We connected with performance coach Todd Anderson to learn about the importance of sleep and breath work. Do you think you can get by on only a few hours of sleep? Find out why Todd thinks you may be risking optimal performance.
- Black Out Shades – our eyes are sensitive to light so if you can black out your shades it’s a great way to start.
- Get Enough Sleep – when you’re waking up too early that is cutting off your REM sleep. The second half of the night is your REM sleep so make sure you’re able to sleep in long enough. Make sleep a priority.
- 2 hour Fasted Window – give yourself a good window for not eating before bed. You’re going to get a boost of growth hormone and that’s going to start your sleep cycle in a nice orderly fashion.
We don’t want to just make it to 80, we want to thrive and function. 7 hours of sleep is widely accepted as the minimum amount of sleep needed to function optimally as an adult. But I hear it all the time from people that they only need 5 hours of sleep. That is a poor risk-to-reward ratio. There are not many negative repercussions from sleeping extra vs. Under sleeping because you think you’re one of those people that can function on less sleep. I would overshoot that goal to play it safe.
In the morning cortisol is what wakes you up. You get this nice big spike right before you wake up. It’s been shown that when we jump in the cold plunge it lowers that cortisol right back to baseline. The other thing that’s sweet about the cold plunge, is it’s essentially like the most natural cup of coffee. When you get in the cold plunge it triggers that flight or fight response, norepinephrine, adrenaline, dopamine production shoot through the roof. When you have caffeine, it tends to peak the dopamine levels but then they crash. When you get in this cold plunge it spikes these neuromodulators but then they slowly taper off with no crash. It’s about as good as it can get.
I think that breathing is an amazing way to regulate your nervous system. But it gets a little overcomplicated and people don’t know where to start. All you do is ramp up your nervous system or down regulate it. You have your sympathetic nervous system when you’re ramping up and parasympathetic when you’re slowing down. These different techniques ramp you up or slow you down. As a rule of thumb, if your inhalation is longer than your exhalation, you’re going to ramp yourself up and if your exhalation is longer than your inhalation, you’re going to calm yourself down.