What if I told you of something that can improve your performance? What if it can make you faster, react faster and even improve your accuracy? What if I told you it is 100% legal? Would you use it? First off, do you know what it is?
It’s sleep! That’s right….Sleep!! Often times we have so many things to do that we end up stealing minutes and hours from our sleep time. Maybe you are one that says, “If they only made the days longer.” So true, right? Let us think about that a bit differently. If you stay up later and get up earlier, one potential ramification is the quality of your daily effort might drop because you are tired. You cannot have optimal performance when you are tired. I like it thought, I like that you WANT to stay up later and get up earlier because of the fire that burns within you to demand the impossible. You continue to grind day in and day out doing what others are not willing to do. With that said, sleep is super important just as food is. If you work harder than the average person, you will need to sleep more than the average person. Wait, do you want to be average? I didn’t think so. You need more sleep!
So, why is sleep so important? This is recover time for your body. A study performed at Stanford University found that those who added an average of 2 hours of sleep found their speed increased by 5%, they were more accurate, happier and produced faster reflexes. Thank about this for a second. Adding 2 hours of sleep to your schedule can potentially increase your speed by 5%. If you perform at IRONMAN length event in 11 hours, 5% increase in speed would drop a WHOPPING 33 minutes off your time, with sleep alone! WOW!
I preach daily that process goals are the only path to greatness and the impossible. Sleep is tremendously important to mastering your processes. Why? Being able to master process goals (swim stroke, run technique..) requires you to learn how to perform the technique properly. When you go to sleep, something called sleep spindles takes place. Sleep spindles are microbursts of energy the brain uses to move short term memory of the motor cortex (responsible for movement) and places it into long term memory. Recent research validates that those who have less sleep spindles do not retain as much of their learning as those with more sleep spindles. This means that with less sleep, you must work harder to master the process skills necessary. How do you get more sleep spindles? Sleep longer!
A few tips to help you along the way.
- Develop a routine. Just like our children, we too need a routine. Especially for solid sleeping habits.
- As you travel to your next event, especially if you change time zones, make extra time to get used to the new time so that you can get back to your normal routine.
- Do not take any caffeine within several hours of sleeping. Caffeine half-life is around 3-5 hours however the effects can last 8-14 hours. It WILL keep you up.
- Avoid over-the-counter sleep-aids. They often carry a hang-over affect leading to significant reduction in your performance the next day.
- If you struggle with sleeping, seek a mental coach who can help you learn relaxation techniques.
Now it's your turn, Demand the Impossible… GET MORE SLEEP!