by Dr. David Minkoff April 11, 2018 6 min read
What would you do for something that improved your performance and health across the board?
Something that could supercharge your brain power, recovery time, immune function, all of it.
Would you pay $100? $200? A thousand?
Would you travel to an exotic location just for the opportunity to get your hands on a rare, newly discovered plant found deep in a jungle?
How far are you willing to go to become your best?
Think about it. What is your price point?
You are about to learn exactly what will give you the edge, the health, the vitality you’re looking for.
Our culture is conditioned to look for external solutions.
But in our search for the next greatest performance-enhancing supplement, the diet that will change everything, the new miracle medicine, we sometimes miss the important things.
We overlook the obvious.
The easiest, cheapest and most effective solutions are sometimes right in front of us.
We are, of course, talking about SLEEP, and it’s more important than you ever imagined.
According to a Gallup survey, the national average for sleep is just under 7 hours per night. If 8 hours is the ideal, that’s really not too bad.
Until we take into account the difference between time in bed and time asleep. One study found that most people only get 80% of the number of hours they think they do.
If you think you are getting 8 hours of shut-eye, you’re probably really only getting 6!
It takes time to fall asleep. You wake up and then doze for a bit before getting out of bed. Maybe you wake up in the middle of the night, interrupting your sleep cycle.
These interruptions add up, eroding your health and well-being, day in and day out.
Let’s look at some of the data on how sleep impacts our health.
Let’s start with our overall performance. We all know we don’t feel our best when we haven’t gotten enough rest. We’re not quite as observant or on-point. Words might feel a little more clumsy than usual.
But we never really quantify or compare it.
Have you ever seen those signs on the side of the road advising you to not drive tired?
Research shows that when we get 6 hours of sleep or less, our performance is virtually the same as when we are drunk.
Would you drive drunk? Would you speak to your boss, go to a meeting, or do your job drunk? Consider this perspective next time you want to cut back on your sleep time.
We’ve all had the experience of feeling a little more cranky and irritable when we don’t get enough sleep.
Maybe we get angry at that person who just cut us off on the freeway, or snap at the barista who messed up our coffee.
But why is that? Why does sleep have such an impact on our mood like this
Interestingly, it comes down to hormones.
Stress hormones are reduced and rebalanced while we slumber. Cortisol, for example, is actually inhibited by sleep. The more you sleep, the less of the stress hormones you make. The less stress hormones you make, the more emotionally balanced you are throughout your day.
And the effect lasts longer than you think. Another study found the increase in cortisol levels following sleep loss lasted at least two days.
It’s not just your emotions that suffer when your stress hormones are out of control. The fight-or-flight response activated by cortisol also suppresses your immune system.
People who slept less than 7 hours are 300% more likely to catch a cold. And it doesn’t stop there.
Fatigue, weight gain, high blood pressure, and even depression occur in the wake of sleep deprivation.
This is the opposite of health and optimum performance. And it all comes back to sleep.
Exercise is critical for gains in strength, but if you don't get enough, you’ll never get the gains you could be getting.
Training and exercise create stress in your muscle tissue. It provides the stimulus, the signal to grow more muscle.
But the actual growth occurs during recovery. It happens while you sleep. This is when you have the most energy and resources available for the silent work of muscle growth.
As we go through our day, we experience all kinds of interesting things. Sights, sounds, emotions, information. All this sensory information goes into our short-term memory, but to really benefit, we need to integrate it into long-term memory. We need to process, consolidate, and internalize our experiences in order to truly learn from them.
This is exactly what happens during our sleep.
Specifically, it happens during REM sleep, the dreaming stage. Our brain reorganizes, categorizes, and associates everything, building new connections to store all the new information we’ve encountered.
REM is when learning and memory ACTUALLY happens.
The part most people miss is that it isn’t evenly distributed throughout your sleep. If you get 50% of the sleep you should you don’t get 50% of your REM sleep. In reality, it’s more like 20-25%.
There are 5 stages of sleep and we cycle through them about every 90 minutes. The deep sleep stage (stage 4) is longer earlier in the night. This is where our body repairs itself and grows. But the longer we sleep and the more cycles we go through, this stage gets progressively shorter and the REM stage gets progressively longer.
So when you cut short your sleep, you lose your longest REM stages, where more of the memory consolidation occurs.
The longer we sleep, the better and more efficiently we learn.
It’s not just learning and memory that are happening during REM. It is the realm of our dreams.
Our neurons fire off all kinds of new associations, linking our newest experiences with past ones in bizarre, unexpected, and astonishing ways.
It is an associative process.
And this associative process of dreaming is the essence of creativity.
Thus, by increasing your REM sleep, which is only done by sleeping longer hours, you exercise the processes that lie at the core of creativity.
If you use creativity in your job (and really, who doesn’t?) then sleeping may be one of best performance-enhancing activities you can engage in.
Clearly, there are incredible benefits to getting a full night’s sleep. But sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Here are a few tricks you can use so you can be at your best every day.
And the best part?
It’s free and available every single night. No special jungle herbs. No expensive pharmaceutical formulations. No careful diets.
Just sleep for optimal health and performance.
Sometimes even despite all our best efforts to get the sleep we know we need, our brain just won’t shut down when it’s time to sleep.
If you need a little extra help with your sleep, try our Healthy Sleep Ultra Enhanced with PerfectAmino. It’s our all-natural formula to relieve stress and anxiety, relax your mind, and give just the right signals to your body and brain to put you to sleep.
by Dr. David Minkoff
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