Episode 165- Why You Need To Sleep Smarter

We are going to talk about sleep today and man in the entrepreneurial and freelance world, this is a hot button topic because even though we know all about it, we know we need it. Quite honestly, it’s just something that’s not being taken seriously until often it’s too late. And I’ve told you about my sleep issues in the past, the adrenal failure in the past, so I won’t go deep into that, but there was a book and a podcast, but I got deep into, while I was deep into that and now three or four years later, it has transformed my sleep and my health has systematically flip things around where I am on the opposite side of the recovery that I was going through. And that book is called sleep smarter by a guy named Shawn Stevenson and is the host of the Model Health Show, which was my go to health podcast while I was going through all those issues.

And this book came out quite literally, well had been averaging two to three hours of sleep a night, not by choice for months at a time. And even in my bleary state, when Shawn announced that he was doing a book launch party in St. Louis, Elizabeth and I decided that we were going to take the kids and go on a little road trip of 10 hours to be there for his party. So we supported his launch. Now he had no idea who we were, but we showed up and his wife Anne was there and she said, are you the ones that drove out from Pittsburgh? And then a few minutes later we got to meet Shawn and thank him and we got to introduce him to our kids. And our kids had heard his voice so much that Dylan was four years old. And I looked up at Shawn and I said to Dylan, I said, who is that?

And his cute little squeaky voice, “He was like Shawn Stevenson!” And Shawn put his hands over his heart and he was like, “you just made my night.” And I just said, it was the least that we can do for everything he’d done for us and what he did for us with his teachings and his book was revitalize our sleep. And our evenings because until the adrenal issue hit, I was just your constant staying up late, watching shows, watching sports, on the computer at night, you know, 11:30, 12 one o’clock was not uncommon to go to sleep. I’d wake up at five or six, I’d feel groggy, I drink coffee and it was just normal. Man. I read this book and I’m going through all the chapters and I’m like, I’m doing everything wrong and no wonder I’m feeling the way that I’m feeling. It’s finally caught up with me and quite often we don’t make a change until it catches up to us.

We always say we’re doing fine and we feel like we’re doing fine, but internally if you pay attention to signs are showing that it’s wearing down, that’s going to hit you. I’m going to tell you that if it hits you in the form of a severe adrenal fatigue like I went through, you will make the hard changes that you need to make and there’s a lot of great tips in this book. I mean, we could do a series of podcasts on it, but our talk to you about one specific one, one of the ones that has stuck, most of them have stuck. But this one I love telling people about because it’s that important. And the thing is that the most important time to be sleeping is between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM I know right now a lot of you are groaning like that’s not even possible.

And trust me, I’ve heard all of it, but hear me out on this between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM is when your body heals itself the best with your natural circadian rhythm, that is when our body heals, regenerate cells recovers from everything it’s went through. And when we don’t get that over time, we begin to break down. The problem is you don’t feel it breaking down because it creeps in slowly. But if you find yourself tired with less energy than used to have more irritable than you just used to be and less excited without a spring in your step, your sleep patterns could be a reason why. The first argument that you always hear is, but I’m a night owl and for the most part that’s a bunch of crap. You’ve trained yourself to be a night owl. You’ve created those habits. And why has this happened because of the modern pace of this world?

I’d be willing to bet that 150 years ago there weren’t a whole lot of night owls because they didn’t have electricity. So when the sun went down and they lit their candles, they started winding down and they started calming their minds. And as the world worked, as it got darker, they went to sleep. And when the sun Rose, they woke up refreshed, ready to go. But now the world is lit up 24 seven and if you’re old enough to remember a world before the internet, you didn’t have much more besides late night television to keep you engaged. But now in the business world and Netflix and live streaming in 24 hours on demand, it never ends. But what happens when you’re on screens late at night, the blue light and the overstimulation doesn’t allow your body to relax, to be able to sleep. So not only are you staying up later because you’re more engaged and more active online in front of a screen, but your mind keeps going, which oftentimes can lead to not such great results as anxiety and stress.

You’re not calming down and you’re missing out on the best part of recovery for your body, which is between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM you’re just losing that. And when you read more into this with Shawn talked about and now there’s been a lot of studies in books on this, is that people working night shifts have a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease than those who worked in the day. And one of the main culprits is changing the body’s natural rhythms by being active at night and asleep during the day. That has such harmful consequences. And technically what happens is that by doing this, we alter our melatonin levels, which doesn’t allow us to get into restoring mode, which is where the repairs to our cells and our tissues happen. And it leads to a much higher level of inflammation and weight gain as well, which leads to all these health problems.

So even though you’re not actively taking a night shift by staying up late and being on screens either working or through entertainment, you are doing all this damage to your body. And like I said earlier, it creeps up on you so you don’t feel it immediately. But I’m telling you from firsthand experience, when it hits, it hits hard and it changes your life. I can tell you that if we did not have the freedom that we have, the time freedom, the money freedom, it would have destroyed our business. And if I had a job look out, it would have been done. I quite literally could barely function for months. So I consider it my job here to bring these things to you because I don’t think they’re being talked about enough, especially in the freelance and entrepreneurial world where it’s so easy to never shut off.

You know, when I had a job I couldn’t stand it and I hated my boss and the only thing I did when I came back was complain. But I wasn’t excited to keep doing work with our business and for so many entrepreneurs and freelancers, we really love what we do. So we could become almost workaholic because the next thing is just another good thing to do or something that we need or want. But if you want to do this successfully over the long term, it’s imperative to get your sleep in order, get your body rested and recovered. So you can do this for a really long time. So remember, do the best you can, 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM. That is the time when your body recovers the most to give you the most sleep, to give me the bus energy and to allow you to live a long, healthy, successful life. And I will get back to you tomorrow, or hopefully we all have a good night’s sleep. I’ll talk to you then.

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