You Aren't Part of the Few Percent of People Who Can Function on Less Than 6 Hours of Sleep, Time to Start Sleeping Right.
You're lying to yourself if you think that you function well on less than 6-7 hours of sleep...
"I Function Really Well on a Few Hours of Sleep"
No, you really don't...
I'm sure we have all tried to convince ourselves of this at some point or another, almost trying to brag to our friends about how productive we are because we don't need as much sleep.
For whatever reason, it is almost a "flex" in todays day and age to be able to claim that you can be just as productive with less sleep, allowing you to learn more and get more work done.
The key word in that sentence is "claim." Why? Because even though you might feel like you are getting just enough sleep, your brain might say otherwise.
The recommded 7-9 hours of sleep per night is not just some random number they came up with to fit our work schedules way back when Henry Ford created the 9-5 workday.
There has actually been research done to show that less than 5% of the population can effectively sleep 6 hours per night and still be fully rested and functioning at optimal brain function.
I would not bet on yourself being part of that small group of people with a rare genetic condition that allows them to do so.
Here is What You Are Missing Out On When You Sleep Deprive Yourself
Why would I not bet on ourselves being part of that very small percent of people that can function on less than 7 hours per night? Because the downsides, if we happen to be wrong, just don't outweigh the upsides to being right.
While sleep deprived our body experiences the following:
... and how that starts to impact your day to day life.
When you start to decrease your mental function in any way, shape or form, it impacts your day to day drastically. Why? Because your mind is at the foundation of every single action that you take from the time you wake up to the time you lay your head down to sleep at night.
Let's paint a picture of what your day might look like after a few nights of sub par sleep schedules...
Instead of having the power to stick to your diet, you might feel hungrier than usual and with your decreased decision making, maybe you decide to not follow the diet at all that day. Then, the next day rolls around, and still low on sleep, you decide that another day not following the diet won't hurt you and before you know it you have some powerful negative momentum.
Instead of waking up and crushing the work you have to/ want to get done, you find yourself getting more distracted than usual during the work day and end up getting nothing done during the day. Or, if you do get anything done, it is usually the easy tasks, not the hard tasks that get you closer to your goals, those just get pushed off until "some other time."
The worst part of all of this is that some people get so used to getting very little sleep that they think that their sub par brain function is just "normal" and they don't even know what it is like to think at their normal level anymore.
Those Extra Hours Staying Up Might Hurt You More Than They Are Helping You
Yes, even if you THINK you are getting more work done.
Sure, maybe you get a few more social media posts created, or you start to do that project that you have been pushing off for a while, but is it really worth you getting just a few hours of sleep to do so?
I get it if it's a one night thing where you have a deadline to meet, but if this turns into a consistent pattern, you are likely hurting yourself more than your are helping yourself. When this starts becoming a habit, you start getting lazy during the day and then staying up later to get the work done, that you pushed off during the day, forcing yourself to get stuck in a constant feedback loop.
The best thing when you are behind on sleep is to actually get sleep, not push it off to get a few things done that really aren't as important as your sleep.
If you start mastering your sleep, the increased brain function will help you get more done during the day, making it not even a thought to stay up late to get things done because you don't need to.
When in doubt, try not to mess up your sleep schedule for extended periods of time (more than a couple of days in a row), it can really throw off your positive momentum.
The Foundation to Your Mindset: Sleep
And your mindset is the foundation to everything else in your life.
If you have read the MMNTM Blog before, you know that I constantly stress about the importance of mindset as it is at the foundation of everything else that we do.
From our confidence that drives our relationships to our work ethic that drives the meaningful work in our lives, mindset is at the foundation of everything.
With that being said, I'm sure you can guess what the foundation of our mindset is after reading this article, I wouldn't just switch up topics on you now, would I?
You got it, sleep is one of the biggest foundations of our mindset.
Our mindsets are dramatically based around brain function and sleep either makes or breaks how well your brain is functioning each day, as you have read above.
If our brain isn't functioning well, this is going to be a domino effect causing our mindsets to fall and us to fall into bad habits or not take action towards our goals that day.
Start the day right, the night before. Get enough sleep and stop lying to yourself that you can function on less sleep. It is not something to "flex" as you are likely not able to function on less sleep and ultimately hurting your own results.
Time to Stop Lying To Yourself and Improve Your Sleep
Your mind workout for today, brought to you by MMNTM: The Gym For Your Mind
Exercise #1: Shower Before Bed (but not within 90 minutes of when you want to fall asleep)
Notes: Taking a warm shower and then getting out into cold air actually helps lower the body temperature and helps you fall asleep better. Much like a cold bed is ideal for your sleep, just instead of your bed, it's the slightly decreased body temperature.
Exercise #2: Get off of Your Phone
Duration: 1 hour before bed
Notes: Focus this time on reading, meditating or just thinking, instead of stimulating your brain with white and blue lights from your screen.
Exercise #3: Get Rid of White and Blue Light at Night
Notes: Whether that be LED lights in your house or light coming from your computer, phone or TV, get rid of these lights as they stimulate the brain and replicate day light. When you switch them out for "warmer" lights, or just use warmer red and orange lights at night, you replicate sunsets and trigger the release of melatonin in your brain.
Exercise #4: Journal at Night
Duration: 20 minutes
Notes: What better way to use the time when you are not on your phone. You can journal about what you are grateful that happened during the day, what you learned and what you could improve on.
Exercise #5: Meditate
Duration: 20-30 minutes
Notes: There are plenty of free guided sleep meditations on YouTube, and honestly one of the best ways to get ready for bed.
Just like that another day on the blog is in the books! Thanks for all the support and if you enjoyed this or learned anything I just ask one thing: bring a friend back tomorrow! Time to make personal development more "normal" because it is at the foundation of every area of our lives. Stop back with a friend tomorrow-- yourmmntm.com/blog
As Always, I Would Never Want You To Stop Learning After One Article. Learn More Here:
Sometimes you just have no time to sleep, 8 hours a night in college? Forget about it.
From clubs to classes to homework and keeping a friend base, it seems like there is never enough time in college to get an adequate amount of sleep. Especially during finals week when you are stressed and struggling to even find 6 hours to sleep in between projects and studying for tests and trying to stay a little active still.
Well, I have been trying to hack my sleep for a while now using techniques from Dave Asprey as well as some of my own that I have been testing to see what is and isn't working. Lately I have been getting 6 hours of sleep and waking up with the energy like I got 10 or more hours of sleep.
Doesn't that sound great? You will free up some extra time at night to be with your significant other or even to just get a little extra work done because now you have essentially added a few hours to your day without sacrificing your energy levels.
I would actually say that I have had almost twice the energy that I used to have over the past months even though I have been sleeping 6-7 hours compared to the 10 hours I used to get.
Time to start waking up ready for the day and not needed to hit snooze 100 times on your alarm.
Step 1: Hack Your Nutrition
It controls every area of your life, so of course it impacts your sleep.
Whether you realize it or not, what you feed your body is one of the biggest things that determines your performance in every area of your life. If you eat better you will notice reduced brain fog, increased energy, better problem solving skills, improved happiness and of course, better sleep.
Food is to your body like fuel is to a car and when you don't put the right fuel into the car it is not going to run right.
I see so many kids in my classes complaining about their sleep, or lack there of, when all they ever eat is Taco Bell, Pizza and burgers, maybe adding one healthy meal a day.
They definitely are not getting the right nutrients from the foods they are eating and this is causing them stress and reduced brain function which leads to worse sleep.
When you start eating the foods that get you correct vitamins, or even taking supplements for vitamins you can't get in your diet, you will increase the amount of deep sleep you are getting. Deep sleep is where your brain rebuilds and grows at night, after a long day and when you get more deep sleep, you are going to wake up easier and more energized.
I have noticed that I almost never wake up during the night anymore since changing my diet and the other things below, and I used to wake up multiple times each night.
Step 2: Master Your Time
Control at least the last hour of your day.
Alone time might be the hardest thing to come by in college, but we can all spend that hour right before bed to ourselves as we are usually back home or in the dorm by that time of the day.
The importance of this last hour is to craft a night time routine that helps you release stress, take the lessons you learned that day, see what went well and what didn't and ultimately focus on growth.
Don't be responding to Snapchats or scrolling through social media, essentially act like you went to bed already because this time is for you, not responding to or worrying about other people's lives.
Use this time to do everything from brain development to meditation and here is a post that talks all about a night time routine >>
You owe it to yourself to spend at least an hour or two a day focused on yourself and your growth, not focused solely on what other people are doing.
Step 3: Everything About Lighting
Phone lighting, house lighting and why it matters.
This may seem like a weird one but it actually helps us in more ways than one when you control and focus on the lights you are exposing yourself to at night.
The worst nights for you at night are blue and white lights and unfortunately that is exactly the lighting that many of us have on our phone, computer and in our house. This includes everything from your phone screen to the new LED lights you might have put in your house, don't worry I am not going to say you can't use your phone anymore.
Starting with your house or dorm lighting, I know the overhead lights in the dorm are absolutely horrible white lights and those you definitely don't want before you go to bed, same with the new LED's in houses. At least change the rooms you are in before bed to more of a warm or ideally a red light before you go to bed.
Why though? Because just think about our natural evolution, as humans we are wired to go to sleep when the sunsets and that is when our body starts to produce more melatonin that helps us sleep. What color is the sunset? Warm red and orange hues, that is the colors you want in your house in order to produce more melatonin and help you sleep better.
Our bodies are not producing melatonin when they see the blue and white lights because those are simulating the middle of the day to our bodies.
A great place to start if you don't want to go and change your lights is to turn on "night shift" on your phone, which gets rid of the blue and white lights on your phone screen and makes it a warmer hue. There is also a software I use on my computer called f.lux that will help you do this on your computer as well.
Step 4: Lose the Phone
I'm sure you can lay off of social media for a few hours, if not you might have a problem.
Sorry, lied to you in the last section when I said I wasn't going to tell you to not use your phone, now I am but it is just for a little bit each day so don't worry.
But it is only for the last hour or two of the day, you choose. Just don't be on it right before bed because this is causing unneeded stress in your life right before bed.
Too many people are on social media right up until they shut their eyes and wonder why they have trouble sleeping. All this is doing is allowing you to compare your life to other's life and be focused on what they are doing, stressing you out even more because it looks like they are doing more than you.
Why bring the stress of social media and responding to other people's lives into your night time routine when all it does is make you get worse sleep?
Step 5: Activate Your Inner Monk
Don't skip this one, it is one of the most important.
Hands down one of the things that has helped my sleep the most,
By meditating for 10-20 minutes before bed I am able to let go of stress and clear my mind right before bed and that helps me reach a deeper and sleep faster, getting the most effective sleep possible.
Click here to see my college meditation routine >>
Plus, there are so many free ways to get started on YouTube with guided sleep meditations that are free. Honestly, you don't need to be paying for apps like Headspace every month when there are equally as good meditations on YouTube!
BONUS: Track Your Sleep
It's all in the numbers.
The best way to see your progress is to track your sleep, thank god for the new and free apps out here that can do just that for you.
These apps can track the amount of deep sleep you get, how many times you wake up during the night, your snoring and much more. You will get a new graph each day that shows the amount of sleep and deep sleep you got and at which points of the night you woke up.
These apps are easy to download if you search "sleep tracking on the app store" and especially helpful if you have a smartwatch. I use my Apple Watch every night to track my sleep!
Thanks for stopping by the blog, I hope you were able to find some value and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
If you are looking for even better and more college hacks based around your habits, click here >>
Other Content You Will Enjoy