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Sleep Soundly

Welcome to Sleep Soundly!

Welcome to Sleep Soundly!

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. In today's society, we no longer sleep and wake according to the sun's cycle. Many of us work indoors, exposed to fluorescent lights during the day, and at night we watch bright TV and look at screens from a computer or mobile device. The result is an epidemic of poor sleep and sleep disorders. 

2. Lack of sleep is associated with increased rates of obesity, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, depression, and anxiety.

3. The good news is there are many tricks you can use to optimize your sleep, wellbeing, and performance. We're going to explore these concepts in this module.

“Pulling all-nighters isn't a badge of honor. It's the enemy of intelligence, patience, and creativity.” - Jason Fried, Founder of Basecamp.

For most of history, humans have woken up and gone to sleep based on the sun’s cycle. But our current situation is much different. Many of us work indoors, exposed to fluorescent lights during the day. In the evenings, we watch bright TV and look at computer, tablet, or mobile phone screens.

Our internal physiology is no longer matched to the rhythm of the sun. As a result, we’re not sleeping enough and our health and performance are suffering. According to the National Sleep Foundation, we sleep 20% less than we used to a century ago. Seventy million Americans have a diagnosed sleep disorder. In Canada, one in seven people suffer from insomnia. That’s bad.

How bad? Along with sleeplessness comes increased rates of obesity, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, depression, and anxiety. Lack of good sleep is so damaging that it actually shortens your life. An epidemiological study of over one million Americans reported that sleep duration below 6 hours per night was associated with increased mortality.

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Here’s a quick story to illustrate how our culture perpetuates this problem.

Just seconds after its launch in January of 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven crew members. Some of the managers involved in the launch had only slept for two hours before arriving for work at 1 a.m. In the Presidential Commission on the accident, investigators wrote, “The willingness of NASA employees in general to work excessive hours, while admirable, raises serious questions when it jeopardizes job performance, particularly when critical management decisions are at stake.”

Yes, the Challenger tragedy was partly the result of sleeplessness. But I want to focus on the part of the Commission that describes the willingness to work excessive hours as admirable. This same attitude exists in the general workplace today. We receive the messaging that we are better people if we put in longer hours. 

But working yourself into a stupor is not admirable. And volume of work does not lead to excellence. You cannot perform at world-class levels if you’re staring blankly into a screen trying to comprehend words that you could breeze through in a few seconds if you took the time to build a consistent, rejuvenating sleep pattern and routine.

So that’s our topic for this module: getting the sleep you need to live a high-performance life. Together, we’re going to fight back and reclaim sleep. Once you are sleeping like a champion, pretty much everything in your life will get better.

If you didn't have a chance to complete The Wells Performance Questionnaire at the beginning of the Program, please take five minutes to fill it out now. It is entirely up to you, but if you do fill out the audit, we will get back to you with specific recommendations regarding your sleeping patterns.

Today’s New Habit: Log your sleep

Let’s start off really simply! For the next two weeks, log your sleep patterns. Write down what time you go to bed and what time you wake up. This will give you a good idea of how much sleep you normally get and if you go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. We’ll check back in with you next week. Good luck!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Sleeping Soundly and Your Health

Sleeping Soundly and Your Health

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. During the night, we cycle through 90-minute sleep cycles. 75% of our time sleeping is spent in the Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) stage and 25% is spent in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage. 

2. Both NREM and REM are important. NREM sleep is when we recover our energy levels, when our nervous system recovers and regenerates, and when our tissues are repaired. REM sleep is when we establish new connections between neurons in the brain.

3. Sleeping better has endless benefits. It decreases our risk of a heart attack, improves our immune system, helps manage chronic pain, makes us smarter, helps us lose fat, helps us recover faster from training, and can even help us survive cancer. 

“The trend for late nights and early mornings is actually a ticking time bomb for our health, so you need to act now to reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening conditions.” - Dr. Francesco Cappuccio of the Warwick Medical School

The foundation of human health and performance is sleeping soundly. This is where we will start to construct a healthy, high-performance life.

What is Sleep?

People often think of sleep as a time of rest where the body and mind shut down. It is a dormant state when the activity of our brain’s cortex reduces by 40 percent. But sleep is not a passive process. While you’re asleep and not moving there is a lot going on inside you that is helping you to recover, restore, and rebuild your body and brain. Sleep is a highly active metabolic process that helps to optimize our brain structure, repair damaged cells, and restore energy levels.

Humans are naturally attuned to the 24-hour cycle of light and dark. We have developed what are known as circadian rhythms such as sleep-wake cycles, changes in your body temperature, and times where different hormones are released into the blood. Our circadian rhythms are regulated by a structure in our brains called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), although the SCN can be over-ridden by the light or darkness in our environment. That’s what happens when we fly across time zones and we get jet lagged.

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Each night while we sleep we cycle through different stages of sleep in approximately 90 minute cycles. 75% of our night’s sleep is in the Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) stage where our body and muscles relax, temperature and blood pressure drops, heart rate and breathing rate comes down, and cells and tissues grow and repair. The other 25% is called the rapid eye movement (REM) stage wherein our brain is active, energy is supplied to brain and body, and eyes dart back and forth. Both stages are critical for the optimal recovery and regeneration of our bodies and our brains.

NREM sleep is when we recover our energy levels and when our nervous system (our brain, spinal cord and nerves that connect our spinal cord to muscles and organs) recovers and regenerates. During NREM sleep anabolic hormones are released that repair tissues and stabilize our energy levels. REM sleep is equally important and is thought to be when we establish new connections between neurons in the brain.

Optimal health and performance starts with sleep. You can set yourself up for success in all aspects of your life by sleeping deeply and sleeping enough. Sleeping better decreases your risk of a heart attack. It will improve your mood and energy. It improves the immune system, keeping you from getting sick and can even help you survive cancer. It helps manage chronic pain. We consolidate memories while we sleep so sleep is when we actually learn. Imagine if someone developed a drug that could do all that! The drug would be hailed the miracle of our lifetime. Whoever developed it would win the Nobel Prize. Over the next few weeks we'll look at some of the specific links between sleep and health.

Today’s Habit: Log your sleep

Let’s continue with the habit from last week. Hopefully you have been logging your sleep for the past week. If not, you can start now. For the next week, write down what time you go to bed and what time you wake up. Next week, we’ll give you a new habit to implement. Keep up the good work!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Sleep Soundly to Move More

Sleep Soundly to Move More

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Sleep is highly beneficial for athletic performance, and exercising regularly is highly beneficial for sleep.

2. During sleep, our hearts slow down, our blood pressure drops, and our muscles relax. This provides us with some much-needed rest so that our cardiovascular systems and muscles can repair and rebuild themselves.

3. One of the key aspects of recovery during sleep is the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH promotes fat breakdown, increases muscle mass, and improves the body's ability to recover from the workout and prepare it for the next training session. 

“Society is learning how important sleep is and how dangerous sleep deprivation is. We’re teaching our players: Sleep is a weapon.” – Sam Ramsden, Director of Player Health & Performance, Seattle Seahawks.

There is a reciprocal relationship between sleep and exercise. If you sleep properly, you will probably perform well during your next workout, and if you exercise regularly, you will be able to sleep well. It's a positive cycle and another example of the ripple effect.

Dr. Cheri Mah at Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory conducted a telling research project on the impact of increased sleep on athletic performance. Mah measured the 11 members of the Stanford University men’s varsity basketball team for a baseline period of 3 weeks, during which time they slept about 7 to 8 hours per night. Then the athletes deliberately increased their sleep by 110 minutes and tried to stay in bed for 10 hours each night. After the sleep extension phase, the athletes had faster sprint times, improved shooting accuracy (by 9% even from three-point range!), and decreased fatigue.

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We know that sleeping well improves our recovery and regeneration after a workout or athletic competition, which helps us adapt to the exercise we're doing, so we get fitter and stronger faster. During sleep, our hearts slow down, our blood pressure drops, and our muscles relax. This provides us with some much-needed rest so that our cardiovascular systems and muscles can repair and rebuild themselves.

One example of a critical restorative process that occurs while you are sleeping is the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH promotes fat breakdown and increases in muscle mass, which allows the body to recover from the physiological stresses that occur during exercise and daily life. If you are sleep deprived and have less HGH in your system, not only will you restrict your body’s ability to recover while you are sleeping, but it also appears that you will limit your ability to exercise the next day. Lower levels of HGH may decrease the amount of time you can exercise due to reduced energy stores in your muscles.

The more you can commit to getting a proper amount of sleep, the healthier and more effective you will be.

Today’s New Habit: Be consistent

Now that you have logged your sleep patterns for the past two weeks, you should have a good idea of how long you sleep, and when you normally go to bed and wake up.

For the next two weeks, let’s try and be consistent. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Don’t worry too much about how much sleep you’re getting. The important thing now is to try and create a consistent and healthy routine. Keep logging your bedtime and wake times to see how you’re doing. We’ll check in on you next week!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Sleep Soundly to Eat Smarter

Sleep Soundly to Eat Smarter

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Sleep affects what and how much you eat. The worse you sleep, the more likely you are to go for that unhealthy snack. This is because sleep helps regulate the amount of leptin and ghrelin in your body, which are the hormones that control and manage your appetite and satiety.

2. People who sleep less than six hours per night have almost double the risk of obesity compared to those who sleep six hours or more. Lack of sleep also disrupts insulin metabolism, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. 

3. Sleeping well helps us to manage our appetite, avoid cravings for sugar and high fat foods, and improve our body composition. 

We are in the midst of a worldwide obesity epidemic. We are also sleeping less than we ever have in history. Amazingly, those two problems are connected. People who sleep less than six hours per night have almost double the risk of obesity compared to those who sleep six hours or more. The Canadian Obesity Network recently added sleep as one of its top recommendations.

Sleep helps regulate the amount of leptin and ghrelin in your body. Those are hormones that help to control and manage your appetite and satiety. So if you sleep better, you’re better able to avoid cravings for sugar and high fat foods.

But wait, there’s more!

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Lack of sleep also disrupts insulin metabolism, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Recent research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. Matthew Brady and his team showed that after four nights of sleeping four and a half hours each night, the fat cells of the participants acted like the cells of people with full-blown Type 2 diabetes. What that means is that the fat cells became insensitive to insulin. Total body insulin response decreased 16% and fat cell response decreased 30%.

The bottom line: only a short period of sleeplessness changes the metabolism of your cells – as if you have Type 2 diabetes. That’s really not good.

Slow down, do less, sleep more – it’s not only possible, it’s a requirement of a high-performance life. Sleeping well will help you manage your appetite and improve your body composition (more muscle, less fat).

A great biohack for using nutrition to sleep better and vice versa is to have a small protein snack right before you fall asleep. Research has shown that protein ingestion before sleep improves protein synthesis (building muscles) by about 22% when compared to a placebo pre-bed snack.

Today’s Habit: Be consistent

How are you doing? You might be finding it difficult to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. That’s okay! As you continue to practice this habit, it will become part of your regular routine. Let’s continue with this same habit for the next week. Try and go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. If you have one bad day, it’s no big deal. It’s all about making consistent changes, 1% at a time. Keep it up!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Sleep Soundly to Think Clearly

Sleep Soundly to Think Clearly

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. We have 80-100 billion neurons and each neuron has hundreds to thousands of connections to other neurons. When we sleep, the neurons make new connections (called synapses) between each other.  

2. NREM sleep is for mental recovery and learning - when we make memories so we can retain all that new information we gathered during the day.

3. REM sleep is for creativity - when we encode procedural memories like how to perform a new physical skill or mental process.

It’s clear that poor sleep causes health problems and sleeping soundly can help you live a healthy disease-free life. But sleep also has a powerful effect on both mental and physical performance. This is true for exercise, sports, playing music, academics, business, and most other pursuits. Let’s think about the positive effects of sleeping better and how that can help us learn better.

The main stages of sleep – NREM and REM, each have different effects on our ability to learn and create. Professor Vincent Walsh from the University College of London has described the deep, slow wave sleep that happens earlier in the night as being crucial for encoding of information and facts that we encountered during the day. NREM sleep seems to be when we encode memories and learn. The second half of the night – when we are in REM sleep – is when we encode procedural memories like how to perform a new physical skill or mental process. It is also when we do subconscious creative problem solving.

Simply, the first half of sleep is for mental recovery and learning, and the second half is for physical recovery and creativity.

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Sleep Soundly to Be More Creative

One of the physiological processes that happens when we sleep is that neurons in our brains make new connections between each other. We have 80-100 billion neurons and each neuron has hundreds to thousands of connections to other neurons. It is these patterns of neurons and the connections between them that allow us to encode new learning, movement patterns and memories. The key is that the growth of new neurons and the new connections happens at night while we sleep. So if you want to ensure that you are being as creative as you can, that you can solve difficult problems, or come up with new ways of performing a task, then sleep should be at the top of your list of priorities.

Recently, REM sleep has been identified as an incredibly creative state. In a study at the University of California-San Diego, researchers found that REM sleep “directly enhances creative processing more than any other sleep or wake state.” Yes, you heard that right – more even than any wake state! One of the study’s leaders explains: “We found that, for creative problems that you’ve already been working on, the passage of time is enough to find solutions. However, for new problems, only REM sleep enhances creativity.” In REM sleep, the brain makes new and useful associations between unrelated ideas.

Sleep Soundly to Learn Better

Pulling an all-nighter get ready for exams is common. In a school that I visited this year a Principal told me that many of the students show up to school with an array of energy drinks after staying up late studying. This is hardly a high performance approach. Imagine if we taught all our kids how to sleep better and we created a school system that supported that? What would happen to our learning as a nation? How cool would that be?

Our brains are made up of approximately 86 billion neurons. And when we sleep we create new connections between those neurons. Connections are critical, because it is those connections that form the basis for our thoughts, memories, problem solving, decision-making, motor patterns (how we move), and other important aspects of what makes us human. Scientists in China and the US have recently used a microscope to witness new synapses being formed in the brain during deep and sustained sleep. What exactly was it they could see? In short, they watched the brain building memories. We’ve known for a while that good quality sleep is necessary to remember what we have experienced and learned during the day, but not why. This study made visible the brain’s work of replaying the day’s activity like a movie and building new connections between neurons during sleep.

Today’s New Habit: No screens before bed!

You’ve logged your sleep for a month, and hopefully by now your bed and wake time is more consistent.

The next habit to implement is no screens before bed. One hour before your (now consistent) bedtime, stay away from screens. This means no phone, computer, tablet, or TV (the blue light from the screens make it harder for you to fall asleep). You can set a “bedtime alarm” one hour before you’d like to be asleep to remind you to do this. Once the alarm goes off, put away your devices and start winding down for sleep.

This can be a hard habit to implement, so if you struggle at the beginning don’t worry. You can start with 20 or 30 minutes of screen-free time and gradually work up. Good luck - we’ll touch base again next week!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Sleep Soundly Keys 1-4

Sleep Soundly Keys 1-4

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll outline the 7 keys to sleeping soundly. Here are the first 4 keys.

2. Key 1: Save your caffeine for the morning. Limit your caffeine consumption to 200 mg per day and make sure you don't have caffeine within 8 hours of when you'd like to go to sleep.

3. Key 2: Defend your last hour. Stay away from screens - this includes TV, your computer and your phone one hour before you'd like to go to sleep.  

4. Key 3: Keep your sleep cave dark. Melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, is released when it's dark. So make sure your bedroom (or sleep cave) is as dark as possible. 

5. Key 4: Be Cool. Increased melatonin levels cause a natural cooling of your body temperature by 0.3-0.4 degrees Celsius, which helps you fall asleep. So keep your room at 19 degrees C (or cooler) to promote drowsiness. 

By sleeping soundly, we can strengthen our bodies and minds, enhance our mental and physical health, and reach our potential. To help you on your way, here are the keys to sleeping soundly.

Key #1: Save your caffeine for the morning

Caffeine promotes blood flow to the brain, which increases memory and concentration. It encourages oxygen delivery to the body, making exercise feel easier, and acts as an antioxidant, which heals damaged tissue. However, it’s not the caffeine, per se, that does that antioxidant work. It’s the phytonutrients from the teas or the coffee beans, dissolved in the water, that can have that powerful effect. The problem is, while there are health benefits from tea and coffee, too much caffeine can promote anxiety and insomnia. So where is the line between improving performance and decreasing performance?

The general rule is that 200 mg of caffeine per day is safe for most people (equates to about 2 10-ounce coffees or 2 cups of black tea). Another rule to follow is if you want to sleep well at night, skip the caffeine 8 hours before you fall asleep. So if you want to go to bed at 10pm, don’t have caffeine after 2pm. And remember to watch out for other sneaky sources of caffeine. Decaf java can have up to 20 milligrams of caffeine in a cup, and tea, pop, chocolate, weight-loss products, pain relievers, energy drinks and even some cold and flu medications are all to be avoided for a good night’s sleep.

Key #2: Defend your last hour

Have you ever had an exhausting day, then in the hour before you’re going to bed, you find your mind racing even though your body is tired? You’re not alone. Calming down in the hours before you want to fall asleep is crucial. A key habit is not to check your electronic devices within one hour of when you plan to go to sleep unless you absolutely have to.

Research by Mari Hysling from Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare in Bergen Norway published a population-based study on 9846 adolescents and showed that there was a dose-response relationship between the amount of time that was spent using electronic devices during the day and sleep duration, time to fall asleep, and sleep efficiency. Basically, the more adolescents used their electronic devices during the day, the less they slept and the worse their sleep was.

Key #3: Keep your sleep cave dark

I want you to have a place in your home that is your place to rest and recover. Think of it as a peaceful place where you go to crash out after rocking the world all day. This will be your sleep cave – formerly known as your bedroom.

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Melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep) is produced by your pineal gland, which is located deep inside your brain and is very sensitive to light, including light from screens. Because the pineal gland responds to light via neurons that project from your eyes, you have to ensure that you are in a dark space while you sleep. To do that you have to keep you room dark. Really dark. Even the light from your alarm clock is enough to reduce your melatonin levels. Little things like covering up your alarm clock lights or getting dark curtains for your windows will help!

This also means getting rid of your screens if you have them in the bedroom. Television, tablets, mobile phones all compromise your ability to fall asleep. I realize this can be a huge change for you but having a massive light that flashes at you at 240 frames per second is a sure fire way to make sure you don't fall asleep.

Light Therapy Tip: Install f.lux on your computer to cut blue light emissions later in the day. If you have iOS then activate the night shift feature and if you use Android then try the Twilight app!

Key #4: Be cool

In the evening, increased melatonin levels cause the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, cooling the body by 0.3–0.4 degrees C. This cooling promotes drowsiness and helps us fall asleep. Research has even suggested that sleeping in a cool room might help you prevent diabetes, have healthier sugar metabolism, and stay leaner. If you are having a hard time falling asleep, have a warm bath followed by a cool shower to decrease your body temperature slightly, and then make sure your room is as dark as possible. This procedure mimics the effect of melatonin and will knock you out.

At night keep your room cool. A temperature of 19 degrees C should be cool and comfortable for you. If you find yourself waking up because you’re too cold or too hot just adjust your room temperature and the sheets and blankets until you find the right combination to keep you cool and comfortable all night!

Today’s Habit: No screens before bed!

We’re going to continue with the no screens before bed habit. For the next week, keep making a big effort to put away your devices one hour before you’d like to be asleep. Maybe you were only able to do that successfully once last week. That’s okay. This week, try to improve upon whatever you accomplished last week. Remember it’s about small, consistent changes over time. Keep up the good work!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Sleep Soundly Keys 5-7

Sleep Soundly Keys 5-7

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Here are the final 3 keys to Sleeping Soundly.

2. Key 5: Sleep 7-8 hours each night. Even if you can't get 7-8 hours, at least try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Sleeping on a regular schedule is even more important than the total amount of time you are asleep.

3. Key 6: Nap guilt-free. Naps have been shown to improve energy, productivity, cognitive functioning, and health. However, make sure that you take into account the 90-minute sleep cycle. If you want to have a quick power nap, sleep for 20 minutes. If you want to sleep for longer, make sure you complete the 90-minute cycle. 

4. Key 7: Wake up naturally. Sleep cycles are approximately 90 minutes long. We're naturally designed to wake up during the end of our sleep cycle (during REM sleep). So if you wake up naturally within 45 minutes of your alarm, get out of bed. If you try and go back to sleep, you might fall back into the deeper stages of sleep and feel worse when your alarm goes off.

Last post, we talked about managing caffeine, defending our last hour, dark sleep caves, and sleeping in the cool. Here are the final three keys to sleeping soundly to tap into your full potential.

Key #5: Sleep 7-8 hours each night

Research has shown that for adults, sleeping less than 6 hours per night is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality. It takes us 90 minutes to move through a complete sleep cycle. We need at least 5 complete sleep cycles (5 x 90 minutes = 7.5 hours) for optimal sleep.

Also, if you’re sick, if you have done a really hard workout, or if you had a very mentally demanding day, tack on extra sleep to help you to recover and regenerate better! The bottom line? Not sleeping enough can actually decrease our life span! Do your best to get those 7-8 hours per night.

In terms of the timing of your sleep, there is also an increasing body of evidence that suggests that sleeping on a regular schedule is even more important than the total amount of time you are asleep. Studies show that when an athlete’s bedtime is shifted around but the total number of hours they sleep remains the same, there is a measurable decrease in athletic performance. So sticking to a consistent routine is critical.

Check out sleepyti.me. It’s a cool little app that works based on the fact that we sleep in 90 minute increments. So if you know what time you want to wake up, sleepyti.me will calculate when you should go to bed so that you wake up feeling good and refreshed. Check it out at http://sleepyti.me/.

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Key #6: Nap guilt-free

It is fabled that Leonardo da Vinci used to take multiple 20-minute naps throughout the day to charge his creativity. Brainiac Albert Einstein was also a napper. It’s taken hundreds of years, but recent research seems to back up this approach. Naps have been shown to improve energy, productivity, cognitive functioning, and health.

Artists, scientists, and even politicians (Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton) are on to something powerful. Professor Matthew Walker from UC Berkeley has found that a biphasic sleep schedule (sleeping at night and during the day) not only helps with mental recovery and regeneration, but can make you smarter as well!

But there is a catch, and it has to do with those 90-minute sleep cycles we’ve been talking about. In 90 minutes, we generally pass through REM, stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4, then back through stage 3, 2, 1 and REM again.

So if you want to have a rejuvenating nap, go for a short 20 minute power nap or less so that you wake up before falling into the deeper levels of sleep. Or alternately, allow yourself the full 90 minutes to complete all the sleep cycles.

Some companies are optimizing happy napping. Nike, Apple, Google, and Deloitte Consulting encourage employees to add a power nap to their daily routines!

Pick from the “nap menu” below when you seek happy napping:

1. The micro-nap (2-5 minutes) - Helps to decrease sleepiness and improves cognitive performance.

2. The mini-nap (10 minutes) - Improves mental and physical performance, decreases fatigue.

3. The power nap (20 minutes) - Improves alertness and energy and has the added bonus of also improving memory.

4. The I-feel-like-hell nap (30 minutes) - Makes you feel groggy and foggy - go back to sleep!

5. The full-cycle nap (90 minutes) - This one includes all the sleep cycles and is like a mini-full night’s sleep. Great for memory and creativity if you have the time. The added bonus here is that there is some growth hormone released, which repairs muscle and bones. So if you had a hard workout in the morning, then this is the nap for you.

Key #7: Wake up naturally

You now know that we naturally cycle through sleep stages during the night. We have five sleep stages (REM and sleep stages 1-4) within each 90-minute cycle. Near the end of our sleep in the morning, we spend lots of time in REM. We are designed to naturally wake up after a night’s sleep during a REM stage. If you wake up while you’re dreaming, you’re waking up at a good time.

Today’s New Habit: Craft your bedtime routine

Let’s build on the no screens before bed habit from last week.

Once your “bedtime alarm” goes off and you’ve put away your devices for the night, you need to start calming yourself down for bed. This might mean reading fiction in bed, taking a hot then cool shower (to lower your body temperature), or doing a short yoga or meditation practice. Whatever your body needs to wind down after a long day and start preparing it for sleep.

For the next two weeks, pick something that you think will help calm your body down for sleep and add it to your bedtime routine. Maybe it’s something you’re already doing, or maybe it’s something you’ve never tried before. Whatever it is, try to do it consistently for two weeks and see how it affects your sleep. We’ll check back in with you next week to see how you’re doing!

If you’re someone who needs to write down your routine, here is the Link to the Sleep Routine Worksheet.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Sleep Soundly Wrap-Up

Sleep Soundly Wrap-Up

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Keep in mind the seven keys to Sleeping Soundly: save your caffeine for the morning, defend your last hour, keep your sleep cave dark and cool, sleep 7-8 hours per night, nap guilt-free, and wake up naturally.

2. Sleeping better will reduce the risk factors associated with heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. It will also strengthen your immune system, build muscle, regulate your appetite, and help with learning, problem-solving, creativity, and your ability to manage stress. 

We’re at the end of the sleep component….but you’re going to keep working at it. You know how important sleep is. You can’t be exhausted and lead a high performance life. You can’t drag around and be your best self at work or at home.

Here’s what you’ve achieved:

You learned that sleep maintains your health. You know it reduces the risk factors associated with heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. You know that your immune system is strengthened by sleep, helping to keep colds, flu bugs, inflammation, and infection at bay. You know that you build muscle and regulate appetite when you sleep well. You know that your brain gets scrubbed clean. And you know that your learning, problem-solving, creativity, and ability to manage stress are boosted.

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Here are the 7 micro-wins for sleeping soundly, performing better, and being healthier.

1. Save your coffee for the morning. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that stays in your system for about six hours or even longer. Avoid foods or drinks with caffeine for 6-8 hours before your bedtime. That coffee after dinner is just not a good idea. 

2. Defend your last hour. Our hectic lives mean that we often come home from work jacked up and are still revved at bedtime. Create a calming ritual to help lower the cortisol in your body. Make a to-do list and put it aside, stop checking email or other electronic devices by 8 p.m., and read in bed. 

3. Your sleep cave should be pitch black. Light reduces your melatonin levels, and low melatonin can lead to disrupted sleep. Even light from your alarm clock is enough to wake you up. Keep it really, really dark.

4. Your sleep cave should be cool. Your body naturally cools down at night by about 0.3-0.4 degrees C, and that drop in temperature makes you drowsy. Keep the room no warmer than 19 degrees C to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

5. Sleep 7-8 hours per night and be consistent. Our brains and bodies love regular routines. Not only are your hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin well regulated by a good sleep routine, you lower the amount of stress caused by constantly changing sleep and wake times. Sleep for at least 7.5 hours and keep your fall-asleep and wake-up times consistent. 

6. Nap guilt-free. There is growing evidence that napping improves energy, productivity, cognitive functioning, and health. If you don't have time for a full 90-minute full cycle nap, take a short 20-minute power nap to improve alertness.

7. Wake up naturally. Keeping a regular sleep cycle and clocking at least 7.5 hours of shut-eye means that you’re likely to wake up out of REM sleep. This is a good time to wake up, as you’ll feel refreshed. Hitting the snooze button means waking up out of Stage 1 or Stage 2 sleep – not good! You’ll feel groggy and gross. Don’t do it.

There you have it, folks. All of the sleep wisdom wrapped up in a warm (but not too warm!) blanket to take into your (very dark and cool) bedroom with you. With this knowledge of practical things to do to improve your sleep, your days will be the best they can be.

It seems like a no-brainer to get the right amount of rest. And yet, I know it’s a daily struggle.

Practical steps help a lot. Embrace the process of building your sleep cave: getting your bedroom really dark, keeping screens out, cooling the air, and having a few good fiction books at hand. Also, monitor your caffeine, avoid gastro-distressing foods, be consistent in your bedtime and wake time, fight like a hyena to get 7.5 hours of sleep, and avoid snoozing before or after your alarm.

Remember, make 1% improvements. You can’t do everything at once. Small steps really matter and you can always do a bit more. And you really can sleep better.

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Today’s Habit: Craft your bedtime routine

Let’s continue with the same habit as last week to craft your ultimate bedtime routine. If you were reading fiction in bed, continue with that. If you were doing yoga, keep it up. If you were practicing meditation, awesome. There is not one solution for everyone so do what works for you. As you continue to practice this, it will eventually become the routine you do every single night. This will set you up for a good night’s sleep and a healthy, high performance life.

Link to the Sleep Routine Worksheet

Start, Stop, Continue

Now that you’ve completed the module, is there a habit or routine that you would like to start? Is there a habit or routine that you would like to stop? Is there a habit that you would like to continue?



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.