged 18-60 years do not get enough sleep. The recommendation they cite, determined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, calls for at least 7 hours each night for optimal health. Your precise sleep need is much more individual than that (consult this white paper for more information) but the aforementioned 7-hour threshold is a good place to start when evaluating the average American’s schedule.

The reality is: if you’re operating with chronic sleep loss you’re not only functioning sub-optimally, you’re impaired. That may sound dramatic, and before last week I would have agreed with you. But then I read the article “Fatigue, Alcohol, and Performance Impairment” from the journal Nature.  In it, the researchers quantify the impact of fatigue due to sleep loss in terms we can understand: equivalent alcohol intoxication. For the experiment, a group of 40 participants was broken up into two groups: one group was kept awake for 28 hours, simulating pulling an all-nighter, and the other consumed 10-15g of alcohol at 30-minute intervals until their blood alcohol concentration reached 0.10%. Each group was given a performance task that required them to react as quickly as possible to visual cues randomly timed on a computer. The results were fascinating.

As you would imagine, the longer a person was kept awake, the worse they did on the performance task. The same, of course, was true for the subjects getting progressively more intoxicated. The correlation between the two groups, however, is the scary part. The researchers determined that after 17 hours of sustained wakefulness, performance on the task decreased to a level equivalent to a participant whose blood alcohol concentration was 0.05%. Further, after 24 hours of sustained wakefulness, performance on the task was equivalent to those with a BAC of 0.10%. For reference, you’ll get a DUI in every state if your BAC is 0.08%.

Stressed Man Working At Desk In Busy Creative Office; Shutterstock ID 130606217; PO: The Huffington Post; Job: The Huffington Post; Client: The Huffington Post; Other: The Huffington Post

Now you may think, “well those are extreme examples. I never stay up 24 hours straight.” And me neither, at least not since I moved from New Orleans. But consider the example I gave prior. In that scenario, I was waking up at 7 am, doing my work day, going out to see a friend, watching TV at home, and internet trolling until midnight when I’m off to bed. That’s not a day out of the ordinary and right there I’ve been awake for 17 hours. And, as we’ve now learned, without sufficient sleep to catch up, it is highly probable that I will show up to work the next day at the equivalent of tipsy, at the very least, and be bordering on cognitively drunk.

What’s worse, humans are decidedly poor judges of their own levels of fitness, mentally and physically. We may think, after that cup of coffee and a solid meal, you’re not that sleepy. Studies have found, however, that subjective ratings of sleepiness do not correlate with subsequent performance. We aren’t good at assessing our own attentional state or well-being. And, as a result, may often sacrifice sleep without knowing the physical toll that’s actually taking on our bodies. It’s not socially acceptable for me to show up intoxicated to work. Beyond the basic lack of professionalism, I’d be displaying, I’d also be unfit to contribute productively to the team. This begs the question: should it be considered unprofessional to get too little sleep?

As a society, we put a premium on efficiency. We go to great lengths to fit as much activity as possible into waking hours. But maybe we have it all wrong. If our executive functioning is as compromised by sleepiness as it is by alcohol, we ought to put sleep in the forefront of our plans if we truly want to get the most out of ourselves during the day.

When you’re ready to say goodbye to WUI, then get started with Regenerate Your Life Force – 30 Days to that will ensure you never live without enough sleep ever again. For now, have a read of the page and we’ll notify you of the course start date.

Another great article by Thea Lee— Field Studies Manager at Whoop, which will enhance your performance lifestyle.