Recovery: Sleep

You don't get enough. Sure, a couple of you might here and there, but across the board, I'm going to assume most of you are not getting enough sleep. Furthermore, even if you're sleeping hours on end, if it's not quality sleep, then you're not getting the full benefit.

In case you haven't read Dan John's article from yesterday, I'll repost this quote: "[Sleep] is the single best weight loss tool, muscle gain tool, training tool, life tool, I have ever encountered."

Sleep is awesome. It's ability to reduce stress, improve recovery, and make life fucking great is unmatched. An excellent book that really delves into the subject is Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival. I have a copy if anyone is interested enough to read it. But really, I absolutely recommend you purchase a copy. Robb Wolf tells people to buy two copies: one for yourself and one for a family memeber. And after you read it, give it someone else. And so on.

An excellent quote from the book (paraphrased since I never get it right) is "Get as much sleep as you can without getting fired or divorced." Robb Wolf adds, "And if your job or spouse are shitty, you're better off focusing on the sleep."

So here are some basic tips to sleep more and optimize the quality of your sleep:

1) Your room should be completely pitch black. Turn off the TV, shield your windows from the streetlights outside, and cover all LED's. Basically, you should not be able to see your hand in front of your face.

2) Keep your room at a cool temperature. If you have a ceiling fan, use it. Don't give yourself hypothermia obviously, but keep it cool. Like Obama.

3) Think: Cave. This should hopefully simplify the above steps.

4) Sleep AT LEAST 8 hours a night, preferably 9. That's right: 9 hours a night. You'll feel glorious.

5) This one is tough for most, but the closer you can go to sleep at sunset, the better. Similarly, you should be waking up around sunrise. Again, it's hard for people to do this with modern life's demands and people's absurd adherence to television programs, but try it out.

6) Another difficult one, but quality sleep means you should be waking up without an alarm clock. This is an indicator that you're well rested and getting quality sleep. Nevertheless, I'd recommend setting one since I don't want to blamed for any of you being fired.

7) If you can't get to bed when the sun goes down, do your best to at least dim the lights around your house/apartment. It's not perfect, but it's a way to "trick" your body into thinking the sun is still going down. This is Circadian rhythm shit, people!

8) This is from Eric Cressey, a brilliant trainer full of good information: "If you sleep on your side, put a small pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, put the pillow underneath your knees. If you sleep on your stomach, stop!" This tip is mainly to help keep your spine in a favorable position as you sleep.

8) Best tip to get the most out of your sleep? Don't work the nightshift. Fuck. My. Life.


  1. "6) Another difficult one, but quality sleep means you should be waking up without an alarm clock. This is an indicator that you're well rested and getting quality sleep"....

    If you have an iPhone I recommend buying the Sleep Cycle app: http://www.lexwarelabs.com/sleepcycle/

    The sleep cycle app is an alarm clock. You place your phone next to your pillow in your bed. The accelerometer in your phone measures your movements through the night and using some crazy sleep science shit, it learns you sleeping patterns and wakes you up within 30 min of your desired wake up time in your lightest sleep phase. Thus, you feel like you are waking up naturally! Its pretty awesome.

    Also, all the data is saved so that you can look at your sleep patterns from the night. If you are a bad ass analyst you can take that data and figure out why you sleep well or sleep badly.

  2. Whoooooo... Sarah droppin' SCIENCE!