Good morning, Believe Nation!
Today we’re going to talk about how you can sleep better.
Rule number one is my personal favorite and I’d love to know which one you guys like the best. And also as you’re watching, if you hear something that really resonates with you, please leave it in the comments below and put it in quotes so other people can be inspired as well. And when you write something down yourself it’s much more likely to stick for you as well. Enjoy!
How To SLEEP Better
We’ve known for a very long time only about 50 years of real research that if you’re not getting enough sleep your cognitive abilities throughout the day go down, your creativity goes down, your stress goes up, your bad decision-making goes up and your ability to handle conflict or life challenges and be resilient and happy and positive all goes to shh.
So what do you do? How do you get more sleep? How do you finally manage this part of your life because look, we all have a lot of expectations, a lot of demands on our lives, and so at some point we start believing the hype out there that, oh, hey you can get by on three, four hours of sleep.
Don’t worry about it. Just sleep a little less, get up a little earlier. And we start telling ourselves this big lie that we can get away with less sleep even though we have 50 years of science saying we can’t, especially today there’s this popular myth that you can take, sleep for two hours, rest, take a nap for 30 minutes here and there or sleep for four hours and nap and meditate throughout the day to catch up and the reality is we know that’s not possible for the vast majority of people.
People say, “But Brendon, the Navy SEALs can do it.” I’m like yes, but you’re not a Navy SEAL and they hate it and they call it hell week when they do that, okay? Most normal, average, must perform, must be awesome, care about your high performance, and have to be smart people throughout the day really must sleep seven to eight hours a night. So if you’re not getting that on a consistent basis, what can you do?
Create Your Own Ritual
So I’ll give you my routine, I’ll give you my nightly ritual but what I recommend for everybody watching is to create your own ritual. I mean it’s almost like I give you a menu and you need to experiment and see what is it that does it for you.
For me it’s like 30 minutes before I’m going to go to sleep, turning off all my devices and gently escorting them out of the bedroom.
Escorting them on a chariot?
They’ll be there in the morning.
Put them on a horse?
You put them in their little homes outside the bedroom. Turning off the lights, the bright lights making it sort of, I just have one nightstand light and one light in the bathroom. Then having a really really hot wonderful bath.
Interviewer: Really, a warm bath?
Yeah, with epsom salts which are very relaxing and flickering candles. But if you guys don’t like baths, have a shower.
Interviewer: I don’t like baths.
I’ve got one. I’ve never used it, yeah.
You can have a shower.
Yeah, and hot is better than cold?
Oh, yeah! You basically want to slow down your brain and soothe your muscles and everything is like powering it down.
Mhmm, I guess when you go on a hot tub late at night, I always feel ready to sleep.
Exactly, you feel exactly. The hot tub it’s a perfect-
Interviewer: So do a hot tub dip if you have a hot tub.
We need to cross that line.
If you have a hot tub go to a hot tub. I don’t have a hot tub so I do the bath. And then put on, if you sleep naked, you sleep naked. But if you wear PJs and night dress or whatever, make sure that you wear clothes for bed. I used to sleep in my gym clothes and then your brain gets this confusing messages.
Supposed to work out.
I’m going to the gym or are we powering down? So even if you wear a t-shirt, make sure it’s not a t-shirt you wear to the gym. And then in bed I only read physical books. I don’t read anything-
On screens. And anybody who is reading The Sleep Revolution in bed I will consider it a personal victory if you actually fall asleep while reading it.
Read 20, 20 pages a night, fall asleep.
Whatever, 10 pages, you get drowsy, you let the book drop, you turn off the light, you’re asleep. So that is incredibly important, for those who have children, you know that that’s how you put your child to bed. You don’t just drop your child in bed, you-
Read to them.
You read to, you give them a bath, you put them in their PJs, you read to them, you kind of transition, it’s like the Goodnight Moon, it’s a goodnight for everything which is really a demarcation line between your day with all its stresses, however blessed our lives may be, every day has stresses, challenges, difficult things and incompletions. There’s nobody who has any interesting job or is a busy mom who finishes the day and says, “I did absolutely everything.”
Interviewer: Yeah, there’s always something that-
Every aspect of your life will improve
That was on my list, I should have done. Never. So you need to somehow tell your brain and your body, we did what we did this day and now the day has come to a close and we need to fully-
Cross the line.
Recharge. We cross the line. We need to cross that line.
Interviewer: Not be in bed, on the screen, thinking about work-
Interviewer: And then try to sleep at the same time. Couldn’t cut off-
I just really, I wish I could sort of convey that feeling that I absolutely totally believe now to everybody watching because I promise that if you do this every aspect of your life will improve. If you have any lingering doubt that you’re not going to be as productive, just try it.
Because it’s like getting in the Tesla. You’re going to get to your destination faster.
With the kind of, consuming less energy.
In that hour to 90 minutes prior to sleep, dim the lights in your house, don’t look at any screens anymore, that means no TV and no handhelds. You’re not Twittering and Facebooking and doing all the other things on your phone, and I really mean, no texting either.
Just stop in that last hour. That means if you want to read a book, go ahead, read a book. Don’t read magazines with dozens and dozens of pictures to start dropping dopamine in the back of your brain stem. Just read one thing, read one article or one book or journal and plan your day, with no noise, no TV.
I mean I know you got, you might have the kids, and they might be loud and everything else but then turn the TV out for yourself. And you’re like, “But Brendon, “I got to fall asleep with the TV.” No you don’t, you just taught yourself to. Trust me, thousands and thousands of years of human history passed with no television.
They slept just fine. I’m sure if you ever gone camping or been in the great outdoors, you’re like wow I sleep amazing! It’s because you’re not watching television I hope. Now people, they’re in the campgrounds, watch in their iPads. It’s like, you got to turn it off, dim the lights, no screens, no sounds. Just chill the last hour and allow you to kind of glide yourself into bed. Calm, cool, you’ll sleep like a champ.
Cool It Down
Tip number three is cool it down. I sleep in as cold an environment as possible. I sleep with less blankets. I don’t wear any clothes and I turn on the air-conditioning down to around 69, 70 max and I generally will have a fan blowing on me. The cooler my environment, the better sleep I actually get.
Research has shown that this is an incredibly powerful and effective way to enhance yours. When you’re hot, when you’re sweating, when you’re sleeping with all those comfy cozy blankets. When you’re snuggling with your sweetie, do it. But when you want solid sleep, get rid of it.
Increase The Quality Of Life
How to increase the quality of sleep? Don’t try to increase the quality of sleep. The ideal way to live is there is no sleep in my life. But that’s not possible. Right now, still body has some inertia so it sleeps minimum, rest at the time it is at ease. If you keep this at ease then sleep does not occur to the body unless it comes to a certain point of exhaustion. So body is never ever asking for sleep but it is definitely asking for rest.
If you do not know how to sit here in a restful manner, it’ll try to rest like this. If you can sit here totally at ease, it’ll sit here for hours without falling asleep. Otherwise this is the only way it knows how to rest. So do not try to increase the quality of sleep.
There’s no such thing. Just learn to keep your body restful and at ease consciously. If you sit here now, one simple thing you can do is you sit down, you come and sit down here, just move your attention from the top of your head down to your toes and see if everything is loose and breezy and relaxed and at ease unless you’re like this. Just bring this to ease as much as you can.
Simple breathing to any complex activity that you do in your life
Not everything is in your conscious level. As much as you can consciously bring it to ease. You will see, suddenly if you are the kind who’ll fall asleep at 10 o’clock, if you simply, one hour you sit here at ease, you will see your sleep will get postponed by half an hour. You won’t feel sleepy at 10. Naturally you’re awake.
So instead of trying to increase the sleep quality, no, you increase the quality of life. If you increase the quality of life, when I say increasing the quality of life, nothing in your life, whatever you may be doing, from simple breathing to any complex activity that you do in your life, the quality of that will not improve if you cannot do it with ease.
Is that so? Hmm? Only when you can do something with total ease, let’s say you’re riding a bicycle. If you’re riding like this, like this, you can’t say you’re enjoying your cycling.
Quality of sleep will be good because quality of life is good.
If you can ride it with ease, it’s so much easeier that even if you take off your hands, it will go only straight the way you want it to go. You’re at ease, because you are at ease the quality of your cycling has improved, isn’t it? So these two things are connected.
So if you enhance the quality of your life, naturally sleep quota will go down. If your quality of your life goes bad, you can’t do anything with these then also you cannot sleep but stressfully you cannot sleep, not because you’re well rested, you cannot sleep.
You cannot sleep because you’re stressed out, if you do this you will not live long. If your body does not get enough rest, it will die, it will break, something will go. If you are not at ease that means you are in dis-ease, getting there. You are in dis-ease means you’re in a certain state of ill health but if we say you’re deceased that means you’re dead.
So don’t move and stay into the direction of dis-ease. Move into the direction of ease. If you become totally ease, sleep quality, sleep quota will come down. Quality of sleep will be good because quality of life is good.
Improve Your Sleep Environment
The last thing we have to talk about is improving your sleep environment and that’ll involves your bed itself, the amount of light in your room, the sounds, the odors, the temperature, a lot of different factors. So we’re going to briefly go through a few of them here and while we do that for each one ask yourself if you could be making any improvements. So first off, let’s talk about your pillow.
A couple of things about pillows, number one, you want to replace yours every couple of years, both because it breaks down over time and gets less supportive but also because every night you’re sleeping on it you’re kind of injecting that pillow with lots of dirt and germs and body odor and stuff that makes it gross which can make it hard to fall asleep. Secondly, and this was news to me until just recently, there are different kinds of pillows for different kinds of sleepers.
For example, I am a side sleeper and for years I was just using the most non-supportive awful pillows until I learned that a side sleeper probably is going to need a firmer pillow that has these gussets on the side of it instead of just the two pieces of fabric that are stapled directly together. And after sleeping on this thing for about a week now I can tell you, it is a lot better than the stuff I was using before.
Try to break that habit
When it comes to the temperature in your room, cooler is better. And according to the National Sleep Foundation, the optimal temperature range for sleeping is somewhere between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. The amount of light in your room or should I say lack of light plays a big role as well because pitch darkness actually plays a big role in melatonin secretion.
So if you have a lot of ambient light coming into your room from like a streetlight outside your apartment you can pick up a blackout curtain which will basically eliminate that light altogether. I actually got one right there that I use for filming. Also if you happen to fall asleep with the TV on you should probably try to break that habit because well blue light. Now if you’re one of those people who thinks that the TV is soothing and they just can’t fall asleep without it, there are some sound based alternatives.
And actually silence really isn’t the optimal solution for all people because silence is so often inconsistent. There’s a bump in the night or there’s a voice in the other room or there’s somebody snoring in the same room as you. So having some sound that can block out those inconsistencies can really help you fall asleep. One option you can check out is ambient noise generators which can generate both white noise which is basically just consistent noise that sounds a little bit like an air conditioner and ambient noises like rain and thunder.
I’ve made a playlist of my own
And for me, my favorite one is Noisli because you can add as many as you want. You can change the volume of each one and basically create the perfect mix for you. There’s also lots of music out there that’s great for falling asleep too. I’ve made a playlist of my own and found several on Spotify and I’ll link to those down below. But my favorite way to fall asleep is with audiobooks.
For me at least, there is nothing better to fall asleep to than spoken word and in fact ever since I discovered audiobooks back when I was probably 12 or 13, all the way up until I graduated high school and got a roommate in college, I would fall asleep every single night to either Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. And as a result, I have huge swathes of both of those books basically memorized.
For me the most effective strategy that I found for sleeping better is having a night time routine. I think we all have some kind of daily routine in the morning what you do when you first wake up but we don’t necessarily have a great night time routine to help you unwind.
And so it changes as my life changes but just like when a child is getting ready for bed you’ll have them get into their pajamas and brush their teeth, maybe read them a story and they lie bed and they fall asleep, that kind of regular nighttime routine at least for me starts to signal that okay it’s time to wind down, it’s time to stop thinking about YouTube and entrepreneurs and all the stuff that can easily keep me awake all night long ’cause I’m excited.
And so my nightly routine looks like this, usually around 10 o’clock now, well me and my wife will take Teemo, our puppy, out for a walk, half hour walk, we come back, we take the stairs up, 13 flights so that we lost some energy then we’ll get ready for bed.
Establishing a nighttime routine
I’ll make sure that all the lights are dim in the condo so there’s nothing super bright and in our face, even going to the bathroom, only the shower light is on instead of the main overhead light ’cause the big lights keep you awake.
In our bedroom I’ll just have the nightlight on instead of the overhead lights for the same reason. I’ll brush my teeth, I’ll floss, I’ll go to bed and usually I’ll sit up for a few minutes reading the book. I’ve got a book by my bedside, I’ll read 10 to 20 pages of that book, put my sleeping mask on, and go to sleep. And that regular routine starting from 10 o’clock to usually we’re in bed by 11 and I’m reading ’til maybe 11:15, 11:20, somewhere around there and that’s when I go to sleep.
That hour 15, hour 20, slowly unwinds my body, slowly unwinds whatever stress or excitement was happening that day. It gives me a chance to connect with my wife and just is a signal that okay now it’s time to go to sleep. And so I think for you, establishing a nighttime routine that’s more than just five minutes will really help you in unwinding what was happening during the day and set you up for a great night’s sleep.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Robert Berrier asked me to. So if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover in the next edition of Believe Life, please leave it down in the comments below and we’ll see what we can do.
I’d also love to know, which rule did you like the best? What did you learn the most from watching this video? What are you going to take from it that you will immediately apply somewhere in your life or your business. I’d love to learn and please leave it down in the comments below.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout out to Doru Tarita. Thank you so much, Doru, for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word. It really really means a lot to me and I hope you’re enjoying the read. So thank you guys again for watching. I hope you have an amazing day.
I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is, much love. I’ll see you soon.
I’m the author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. I collapsed from sleep deprivation and burnout nine years ago now and that is what started me looking around and seeing that I was not alone.
Millions of people are suffering from burnout and that we’ve reached the point in our culture of glamorizing sleep deprivation. And yet all the modern science made it very clear that’s what started me both changing my own habits and introducing a sleep section at the Huffington Post and bringing to our readers and our viewers as I’m doing in the book all the latest science around sleep.
Cultures often believe the wrong thing, I mean in the ’50s, we used to think that smoking was glamorous and we had doctors advertising cigarettes literally in white coats saying I smoke menthols because they refresh my throat.
I feel that sleep deprivation is the new smoking and we glamorize it, have men wearing it like a badge of honor and women too. But men really see it as a virility symbol and brag about how they only got four or five hours sleep which only works if you have a genetic mutation. Sleep is not negotiable, it’s not optional. It is the foundation of a healthy, productive and happy life.