Book Excerpts: Sleep Smarter

Shawn Stevenson’s new book, Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success, has awesome sleep and living tips for anyone looking to attack every day with a fully rested body and mind. It’s great for athletes and coaches a like, and is sure to offer tips to help even already great sleepers! Excerpts are below and you can find his book on Amazon.

But what’s been discovered is that sleep is actually what has enabled us to grow and evolve to the incredible level we have. Sleep hasn’t been an evolutionary problem; it’s been an evolutionary catalyst. P 4

Simultaneously, your brain cells are reduced in size by about 60% while you’re asleep to make waste removal even more efficient. P 5

The office workers with more natural light exposure tended to be more physically active and happier, and they had an overall higher quality of life. P 12

However, as you’ve learned, being able to take in natural light through your eyes is a part of the solution you can always utilize. Even on a cloudy day, your body will give you a favorable response. P 16

Cutting out some screen time at night is likely the number one thing you can do to improve your sleep quality immediately. P 19

If you want to give your body the deep sleep it needs, make it a mandate to turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize. P 25

I didn’t sleep well then because the temperature of our bodies has a very strong impact on our ability to sleep. P 35 – Don’t work out late at night, if you do take a cold shower

The reality is that you always have a choice. As soon as you say something is impossible, that’s when you close the door to the hundreds of other opportunities that are a lot closer than you think. P 48

(Where you wake up within your sleep cycle is important) For example, if you go to sleep at 10 PM, set you alarm for 5:30 AM, you’ll likely find that you feel more refreshed when you wake up than if you set the alarm for 6 AM and interrupt another sleep cycle. P 49

Magnesium deficiency is likely the number one mineral deficiency in our world today. Estimates show that upwards of 80 percent of the population in the US is deficient in magnesium. P 58

Create a sleep sanctuary:

Did you know that your skin has receptors that can pick up light? P 75 — this is why blacking out and using covers when you sleep is important, your skin will use those receptors and wake you up at night. P 75

Remember, you are not just products of your environment, we are creators of our environments. P 85

It what’s going on with your hormones that matters most, and when your hormones are in order, your life seems in order. P 102… The big secret that needs to be understood from this day forward is that you have a huge impact on what your hormones are doing every moment of your life. P 103

Give your body a solid 90 minutes (more is better) before heading off to bed after eating. P 112

Approximately one third of your life will be spent on the mattress you choose to sleep on. P 127

That said, your mattress can either be a source of more problems, or a truly health giving gift that makes the other two thirds of your life even better. P 128

Meditation, or brain training, as I like to call it. Can be as simple as quietly sitting and focusing your breathing or counting your steps as you walk around the park. You can even turn everyday activities like taking a shower or washing your clothes into a great meditation by following a few basic principles. P 136

There is an absurd amount of data mounting about the beneficial impact of meditation on work performance, productivity, memory and focus. Don’t be the one who misses the boat because you didn’t take advantage of this valuable resource. P 137

In 2008, a study from the U of North Texas found that students who identified themselves as morning people earned significantly higher grades. In fact, the early risers had a full grade point higher than the night owls in the study with a 3.5 and 2.5 GPA respectively. P 159

Leo Babauta, from a wildly popular web site Zen Habits, recommends using a gradual method when changing your sleep schedule. Rather than making the decision to suddenly get up at 6 AM when you normally get up at 8 AM, take gradual 15 minute increments off your wake up time until you get to your desired destination. P 160

I am a huge advocate for drinking a big glass or two of water first thing in the morning. I call this an inner bath. This will replenish your hydration levels that went down while you were sleeping, help your body to clear out metabolic waste products and give you a sensory stimulation to help wake up your body. P 161

Acupressure is essentially a method of sending a signal to the body (by needles or other means) to turn on it’s own self-healing or regulatory mechanisms. It’s not really radical to understand at all. We all know that every cell in our bodies is managed by a governing force that is our brain. Every cell, tissue, and organ can give and receive data across this information superhighway that is your body. P 168

But you’re also putting on clothes that will inherently affect the quality of your sleep. … It’s important to realize that your body is better at keeping itself warm than keeping itself cool, so you’ll make it easier on yourself by wearing fewer and looser clothes to bed. P 173

This may be a shock, but a 2009 study found that women who slept in their bras had a 60% greater risk for developing breast cancer. P 175

Scientists are discovering that this is having a huge impact on our health (that we never touch nature). Overwhelming research is mounting that shows the impressive benefits the earth’s electromagnetic surface has on the human body. We may not realize this, but the human body is highly conductive. P 181

By the way, have you ever noticed that when you take a vacation and go to a beach, you tend to get great sleep? A lot of people actually fall asleep at the beach before they can even make it back inside. P 186



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