You are exactly where you need to be right now if you are looking to improve your sleep and overall lifestyle. Let me tell you why.
We decided it would be beneficial to get in touch with the elite sports sleep coach, Nick Littlehales, to share his expert sleep tips with you.
For those of you that don’t know, Nick is the author of “Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps, and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind”. A great read with proven solutions for better nights, from the “sleep guru” to sports stars including Cristiano Ronaldo.
Not only has he conducted many practical and clinical research projects into sleeping habits, but his proven approach is also endorsed by leading professionals in sport and business. How’s that for legitimacy?
I’m excited to share with you Nick’s background and personal sleep tips mainly because they are rather unorthodox. And I really like unconventional approaches to anything. Okay, his sleep advice can be a head-scratcher at first but I certainly won’t argue with someone that has 30 years’ experience in the world of sleep science. Instead, I jumped on the bandwagon and here’s why you should too:
It came to no surprise when I discovered that Nick’s journey into the sleep industry initially began by means to support his new family.
Nick worked hard to earn an income, he asserted himself in the industry and ever since he reached key influencing positions. He realized shifting people’s perspective on the importance of sleep is a challenge. So he approached elite athletes, hoping they would be more receptive, “I could learn from them, driven by my own love of sports.” he stated.
Even though, for many years thereafter, it was a slow burn of perception change in certain sports, giving up was no option for him. Dedication and consistent push into the 24/7 global culture finally made the penny drop.
It’s true, I tell you, with passion comes determination.
Based on Nick’s experience, he believes “Lack of knowledge of this third pillar of human well-being is generating an ever-increasing 24/7 technology-driven culture.”
When Nick’s office was based in UK, Manchester, he contacted the local football club Manchester United FC on their approach to recovery. At the time, sleep wasn’t considered to be a performance factor, but Nick managed to influence the Manager, coaches, and some key players.
As the sleep coach started to have more inclusive time with the club, he instigated changes, therefore, not only mental but physical recovery became a performance criteria as well. With confidence, proven results and a fantastic period of success for the club, the word started to spread.
I commend you Mr. Littlehales, for being an integral part of these athletes’ wellbeing.
Even though Nick has influenced countless organizations, athletes, managers, coaches, sport science professionals, and many others around the globe, the reality is “scratching the surface” of what could be achieved.
While Nick didn’t actively coach Ronaldo, he did influence his interest in sleep. The soccer star references many R90 Techniques throughout social media, including the power of CRP’s (controlled recovery periods) Nap. “In other words, a favorite of his, to balance the pressure of modern day international football.” Nick wrote.
I can back him on this one. My 30-minute midday power naps have been a real game-changer in terms of regaining energy.
This player has two separate houses for use during Wimbledon, one for himself and his training and conditioning staff, the other for his family. This approach is used to keep his elite performance athlete environment and mindset separate from the key performance mindset having the family with him.
We were curious to find out whether or not family stops us from getting a good night’s rest, and Nick’s answer is rather interesting.
He said, “Young families, of course, disrupt adult Monophasic sleep-wake routines, because they sleep polyphasically. But if you have maintained a polyphasic approach throughout your life then newborns, infants have less influence.”
In my mind, it makes total sense to adopt a polyphasic routine when you are planning to start a family.
The elite sleep coach shared his personal sleep tips with us, that ensure he gets a great night’s sleep. And I found his initial response quite amusing. Nick wrote, “With so many variable influencers, some planned and many out of our daily control, there is no such thing as a perfect nights sleep.”
"With so many variable influencers, some planned and many out of our daily control, there is no such thing as a perfect night's sleep."
I had to stop and think about this for a moment. And I agree, there is no set way of doing anything. We are all different and the aim should be to develop an approach that unlocks more consistent levels of sleep.
It’s true that research suggests that 8 hours in any 24 is the ideal for a healthy active adult, but Nick emphasized that some need this amount and some less. Another factor to consider is personal occupational and lifestyle choices in your 24-hour culture.
And now that you know how beneficial sleep is for improved recovery and your general well-being, here’s where it gets twisted.
Most of you may have heard of the dangers of blue light at night by now. I certainly have. As someone actively involved in the Swanwick mission, I’m aware that increased use of digital devices at night affects our ability to fall and stay asleep.
Here’s what the sleep coach had to say about this:
Nick explains that sunlight triggers normal human functionality, which is vital to our survival. It activates the happy hormone, serotonin, that keeps us awake and active. He continued to share that our exposure to reduced light and darkness triggers the chill-out, recovery hormone, melatonin, a hormone that helps us fall asleep.
Before the invention of the electric light bulb and daylight saving time (for some parts of the globe), 12 hours of exposure to blue light, 4 hours in diminished light and 8 hours in darkness was ideal. “However, this isn’t practical for most,” Nick wrote, “so the use of light therapy tools to increase exposure and blue light blocking interventions, help manage our relationship with light.” he continued to explain. Free yourself from blue light with the best Blue Light Blocking Glasses for better sleep.
We asked Nick why when and how much we should be exposed to daylight. He explained that with sunrise, light triggers key human active functions. “It is important to take advantage of this during its strongest period into midday, as it diminishes thereafter into sunset irrespective of weather conditions.”, he continued to write. With so many people working or exercising indoors under artificial lights, a need to unnaturally over-stimulate is created.
Even though today's technology are key interventions that help us create personal recovery familiarisation, Nick mentioned that just because you can now track your sleep doesn’t mean you should. He wrote, “The tracking data technology still needs to improve along with many years of data collection to establish sleep performance criteria you can trust and benchmark to you personally. According to the sleep coach, “we are designed to be able to sleep anywhere, in any way, on anything, anytime, so how far do you let intrusive sleep data collection start to influence your everyday approach?” Technology that assists us to manipulate our environmental temperature and lighting are key interventions. Combined with devices such as, SleepPhones, that help us create personal recovery familiarisation.
Having mentioned that, your body needs to cool down in order to fall asleep. If you toss and turn at night during hot summer days, you’ll be happy to know there’s an easy way you can regulate the temperature of your mattress effectively to ensure a good night’s rest.
Get The Chilipad Cube mattress to ensure the perfect temperature for you to fall asleep.
Nick’s book, “Sleep” changed so many lives. Here’s one piece of advice he shares with those who haven’t read his book yet and aren’t familiar with his revolutionary approach to sleep training.
“Read my book”, he wrote. “Tap into your browser Circadian Rhythms to broaden your knowledge of this process that humans are completely synchronized with. Redefine your approach to sleeping as mental and physical recovery. You’ll realize it’s more natural to sleep in shorter periods more often than one main block at night. [Snoozers, Nappers, Zoners, Kippers, Mindsetters = modern day winners].”
Well, there you go! Lots to think about and reconsider, right? I’m definitely lying in bed tonight reevaluating my sleep routine. Join me on this journey if you will, and feel free to let me know how it worked out for you.
For the time being, get our Sleep Hypnotherapy to help put yourself to sleep instantly, any time you want.
Another article that you might find interesting talks about what polarized sunglasses are, check it out!
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