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Episode 24: Swiss 8 Mini Series: Sleep

by Shaun Kober
July 13th 2020

Swiss 8 is a proactive mental health model designed to provide the tools required to deliver high-quality content around their 8 pillars of health and wellness, to allow you to be "Better At L... More

can you just touch on, you already spoke about the four principles or the main principles of swiss? I can just go through the eight principles for us for the listeners. Yeah, so the top four, I mean we call in the top four. Bottom four. So the top four is fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and sleep. Uh and that we we call those the top four because they are the holistic health, lifestyle principles um that we we asked we try and get people to start with first build a routine around those four principles and then once you're happy and you're comfortable that all that has become habit and it is a routine. Then we've got minimalism, discipline, time management and personal growth and they basically life hack kind of principles. Yeah, yeah. Mhm. Your what is up guys welcome to today's episode, which is the first in an eight part miniseries on the principles of Swiss eight. We're kicking off with sleep, then we're going to go into nutrition, followed by time management, discipline, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism.

I'm going to book and these sessions with an interview with Adrian Sada, who is the founder of Swiss site, which is a proactive mental health program. And to round out the eight part miniseries, which will actually be 10 episodes, I'm going to be interviewing my good friend Christine Rose, who is a former army soldier and is now the owner of Blind Tiger yoga. Let's get started, sleep is essential for survival and many of us could use a little bit more whilst the precise function of sleep is not entirely understood. Researchers and scientists in recent years have several theories as to why it's so critical for our well being. We spend roughly a third of our lives asleep. So it's evident that there's definitely some physiological processes that are occurring whilst we're asleep. So this session is all about diving into what those processes are and how it affects us when we are sleep deprived. Now, I'm sure everyone listening has been in a situation where they have been sleep deprived.

I'm a former army soldier and that was one of our training tools. When I was going through my initial employment training is we would go out bush on exercise and we'd conduct a defensive exercise and one of the goals there was to put us under stress and adversity and test us in that controlled environment and we're essentially only sleeping like half an hour to two hours per night. And this would continue on for 3456 days. Sometimes we would also be lacking food um and well being worked to the bone. So we had high output and low input regarding food and obviously we weren't sleeping very much so our building will recover was affected. Now there were times where I was sitting in a hole that I dug a pit at three o'clock in the morning and after a couple of days of poor food or no food, barely any sleep. Um high work output, etcetera.

I was fucking hallucinating. I was seeing things, you know, the guy next to me, I thought I saw mike Tyson in the bushes and the guy next to me thought he saw bugs bunny. And it was evident that we were losing our minds because we hadn't had any sleep and we're really running on fumes. So I'm sure everyone's been in this situation where they have been sleep deprived and when we're younger it's like a badge of honor. It's like, yeah, I pulled an all nighter last night and we don't really understand the effect that that has on us and the implications to our health and particularly our immune system that pulling all nighters have and not getting good quality sleep. It's not just about the amount of sleep that we have, but it's about the equality of sleep that we get as well. In fact, recent studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have the same impacts and cause the same or similar impairments to drinking alcohol. So pair this with driving and you're asking for trouble. Now, most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving but they don't make any association with being sleep deprived and driving.

But research has shown that drowsy driving can be just as fatal, like alcohol, sleep exhaustion or sleep deprivation slows down reaction times, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risks of crashing According to the National Sleep Foundation, an average of 100,000 crashes each year are caused by fatigue drivers, 55% of these drowsy driving crashes are caused by drivers under the age of 25 for prevention. They've laid out signs of drowsy driving which are difficulty focusing, frequent blinking or heavy eyelids, daydreaming, wandering, disconnected thoughts, trouble remembering the last few miles driven or missing exits or traffic signs yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes, trouble keeping your head up, drifting from your lane tailgating or hitting the shoulder rumble and feeling restless and irritable. Now, here's the thing, we've all, we've all had a poor night's sleep and driven to work, gone through the entire day, um, and just felt shit throughout the entire day likely made poor decisions when it comes to food, probably haven't had the energy to train, have been irritable, haven't been a good person to be around, etcetera.

So it's obvious that getting a poor night's sleep can really affect your ability to perform throughout the day. Now for me, sleep is very important for me. I actually wrote down a list of my values recently a couple of months ago and uh, you know, I wrote down sleep, I wrote down nutrition, I wrote down gut health, hormone regulation, health and fitness, etcetera, immune system as well as personal development and study and things like that. Now. Once I had these things written down, actually went back through the list and I decided to prioritize which was the most important to me and I looked at everything on the list and I said, right if one of these slips up and I'm not doing it or I'm not doing enough of it, then which one is going to have the biggest impact on all of the other things. I went back through the list and I ended up putting number one as my sleep. So I really try and prioritize my sleep and for me that means that I protect the first hour of the day and the last hour of the day because that last hour of the day is what's setting me up for sleep and then the first hour of the day is what's setting me up for the day.

So I always want to finish the day on a good note and then I want to start the day on a good note on the front foot. So I'm going to circle back to these points here and I'll talk about my evening routine and my morning routine to set myself up for a good night's sleep. Um but prior to that, I'll discuss why it's important to get good quantity sleep as well as good quality sleep. Now, here's something to consider human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive ourselves of sleep. Isn't that crazy think about any fucking animal, okay, they sleep when they're tired, they sleep when they're ready, they sleep when they feel like it, but as humans in the world that we live in, we're kind of forced to work throughout the day um and perform and operate and things like that and then you know we go to sleep at night time. Now this is an evolutionary response and we're supposed to sleep at night time. But with the world that we live in with bright lights and um technology and all that sort of stuff we we kind of keep ourselves up for longer periods of time than we should and we get up earlier than we should.

So think about like this. How much sleep do you need? Well this is a contentious subject and scientists are still arguing and debating over this but for each individual person that's going to be different. Now I've spoken about the autonomic nervous system in previous episodes but essentially the autonomic nervous system is the balance between your sympathetic state which is fight or flight and the parasympathetic state which is rest and digest. Now we spend all of this time in this fight or flight state which is essentially a stress response. Now stress is essential for adaptation Alright But it's only when we can balance that out with the parasympathetic we drive the parasympathetic system. We go into rest and digest state. Then we start breaking down our foods and pushing them towards the systems that we've broken down and put under stress throughout the day that we actually recover and adapt and get back to homeostasis and when we get a good night's sleep. This is essentially where we go through the majority of that restoration recuperation rejuvenation process. So just like everything else when it comes to nutrition training, lifestyle etcetera, it's all individual specific.

So somebody who's under large amounts of stress due to work, um finances, relationship education, whatever. If they're under massive amounts of stress all the time, then they're typically going to need more sleep okay if you're someone who's fairly chilled um you know, you do some yin yoga and things like that and you do other or use other tools that balance out your autonomic nervous system. Drive the parasympathetic state. Might be something like massages or ice bath or sauna or um sleep deprivation, sorry, a float tanker sensory deprivation tank or something like that. If you're using these tools then you're likely um adding these parasympathetic drives into your day to balance out the stress state that you put yourself in. However, if you're not using these tools throughout the rest of the day then you're likely going to need more sleep. So how do we figure out how much sleep we need? Well obviously now is probably a little bit of a tough time to do it but say a month ago when everyone was in lockdown, a good way of figuring out how much sleep you need is to go to bed at the same time.

So for example I might go to bed at you know 10 o'clock, I typically turn my phone off at nine o'clock. I make sure that I'm not on any technology, particularly blue lights or anything like that. I'll discuss it. Um why in a moment? But I basically want to um chill everything out and get myself ready for bed. Then I go to sleep. Um sorry, I'm in bed at about 10 o'clock. I'm not going to set an alarm okay? And I'm just going to track my sleep over the course of a week. And if I wake up at, say, you know, six o'clock, quarter past six every morning and I'm roughly getting to sleep at about quarter past 10, then I know that I need roughly eight hours sleep. All right. So, um whenever you get a holiday or something like that or a bit of time off work and you can actually go through this process. I highly recommend figuring out how much sleep you need for me. I know that I need roughly 7.5 hours of sleep because I've done this numerous times. Think about when you go camping okay if you've ever been camping, what normally happens is you're not exposed to all of this artificial light and all of this stimulus from the external environment.

So, you know, once the sun goes down and the fires going, you've had some food and things like that, it's 7 30 you're like, right, I'm going to bed. I'm tired. Right? That's the body's natural response and I'll talk about hormone regulations kate in rhythm in a moment. But then you basically wake up when the sun comes up. Okay. So that's a good indication of you needing that much sleep. But obviously in the day and age that we live in were affected by all of these um artificial lights and external stimulation, which affects our hormone regulation and our ability to get to sleep and have a good night sleep. Now sleep is something that I always talk about with my clients and every single time when I ask people how they sleep, they're always like, yeah, I sleep pretty good or don't sleep very good. But the people that do say they sleep pretty good. I'm like, all right. Is there any times where you know, you wake up tired, you wake up not feeling refreshed and you wake up feeling like you need a little bit more sleep and they're like, yeah, a couple times a week. I'm like, you're not actually sleeping well okay. People don't know that they're not sleeping well if you're waking up in the morning and you're needing, you know, a coffee to coffee straight away to get yourself going and um you know, stimulation and music and things like that, then you probably haven't slept very well.

Now what we're going to go into next is the different sleep stages and the brain waves that occur throughout these different sleep stages and why it's important to get one good quantity sleep but to good quality sleep and what these different brain waves and different sleep stages do for us now depending on who you speak to and where you get your information from, whether you've read books or done courses or read articles and things like that. You'll typically hear that there's 3 to 4 to five stages of sleep now for the purpose of this podcast and for educational purposes, I'm going to use three stages of sleep being light deep and R E. M. Sleep and will also discuss the different brain waves that go along that linked to those different stages. Okay, so our beta brain waves are when we are awake, normal alert and conscious. Okay as we drift off into sleep, we'll go into our first stage of our light sleep which usually lasts about 5 to 10 minutes.

Okay, we start drifting into an alpha brain wave state here which is relaxed, lucid, calm and not thinking okay, in this stage of sleep it's a lot easier to be woken by external stimulus if you hear a noise or smell something burning or something like that, much, much easier to wake up. Okay then we drop into phase two of our light sleep which brings on fatal brain waves, which is a deeper, deeper relaxation, meditative state and also produces mental imagery. Okay, we'll spend about 15-20 minutes in this state. After we go through the first phase, which is roughly 5 to 10 minutes depending on each individual person. Okay from there we start dropping into our deep sleep which is our delta brain waves, which is a deep dreamless sleep. From there will typically transition into R. E. M. Sleep okay? And again we'll have a different brainwave pattern associated with that R. E. M. Sleep, but we'll talk about the three stages of sleep why they're important and what they actually do on a biological and physiological basis.

We typically go through all three phases of this sleep during a sleep cycle. Now sleep cycle typically lasts about 90 minutes A. K. Some people say 60 minutes up to two hours, let's use 90 minutes as an example. So light sleep is going to come first. This is kind of where you're drifting off but you're still uh kind of alert to what's going on outside. Then we go into our deep sleep, okay then we come back into a light sleep, followed by R. E. M. Sleep. Now, deep sleep typically occurs earlier in the night, so if you're going to bed late, you're going to be missing out on a lot of deep sleep. Now as the night progresses and it gets closer towards the morning, we might go through 4 to 5 to six sleep cycles, those 90 minutes sleep cycles throughout the night. So if we're going to bed late, we might be missing out on our deep sleep, But then as we progress through the night and get earlier towards the morning that deep sleep drops off and we start transitioning more into light sleep and R.

E. M. Sleep. So if you're getting up earlier than you normally do, then you could be potentially be affecting your light sleep and your R. E. M. Sleep. Now we'll discuss each one of those sleep stages and what they do for us and why. It's important to make sure that we protect our sleep so that we can optimize our health and function. So during the first phase of light sleep this is the type of sleep that's a little bit more choppy, shallow and not really restful. It's usually just a quick transition. Like I said, it's roughly about 5 to 10 minutes. So you're not in it for very long. However, you will still hear things in your environment and you'll have a sense of awareness and your brain dips into sleep but it doesn't feel like true sleep. Okay, so that's phase one of light sleep In Phase two of Light Sleep. This is where we can still be easily awoken. However, it's not shallow. Okay, light sleep takes up more than half of your sleep cycle throughout the night and it's typically going to be a lot more prevalent later on in the night towards early morning.

This is where the brain processes memories and emotions and your metabolism regulates a lot of body maintenance also occurs compared to other stages of sleep and the digestive system in particular undergoes maintenance along with a reduction of your heart rate and your respiratory rate. Stage two of this light sleep typically last about 15 to 20 minutes before our brain waves start changing patterns and dropping into our delta brain waves, which pushes us, pushes us into deep sleep. During deep sleep, the brain becomes less responsive to outside stimuli, breathing slows down, your muscles relax and your heart rate usually becomes a lot more regular. Deep sleep is very much about the body, the thinking parts of the brain and mainly offline and no dreaming occurs at all during this time throughout the body. This is where the rebuilding reparation rejuvenation process is occurring for the most part. So if you're training really hard, it's important to get this deep sleep so that you can allow that recovery process to occur.

This is also where the body secretes growth hormone which is associated with cellular rebuilding and repair and the digestive and immune systems are up regulated and rebuilt and refurbished during this phase. Now the 1st and 2nd sleep cycles. Those 90 minutes sleep cycles is typically where the majority of this deep sleep occurs. So again, if you're going to sleep later than what you normally do, you could potentially be missing out on some of this deep sleep. Okay, once we go through that deep sleep then we're going to come back through a light phase and then transition into the R. E. M. Sleep. So whilst the deep sleep is about the body R. E. M. Sleep is about the brain. The brain is very active during R. E. M. Sleep and the body is very inactive. Most muscles are actually paralyzed and rem sleep is where most dreaming happens and eyes move rapidly in multiple directions.

The heart rate increases again and breathing becomes a little bit more irregular. R. E. M. Sleep has also been shown to be important for emotional regulation and memory. The brain is essentially cleared of things that aren't needed. However it's also important for the body in R. E. M. Sleep. Peak protein synthesis at the cellular level keeps many processes in the body working properly. Now. I don't want to spend too much more time on the sleep cycles because I want to give some actionable takeaways about how to get a good night's sleep. Um But it's important to note that if you're changing your sleep time and you're changing your wake time then that's going going to affect those different sleep cycles. So those 90 minutes sleep cycles, like I said earlier we'll go through 4 to 5 to six depending on how much sleep you're getting. So the first sleep cycle is you're going to transition through the light sleep into deep sleep fairly quickly where you'll spend the majority of your time in that first sleep cycle, then you'll transition back into light sleep and then a little bit of R.

E. M. Sleep okay? Round about the 90 minute mark, you will transition into sleep cycle too. So you'll go back into light sleep, then you'll dip into deep sleep, you'll come back out into light sleep and then you'll go back into R. E. M. Sleep. Now the deep sleep in stage two is not as much as it is in Stage one, okay from there, you'll come back into light sleep. Um and then pretty much from stage three, about three hours after you go to sleep throughout the rest of the night. That's pretty much where most of your deep sleep is occurring. Okay then for the rest of the sleep cycles are going to be spending a lot more time in light sleep and transitioning between light and R. E. M. Sleep. So on average light sleep will take up to around about 50 to 60% more of your sleep on an average night. Whereas deep sleep takes up roughly 10 to 25% depending on your age and R. E. M. Sleep makes up about 20 to 25% of your nightly sleep. So R.

E. M. Sleep mostly takes place in the second half of the night and during the second half of the night the sleep cycles break down as your body alternates between light sleep and R E. M. Sleep for the rest of the night. Now before I go into tools and techniques into optimizing sleep and in particular circadian rhythm. I just want to touch on some data that I recently came across whilst I was researching for this episode. Now for me seeing this data was super interesting. Uh and that is basically when we transition from normal time into daylight savings time. So we bring our clocks forward an hour. So the Monday after we changed to daylight savings time, there's actually a spike an increase in the instances of heart attacks by 24%. When we go the other way in transition from daylight savings time back to normal time, there's a decrease by roughly 23% in heart attacks the day after. Super interesting there.

Now that's not cause and effect that is simply a correlation, but that should give you an understanding of potentially some issues that may arise when we're going from time zone two time zone. And particularly this is very important when we start thinking about transitioning from, you know, time zones where you live two time zones where you're traveling or something like that. I've got a lot of fighters that fight overseas. And basically we're looking at for every hour of time difference between the time zones, there's roughly a day per hour that your body is going to be under stress and it's going to need a day per hour to recover and realign its body clock and start changing hormone profiles and things like that. So something to bear in mind. Another super interesting study that I found was a group of researchers took a number of participants. A large number of participants from eight hours sleep per night down to six hours sleep per night over the course of a week. Now, what the researchers found was that The gene expression of these participants was changed dramatically with an average of 711 genes being expressed differently per person due to a two hour sleep deprivation per night.

Now, what does this mean? Okay, genes that, sorry, cells that are responsible for immune function were decreased. Why is this important? Because essentially our immune system is what keeps us safe. Our body creates antibodies and physiological responses to react to any kind of threat that's going on with the body internal or external threats. So if your immune system is suppressed, then that's going to make you a lot more likely to catch anything that's going around and it's going to affect your ability to recover. It's going to affect your ability to perform. It's going to affect your ability to digest assimilate, absorb nutrients, breakdown your foods, et cetera. Now, what they also found was that cells that are responsible for tur promoting inflammation and cardiovascular disease. We're actually increased and this was only two hours of lack of sleep per night over the course of a week. Now this is massive. This is definitely something to consider if you are sleep deprived for long periods of time and this is essentially genetics versus epigenetic.

So genetics is your DNA. This is what you're born is born with, this is your jeans. Okay. Epi genetics is the effect of environmental factors which is essentially how your genes are expressed. So yes, you're born with genes, you're born with DNA but your lifestyle determines how those genes are expressed. I will dedicate an entire episode on genetics versus epi genetics or nature versus nurture in the future. But the final point that I want to make here is that a lack of sleep can dramatically decrease immune function. In fact, one study found that natural killer cells which are basically these cells that kick around in the body there like assassins and they pretty much terminate any bad cells that are proliferating and growing. Um and when researchers took participants from eight hours down to four hours sleep a night, their natural killer cell production and function decreased by up to 70% and that was after one night's sleep. So obviously a few nights poor sleep can have a massive impact on these killer cells which then affects your immune function.

So much so that the World Health organization has actually classified shift work as a possible carcinogen. And to me this makes total sense because of something called circadian rhythm. Now circadian rhythm is your body's natural clock. Okay, so when the sun's up, your body has all of these receptors, particularly eyes and in your skin, that essentially tell your brain what time of the day it is, and then that's going to signal to your endocrine system, which is essentially your hormones what time of the day it is, and then your body is going to start see creating and producing these hormones to essentially drive your physiological processes. Right? So when the sun's up, our body starts changing our hormone profile. When the sun goes down our body starts changing our hormone profile. So if you're fighting against biology and the circadian rhythms then that can wreak havoc on the hormones but also immune cell function and all of these other processes that go on in the body.

Now let's think about circadian rhythm from an evolutionary perspective, we wake up in the morning, the sun hits our eyes all of this light spectrum, and that signals to our brain that it's daytime. Let's get up, let's fire up the metabolism, let's start moving, let's start producing and releasing stored energy so that we can search for food, water and shelter. Okay, so when we wake up in the morning, our cortisol increases which is essentially a stress hormone. It has been, it's been called a stress hormone, Okay, it's not necessarily a stress hormone but um it is associated with stress but essentially cortisol levels rise and then that kind of prepares our body creates this physiological response to essentially get up and get everything firing. Okay now, cortisol levels throughout the day are going to dip and rise depending on what's going on. Okay, But for the most part you're going to have an increase in cortisol first thing in the morning, which is going to increase adrenaline production as well.

Now cortisol levels will typically spike around lunchtime again, okay, and then they'll start dipping off for the rest of the day. There's also another hormone called serotonin, which is responsible for a number of things. But for the context of this conversation, think about serotonin as your daytime hormone and melatonin as your nighttime hormone. And these two essentially work inversely as one raises the other falls. Now I'm not going to go too deep here but I will talk about the relationship between serotonin and melatonin. So serotonin is sometimes considered a hormone but it's for the most part, most people consider it a neuro transmitter. Now most serotonin around 90% is produced in specialist cells in the gi tract. Now, serotonin is pretty popularly thought of as a contributor to feelings of well being and happiness, although its actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, okay, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory and numerous other physiological processes.

I just want to pause there for a moment and discuss the difference between a neuro transmitter and a hormone because I did refer to serotonin before as a daytime hormone. Okay, some people do consider it a hormone but it is primarily referred to as a neurotransmitter. Now, what is the neuro transmitter? A neuro transmitter? The chemical messages that are used by the nervous system to transmit nerve impulses across the synapses, which is basically a signal from the brain down to the muscles or whatever cell that is trying to talk to use through the nervous system. Whereas hormones are the chemical messengers used by the endocrine system, which is the system that mediates and regulates hormone production and that's used to stimulate or communicate with specific cells in the body and that's done via the production and secretion of these hormones into the bloodstream, where the blood circulates and pushes these hormones to these particular cells that the body wants to talk to.

So that brings me to my next point when the sun starts going down, the receptors in the body starts talking to the brain and it down regulates the neurotransmitter, serotonin and up regulates the hormone melatonin. And this is essentially what gets us ready for and prepared for sleep. It's a down regulation of the central nervous system, kind of chilling everything out and telling everything that writes time to rest, recover, recuperate, recharge so that we can go through the day to day trials and tribulations the following day. So both serotonin and melatonin play a part in our biological clock, essentially our sleep wake cycles. Now if the certain environmental factors that are impacting the release of serotonin and the production secretion of melatonin, this can adversely affect your sleep cycles, making it very difficult to get to sleep and to stay asleep and also affects the quality of sleep.

So what we'll do now is go through some tools and techniques on maximizing and optimizing your natural circadian rhythm and the fact that I've explained how the circadian rhythms work and how light and dark can affect the neurotransmitters and the hormones should give you a fairly good understanding of how you can start connecting the dots yourself. One of the biggest disruptors of this natural circadian rhythm is light light sources at nighttime when the sun goes down. We live in this world where we live by fluorescent lights and we also spend a lot of time on tablets, phones TVs and things like that, which emit blue light. Now I've actually read a study about blue light for every hour of blue light that you have in your face prior to going to bed Can affect up to 30 minutes of your ability to get into that deep sleep which typically occurs earlier on in the night.

So blue light is not inherently bad. It is part of the light spectrum that we see that hits our eyes throughout the day and can increase awareness etcetera. But what we don't want to do is concentrate that light in our face because then that signals to the brain that essentially the fucking sons up. So it's going to start changing our hormone profile release serotonin cortisol, which will increase adrenaline, et cetera. And that makes it really, really difficult to get to sleep down, regulate switch off. So when the sun goes down, we really want to try and replicate the light dark cycles. So once the sun goes down, what I do is I dim my lights and I'm not going to be going anywhere. That's got, you know, very high fluorescent lighting or anything like that. And if I do need to do that, I typically put on my blue light blocking glasses and I also do this throughout the day. So if I know that I'm going to be spending a lot of time on my laptop or phone throughout the day, I'll put my blue light blocking glasses on just to stop that blue light from being concentrated in my face.

Ah and definitely when the sun goes down, that's when I popped my blue light blocking glasses on. The next thing that I do is I really try and think about when I'm eating okay, I'm not going to be eating too close to bed, okay, because that's going to stimulate the digestive system and that's going going to get all these other physiological processes this physiological snowballing effect kicking off and you know, it's going to affect blood sugar levels, which is gonna affect insulin, which is going to affect, you know, all of these hormones throughout the body. So I'm gonna try and really um stick to time restricted eating where I'm essentially eating when the sun's up and I'm not eating once the sun goes down and again, let's go back to working with those light dark cycles. So when the sun is up, it's important to get outside and get some sunshine. Most people these days are not getting enough sunshine and our skin synthesizers, UV rays from the sun and creates vitamin D, which is absolutely essential for health and immune function.

All right, So, I want to get some good quality sunlight on our skin throughout the day. Once the sun goes down, then we want to try and create a nice dark environment in our bedroom. Now, the next thing I want to talk about is actually setting up your environment, because I recently spoke to one of my online clients and he was saying that he was having some trouble sleeping, so, you know, he was up until fucking all hours of the morning and I was like, what are you doing? And he goes, I'm working and he was working from bed and I'm like, dude, it's your fucking bed. You need to create this association with your bed. Like if you're going to bed and you're working from bed, okay, that's what your brain is going to associate your bed with. So you really need to think about your bed as being a place for sleep and maybe some extracurricular activities, but for the most part you want to think about that as your sleep time, your bedtime in case when you go to bed, your brain kicks off that, that habit loop essentially and starts preparing your body for sleep.

Um The other thing we want to do is try and create a really dark environment. So if there's any ambient light coming in to the room and even if it's hitting your eyes with your eyelids close, that's still going to affect your brain and how it perceives what time of the day it is. So if you do have ambient light in your room, I recommend getting a face, sorry, an eye mask. So you can really try and create that dark space. Um and using air plugs is a really good idea as well, particularly if you live in an area where there is some ambient noise coming into the room. The final thing I'll talk about here before we go into building a sleep routine is that our body requires the core temperature to drop by 1-2°C for us to start dipping into that deep sleep. So it's important here to maybe turn your air con down a little bit or um set yourself up so that you can call your core temperature, which is then going to allow you to get to sleep much much better.

So let's now discuss building a sleep routine. Most people have a morning routine. They have a routine around training and exercise, they have a routine around eating, they have a routine around work, they've got a routine around a lot of things in their life. But most people don't consider having a sleep routine. They pretty much stay on their phones right up until they want to go to sleep and then they put their fucking head on the pillow and expect to fall asleep and have a good night sleep and they wake up in the morning going, why do I feel like shit? All right. So we need to start prioritizing sleep and that means we start building a sleep routine. Okay? So we create the environment that's going to allow us to one down, regulate the nervous system and then to get into a comfortable, safe space so the brain can switch off and go, cool, we're safe. Now let's sleep, let's recover. Let's rejuvenate so we can get after this again tomorrow. So I'm going to discuss my sleep routines.

Um, but point to note here, is that you need to figure out what's going to work best view as long as you apply those principles of working with the light light, dark cycle, minimizing blue light before bed etcetera, dropping core temperature, creating a dark cool environment to get to sleep, then, you know, you're going to be pretty good. So find what works best for you. But for me, sleep is so important. So I really try and protect the first hour of the day and the last hour of the day either side of my sleep cycles because you know that last hour of the day is what sets me up for sleep and then that first hour of the day is what sets me up for, you know, the day ahead puts me on the front foot. So I'll talk about the last hour of the day first, once the sun goes down, I'm dimming my lights and I'm minimizing my lights that I'm exposed to as much as possible if I do need to go out or I do need to or I am using lights and things like that. Then again I'll put my blue light blocking glasses on And I'm trying to minimize my phone time and my laptop time here.

This is where I might put on netflix and you know, I'm sitting 5m away from the TV screen so I'm not getting that blue light concentrated in my face. All right. I'm still wearing my blue light blocking glasses there though. Um then I'm going to turn off my technology, my phone goes off at nine o'clock every night. I'm trying to be asleep around about 10 o'clock. So that last hour I'm not using technology and this is where I'm going to read. Okay. I'll also have a journal next to my bed. Where are basically do a brain dump because a lot of times when we're laying in bed. You know, we're thinking about I've got to do this tomorrow, I've got to pay this bill. I've got an email, this person, I've got to call this fucking person about whatever, alright and 30 minutes later you're going through the exact same process again. So just having a journal next to your bed is a great way of doing a brain dump. So you've written that stuff down and that gives you peace of mind. It makes it so much easier to fall asleep. And it's important to note here that I use a pen and paper, okay, because if you're grabbing your phone and writing notes on your phone, then you're defeating the whole purpose.

All right, So once I've done that brain dump, I'm just going to be reading something that interests me, but it's not super stimulating, Okay, And this is where I'm just going to be focusing on taking nice deep breaths and regulating my um my heart rate and my respiratory rate and that helps me um kind of chill out um down regulate the sympathetic nervous system, push my autonomic nervous system into my parasympathetic state, which is my rest and digest state so that, you know, it makes it so much easier to get to sleep and to stay asleep. And this is a good point here. And this is a great place to put in some meditation or mindfulness or whatever you want to call it. So we're essentially thinking about taking nice deep long breaths and I'm paying attention to my muscle tone. So I'll take a nice deep breath in and as I exhale, I'm scanning like my face, am I holding tension in my face and my scrunching my face up. Okay, I'm going to try and relax those muscles.

Deep breath in long breath out, Okay, what's happening with my neck and my shrugging my shoulders up and my traps fired up etcetera. And I'm literally just going to use my breath to go through my body and scan what muscles are holding tension okay? And I'm going to try and think about really relaxing those muscles and basically what that does is it tells the tells the brain that we're in a safe space. You can switch off those muscles, we push into that parasympathetic state, which allows us to drop off to sleep much much easier. So the next thing I want to talk about is creating consistency and regularity. So again, your body is going to adapt to whatever you do. Okay, so think about like this. If you always eat at the same time every day, then you're going to start getting hungry at the same time every day. Now it's the same thing with our sleep, okay. If we can condition our body into going through these routines, going through these patterns to be able to be asleep at a certain time. So we can get the required amount of sleep then it's going to make it so much fucking easier to have that routine, have that pattern and prepare the body for that.

Now, this is the same for the weekend. I typically try and wake up at the same time on the weekends as well. I might have one day, maybe a sunday or something like that, where I might, you know, I'm still going to wake up at the same time, but then I'm going to allow myself to go back to sleep. So building that regularity around your sleep is super important. Now, the next thing I'll talk about is my morning routine. So again, the first hour of the day and the last hour of the day is super important for me and I don't touch my phone during those hours. Okay. I'm sorry, I lie there. If I do touch my phone in the morning, it's because I take my heart rate and I'll also take my heart rate variability okay. And I'm just logging those in my phone, but I've disciplined myself not to use my phone or look at any notifications or anything like that first thing in the day. So I'm also not using my phone as an alarm if I do use it as an alarm, it's on the other side of the room, okay? And I'm making sure that that alarm is not that fucking, wow, okay, it's a nice, easy song that um kind of just eases me out of sleep and I use the ascending alarm as well where you know, it starts off light and then a minute or two later it's getting louder, louder, louder.

Okay, so that's a much easier way, a much better way of waking up instead of having that fucking blaring alarm that's going to automatically put you into this sympathetic state where body essentially thinks it's under threat. So this is what my morning routine looks like. 6:00, my alarm goes off. I get out of bed, I walk over to my blinds, I open my blinds, I opened the door, I let some sunlight in. I let some fresh air in. I turned my air con off. I make my bed that I lay back down in my bed. I'll take my blood pressure, then I'll take my heart rate variability. I'll log those in my phone, then my phone goes down. The next thing I do is go to the bathroom, shit, shower, shave, do what I need to do and then I make a coffee. I walk out onto my balcony and I'll sit there and I'll drink a coffee. I'll do some meditation, maybe 20 breaths or something like that over about five minutes. I'm going to watch the sunrise. I'm going to pay attention to my senses and then I'm going to do about 15 to 20 to 30 minutes of reading to set me up for the day.

Once I've done that, then I'm going to sit down and write out my schedule for the day. The things that I need to get done my appointment and then the things that I want to get done, that might be my training or massages or study or something like that. Okay. I'm also looking at my journal from the night before, all the shit that I've written down during that brain dump and I might have written 15 things down, Okay, I can probably look at three of those things and go, right, I need to get them done this week, where can I add them into my day or into my week? This is one thing that I need to get done today, so where can I put that in? And the other, you know, 10-12 things are just bullshit. I've just literally done a brain dump so they're not actually that important or if they are important, they need to get done at some stage. Then I'm just looking at my week or my month and I'm figuring out where I can start adding those things in to round out this episode, sleep is not an optional lifestyle luxury. It is a non negotiable biological necessity.

So, to recap this episode, work with your light, dark rhythms when the sun is up. This is when you're getting the majority of your movement in your exercise, your food, get some sunshine throughout the day than when the sun goes down. Try and minimize any ambient light and particularly fluorescent lights and blue light, which is damaging to your sleep, uh make your bedroom the place where you sleep. Make that the association that you have, that's where you relaxed. That's where you're chilling out. That's where you're focusing on rest recovery, make the room dark, make the room cool. Have a hot shower as hot as you can handle prior to going to bed and make that last hour of the night before you go to sleep. Technology free. This is where you might have some sleepy tea. You'll do a little bit of a brain dump. You're not using technology and you're just doing things that are going to allow you to chill out, switch off and prepare you for sleep.

So you're essentially building a routine around getting good quality sleep now before a cup off the episode, I want to discuss some ways to kind of mitigate the effects of throwing off your circadian rhythm. So if you're a shift worker, for example, Then your circadian rhythm is going to be out of whack. And again, this is why it's very important to have a really dark cool room because if you finish work at 5:00 AM, for example, you get home. Um that's basically like when you should be winding down. So that's when you should be really trying to minimize any light and in particular blue light before you go to bed. If you are going to be using your phone or you are going to be driving to and from work, et cetera when the sun comes up. This is where you're using blue light blockers. So you can block out that blue light um from that light spectrum. So you're essentially trying to switch your circadian rhythm around and this is where you're eating will come into play. This is where your training will come into play, etcetera, etcetera.

So for example, if you're starting work at six o'clock six p.m. Then you might get up at say 3:30 p.m. And that's going to be your morning routine. Okay? Yes, you want to get some light in, then you're probably going to go and do some exercise, you're preparing breakfast, okay? And then throughout the night, this is where you can use blue light to keep your weight, keep your lower. But as soon as that sun comes up, you're essentially going through that down regulation process where you're basically trying to reverse engineer uh your hormones and uh that light day, sorry, that light dark cycle. Um this also comes into play when you're traveling to another country in a different time zone. So you can actually use these tools when you go to a different time zone. For example, if you go to a different time zone that say six hours behind, then you want to try and replicate those light dark rhythms as close as possible.

So you might stay up a little bit longer, even though you're tired, you're not going to be napping and you'll wait until it gets dark before you go to sleep. Another thing to do here is as soon as you get to that location, um try and get some sunshine, try and get some sunshine um to replicate the time at home throughout the day when the sun's up and then when the sun goes down, this is where you're switching everything off and essentially going through that sleep routine that you've set for yourself back home. So the same processes occur, you're just reverse engineering that and you're aligning that with your new time zone. Okay, something else that's quite interesting is the effect of like red light Saunders and red light therapy. So if you get to a place where it's actually dark and in your home location it's typically light. A good way to kind of hack the system is to use some red light therapy so that your brain essentially thinks that you're still in that time zone and you're still getting that uh light spectrum and that's going to help you adapt to that new time zone much better.

Obviously, if you are switching time zones or you are a shift worker, then it's going to be very difficult, particularly if you do, say, one week when you're a night shift and then the following week you're on day shift, like that can really fuck up your sleep rhythms and your circadian rhythm. So the quicker you can adapt your body to that new cycle the better. And this is where understanding those sleep routines, those patterns and those different tools really comes into play because now you can grab those tools and you can apply them at the appropriate time to elicit the right response. And you can start changing your hormone profile simply by, you know, minimizing light or maximizing light, getting sunshine using blue light blockers, red light therapy et cetera et cetera. The western world is in the middle of a mental health crisis and our veterans have taken action. Swiss. Its team of combat veterans have built a proactive mental health program that is delivered through a mobile app. The app offers users programs in eight categories of health and lifestyle, all proven to reduce anxiety and depression.

This holistic model forms your daily routine, aiding you to build structure, improve discipline and take ownership of your life. Once these habits are formed, the app will teach you new skills skills that can form identity purpose and encourage physical interaction to rebuild your tribe and reduce isolation. Mhm

Episode 24: Swiss 8 Mini Series: Sleep
Episode 24: Swiss 8 Mini Series: Sleep
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