Book Review – Sleep Smarter

“I can sleep when I’m dead,” one of the infamous quotes of a modern day hustler.

Today, these go getters expect a gold star sticker on their report card for staying up late and doing something they feel is more productive than sleep.  Unfortunately, they are committing one of the most counter productive crimes to their health, punishable to the fullest extent.

Adding more hours to your day by sacrificing sleep at night will only result in you taking years off your life. Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and obesity are a few of the many diseases that are plaguing our society today and sleep deprivation is the culprit.

“High quality sleep fortifies your immune system, balances your hormones, boosts your metabolism, increases physical energy, and improves the function of your brain.” – Shawn Stevenson

Shawn Stevenson is a fitness and nutrition expert, the host of the Model Health Show, and the author of Sleep Smarter.

The Model Health Show is one of my favorite podcasts. Shawn is a comical genius when it comes to shedding light on major impediments to our health. If you listen to Shawn’s podcast you’ll be lucky enough to read the entire book with his voice playing in your head.

His style is simple. First he shocks you with facts about what you have been doing wrong all your life, and just before you start feeling like you’re doomed, he motivates you with actionable information to reverse the damage.

The chapters of his book are organized in the same fashion.  Sleep Smarter is a short, easy, and entertaining must read for anyone looking to live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life.

“You’ll laugh, you’ll think, you’ll plan, you’ll put things into action, and you’ll see your life transformed as a result of it.” – Shawn Stevenson

Shawn gives 21 proven tips to sleep your way to a better body, better health, and better success.  He explains that it is not only the quantity of the sleep you get that plays a role in your health, but also the quality of the sleep you are getting.  I won’t go into all 21 tips, but I will let you in on a few that are the most impactful.

AVOID SCREENS BEFORE BEDTIME

Quit your habit of falling asleep watching television or scrolling thru Facebook.  (I was so guilty  on this one.) Technology has helped us to connect in so many ways, but is hindering our health.  According to Shawn’s research, television, cell phone, and laptop screens emit blue light that can negatively affect our body’s natural release of melatonin secretion and circadian cycle.   Our bodies cannot adapt as quickly as technology has evolved.  Throwing circadian rhythms for a loop can boost your chances for harmful diseases.

“If you want to give your body the deep sleep it needs make it a mandate to turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime.”

HAVE A CAFFEINE CURFEW

Boy do I regret those long, coffee filled nights of studying in college. There’s no wonder why I was restless before that test and running for another cup. Caffeine is a stimulant that plays games with your body. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that helps signal to your body that it’s time for bed. Caffeine is so structurally similar it mimics and blocks adenosine from reaching your receptor sites.  It’s an imposter that is tricking you into staying up and preventing you from getting the sleep you deserve.

“Set a caffeine curfew at around 2pm. Caffeine has a half-life of 8 hours i.e. 200mg of caffeine becomes 100mg in 8 hours, and 50mg 8 hours after that. It hangs around in your system for a long-time so be careful when consuming caffeine.”

GET YOUR FRIENDS OUT OF YOUR BEDROOM

By, “friends,” Shawn means all of those devices he said to avoid before bedtime.  Are you part of the 50 percent of Americans sleeping with your phone within arm’s distance at night? Shawn suggests avoid sleeping with the enemy! Not only do these devices emit harmful blue light, but they also emit harmful electric and magnetic fields known as EMFs.  EMFs have been linked to leukemia, brain tumors, and breast cancer.

“According to Professor Lennart Hardell of Sweden, people who begin using cell phones heavily as teenagers have four to five times more brain cancer as young adults.”

CREATE A SLEEP SANCTUARY

The bedroom should only be used for two things 1. sleep and 2. sex. Do you have the pleasure of working from home? If so, keep it out of your bedroom. Shawn says that creating a stressful environment out of your bedroom is going to be harmful on your sleep. Your bedroom should be a haven for sleep with fresh air and greenery.

“Get at least one houseplant to improve the air quality in your home.”

BE EARLY TO RISE

This is how the smart hustlers do it.  Shawn promises that his tips can help you sleep your way to bigger success, and this is one of them. Going to bed early and waking up early helps to sync your body with the Earth’s circadian rhythm, and not to mention makes you feel like you are on top of your game.  I’ve been rising by 5:30 every morning and have seen dramatic changes to my sleep and productivity levels!  It’s really not that hard to do once you get in the hang of it.  I actually look forward to my mornings for meditation, exercises, and even a little reading.  When bedtime rolls around I hit the hay without a problem.

“Go to bed within 30 minutes of the same time every night. Many people think they can sleep less during the week and “catch up” at the weekend. All this does is throw your schedule out of whack.”

Start fast tracking your health and success by getting quality sleep.  Read the rest of Shawn Stevenson’s 21 tips in his book, Sleep Smarter.  You can purchase the book from Onnit.com.

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