In 2019, we are exploring energy. How it affects us physically, mentally and spiritually. We have hooked up with a series of experts who will set an experiment every month to help us discover a way of managing our energy.
In February, we are looking at a super important mental and physical topic – SLEEP.
As humans we need to SLEEP and most of us love it. However, with the lack of education and by default, misunderstandings, we find it increasingly difficult to develop and enjoy its natural mental and physical recovery benefits; recovered and energised to make the most of every day.
In any 24 hours we ideally need 30% in recovery (30% in a lifetime). However, unlike the other two health pillars, exercise and nutrition, SLEEP has never been explored to the same levels and yet it demands the most of our time.
Without awareness, SLEEP can be a complex process. There are so many variables. We are all different in so many ways and adopt ongoing lifestyle and occupational choices that add to that complexity. The key to unlock this knowledge? Redefine your everyday approach to recovery.
For example, adopting a Monophasic, 8-hour single period of nocturnal SLEEP was forced upon us by the Industrial Revolution. An approach which had never played a role in human recovery before that point.
Before the Industrial Revolution, humans always recovered SLEEP in a Polyphasic approach. Recovering in shorter periods more often because they were more aligned with the everyday Circadian Rhythms that remain with us today.
Our experiment for February is to move from Monophasic SLEEP towards Polyphasic SLEEP. This experiment will be headed up by Nick Littlehales, a world re-nowned Elite Sports SLEEP Recovery Coach for over 22 years. Nick will share some of his game changing proven R90 Recovery Techniques as used by elite athletes and high achieving individuals globally as well as people in all walks of life.
Nick’s best-selling book SLEEP - The Myth of 8 hours the power of Naps and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind reveals his journey and how you can transform your sleep to unlock higher more sustainable levels of mental and physical recovery to improve your performance at work and play.
Februarys experiment will be a real-time journey into redefining your everyday performance approach.
Identify with your genetic Chronotype (personal sleep recovery characteristic aligned with the Circadian Rhythm of your time zone.)
A lark morning type, AM'er, feels most energised from Sunrise to Midday.
An Owl evening type, PM'er, feels most energised from Midday to Evening.
Identify your natural most Consistent Wake Time (CWT) based on your Chronotype, not your occupation.
Example - 6.30am (AM'er) is the most natural wake time (not based on when have to get up for work.)
Then break your 24-hour clock into 16 x 90-minute cycles (periods) from that 6:30am wake time. If your schedule means you need to be at work for say, 7am, then you would get up at 5am (90 mins before CWT.) Don’t worry you are thinking differently now and will make up the recovery time later!
Thinking Polyphasic! Introduce a short break every 90mins. Aiming for a bigger one midday and/or early eve if possible.
First 90 minutes after waking and every 90 minutes thereafter. So, for the 6:30 CWT this could be, for example:
12:00 - 30 min sleep, rest, gentle walk, zone out or meditate
17:00 - 30 min sleep, rest, gentle walk, zone out or meditate.
Every 90 minutes there also could be a short break of say 5 mins to rest the brain.
When taking a break, put an alarm on so you might get 15-20 mins sleep within that time and are not worrying if time has gone over. Allocate the full 30 minutes if you can, but at the very least 5 mins would be okay on day where it’s not feasible. If sleep not available, walk, sit quietly or just zone out.
For the whole day for this example above, it would mean say 4 cycles of 90 min sleep at night and then with one rest during the day, that adds another cycle. (even if only rested for 30 mins or less). To total 5 cycles a day.
The secret is to worry less about sleep and introduce a new recovery structure around your natural 90 min rhythms. If it goes wrong one day, make it up on the next day. Look at the week as a whole - aiming to get 35 cycles of recovery over 7 days.
Record your energy levels and how it affects your wellbeing.
Nick also advises that you get more aligned with light. Key human functions are triggered by light and dark. External light (daylight) is so much stronger than internal lights. Download a FREE LUX light meter to your device and discover your everyday light exposure. Increasing and decreasing exposure throughout the seasonal shifts is a key recovery technique.
You can buy Nick’s book here. Also available in 15 languages and audible
By redefining our approach to recovery, we have a far greater chance to feel more energised, motivated and alive!
Do follow our progress and let us know how you got on