R1 – Remove Sleep

Happy Man in Bed

Did You Wake Up Tired This Morning?

I’ve realised some time ago, that it’s not the quantity of sleep, rather the quality of sleep that’s key for us humans!

Sleep is THE MOST important thing and luckily one of the simplest things, you can do today to change your life. It will make you live longer, feel happier, look younger, allow you to get more work done AND better work done, plus reduce the frequency that you get ill!

Need any more persuasion? If so, don’t bother reading this as you obviously got more important things to worry about than being super healthy and living longer…

After analysis, researchers found that getting less than seven hours of sleep a night doubled the risk of death in participants with high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. It’s now clear that a solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.

Having invested in a sleep monitor at the end of 2019, I have monitored my sleep for almost three years now, the below actions have seen my deep obstructive sleep apnea and REM improve and surpass 3 hours most nights. While my next goal is to consistently achieve 3.5 to 4 hours by the end of 2021, with the ultimate aim of 4 hours plus, deep sleep and REM in a 7.5 hour time period in bed.

I deliberately use the word regularly as opposed to every night as appreciate some nights you might be staying at a hotel and therefore away traveling, exposing yourself to numerous factors outside of your control for sleep disorders and sleep deprivation, while the ones normally within your control are temporarily harder to adhere to.

Please note you are not super hard if you go without adequate sleep and brag about it, you are just a fucking idiot!

Before we go through what we can do to “remove” issues affecting your sleep, let’s ask you a few questions to see about your current poor sleep patterns.

What’s Keeping You Up at Night?

1.     What time do you go to bed?

2.     Are you on electrical devices like phones and laptops in bed?

3.     What time do you exercise?

4.     What time is your last coffee of the day?

5.     What time do you stop consuming liquids?

6.     What time do you eat your last meal of the day?

7.     Do you snack or consume any additional food later in the evening?

8.     Do you drink alcohol most evenings?

9.     Is your bedroom warm when you go to sleep?

10. Does light seep through your curtains or blinds (this can be through and/or around)

11. Do you work within 2 hours of bedtime?

12. Is your mind super active the moment you put your head on your pillow?

Remove What’s Keeping You Awake

Go to bed the same time every night

Not so important the actual time, as opposed to the time being the same every night. Different people have different natural preferred sleeping habits whereby they might be a night owl or an early bird however what they all have in common is the need to have a consistent sleep pattern or circadian rhythm.

Stop Using Electrical Devices in Bed (or late at night)

This is probably the biggest disruptor of the developed world’s sleep! These devices do two really bad things when it comes to your sleep, the first, the blue light emitted from the bright screens stimulates you, therefore waking you up and it blocks the production of your sleep hormone, Melatonin. This really is not good for you.

Secondly, it keeps your mind active and stimulated, especially if you are checking emails or working late at night.

Stop Exercising Late at Night

By exercising late at night, you are stimulating the body which in turn is the exact very opposite of what you want to be doing, before going to sleep. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are real. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk. I will exercise first thing when I wake up at 5am, then the second batch on my lunch break around 1pm and then on dry days (hate walking in the rain) I will go for an hour walk at 4pm, however, I ensure the last exercise of the day is at least 3 hours from sleep, and yes that means sex has to wait until morning…well perhaps I might be telling a few porkies on this one!

Make Your Last Midday

The very nature of a stimulant is to make you more alert and provide you with more energy, which is the exact opposite to what one needs come bedtime! For this reason, by giving yourself many hours between stimulant consumption and bedtime, the majority of the effects from such stimulants as caffeine and energy drinks will have diminished to very low levels (though still in your system in small doses), allowing you to sleep.

For this reason, ensure that no stimulants are consumed after 2pm and ideally if you can, midday!

Stop Pissing at Night

As men age, we seem to need more loo visits during the night, mainly due to an enlarged prostate. Now, this is an instant sleep killer, being woken up from a night of amazingly deep sleep to go to the loo.

The longevity clinic is here to provide medical advice to stop midnight loo breaks, is to stop consuming liquids after 5pm. I will still have the odd small drink but will keep it to a bare minimum.

Stop Eating Late at Night

Late-night eating directs a large amount of your blood to your stomach which in turn takes blood away from the rest of your body where it is needed to repair, restore and cleanse your body of the daily stresses it endures.

By eating within 3 hours of sleeping, you are depriving the body to practice sleep as a tool for a bodily function that optimizes us for the next day.

Though I am sure the exact amount of time varies between individuals, I have tested that 2 hours is not enough, while 3 hours is the absolute minimum from my last meal to bedtime.

Remove Heat for a Cool Bedroom

By having a cool room to sleep in, it allows your body to become ready for sleep and in turn will allow falling asleep to be easier and the sleep you get to be deeper.

Conversely, it’s hard to sleep in a hot bedroom as we struggle to fall asleep and when we do, we are continuously waking up throughout the night. Just think back to those super-hot summer heat waves when you just toss and turn all night sweating.

Stop the Light

Get black-out curtains or blinds, this is a must and so easy to do. In fact, they are just £15/$20 on Amazon, they attach to the back of your curtains and can be fitted in about 2 minutes a curtain!

The difference is just immense, your room will now be much darker which will help reduce the amount of external light stimulus that floods into your bedroom keeping you awake at night.

You can take this one step further and remove the light at the edges by taping the sides of your curtains down.

Stop that Busy Mind

I rarely worry however I do have a busy mind, with a lot of fun and interesting ideas continuously floating around yet annoyingly the moment I rest my head on my pillow. It’s almost like my pillow is a brain stimulant! These tend to flow continuously and in turn, keep me up for an average of half an hour.

The best way to stop this and calm my mind has been to stop work at 7:30pm, which gives me 2 hours before bedtime. If I go past this time, I really notice the difference when my head hits the pillow.

Stop Drinking Alcohol

The night that I have drunk alcohol (more than just one or two glasses/pints), I sleep easily though the quality is not great, I haven’t got great data yet as to when drinking I don’t think to put my sleep monitor on as have more fun things to do…like listen to The Beach Boys loud and sing!

One HUGE aspect I have noticed is that for at least one night, after drinking and more likely two nights after drinking (ie 3 nights in total if you include the night you drank), is that though I am now sleeping longer as will sleep between 9 hours and 10 hours, however my too little sleep and REM is actually less, which is crazy!! So am sleeping longer and getting less of what I really need i.e. enough sleep and REM sleep, which is now reduced to under 2 hours.

Take Away Actions for You

My top action points, therefore keeping things simple and concise for you, while increasing your likelihood of action are:

  1. Consistency of sleep duration and pattern i.e. go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day. Be fucking ruthless on this increased risk factor, as I am!
  2. Rest the mind before bed, an active mind has been my biggest issue for lying there for hours some nights when I’ve got exciting plans or concerns on my mind.
  3. Finally, remove all electrical devices an hour before bed (ideally two hours), while dimming the lights in the house at sunset.

*****

If you enjoyed this and think it will help improve your life, get more energy and live longer, then you will love my book STOP!! Killing Yourself…The Beginners Guide to Living Longer which is available on Amazon below.

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