“Just sleep a little faster”- Arnold Schwarzenegger
If you have ever listened to a motivational YouTube video from Arnold Schwarzenegger, you probably heard him talk about how you don’t need much sleep. His statement “just sleep a little faster” always made me a little unsteady because I trust his opinions on how to achieve success, but at the same time, I also believe that quality sleep is important for recovery.
Arnold moved to America in 1968 at the age of 21, with one goal in mind; become a body building champion. On top of pursuing his dream, Arnold worked his tail off to make ends meet. His day would look something like this: lift weights for 5 hours, go to school, work a construction job and take acting classes. Clearly, most would ask, “how do you have any time to sleep?”. Well he didn’t sleep much, but he claims that he was able to sleep for 6 hours, which was sufficient for him. Nonetheless, Arnold truly mastered the art of time management and even though he was one of the busiest people ever, he still swears by his statement that you only need 6 hours of sleep, and if you sleep more than 6 hours, then “just sleep a little faster”.
But can we actually sleep faster? To me it seems illogical that a guy like Arnold was able to sleep for only 6 hours. In my eyes, I believe Arnold would need more sleep than the average person to fully recover from his workouts and daily stress. I always thought that 8 hours was necessary for a full recovery. At least that’s what my mom told me. I couldn’t help but start doing my own research on sleeping faster to see if this is feasible.
Our sleep cycle is broken down into NREM and REM sleep. In NREM sleep, which makes up 75% of our nighttime recovery causes an increase in delivering nutrients to our muscles and organs for repairs, energy restoration processes and the release of hormones that are important for regulating metabolism. The second part of sleep, REM sleep, takes up 25% of our night’s recovery and involves temporarily paralyzing our muscles to replenish our brain’s energy supply.
So if the purpose of sleep is to allow our bodies to recover, how can we expedite this process? Very simply, if there is less damage that needs to be repaired and less energy that needs to be replenished, then we should not need to sleep for a long period of time. But how could a guy like Arnold Schwarzenegger who put tremendous stress on his body and evidently burnt through his energy sources afford to limit his sleep to only 6 hours? New research has found strategies that can speed up our recovery process.
In order for us to sleep less, we must begin to live healthier lifestyles. In very simple terms, the reason is this: if you properly fuel your body with the right nutrients and limit stress while you are awake, then your body doesn’t need to spend as much time recovering during sleep. Now, I completely understand that not everyone has the opportunity to purchase healthy foods consistently and avoid stress. However, I encourage you to try at least one of these strategies to help you live healthier, in order to spend less time sleeping.
Here are 5 tips that you can try to help you become a faster sleeper:
1. More Exposure to Sunlight
Exposing ourselves to sunlight early in the morning can have huge benefits on our health. We humans absorb a nutrient named Vitamin D through rays of sunshine. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that supports our immune system, ultimately keeping us more protected against pathogens. In addition, sunlight induces the release of serotonin in our bodies that helps us stay focused and experience feelings of optimism. High levels of serotonin in our bodies also allow us to properly regulate the release of a chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is a chemical that helps us fall asleep and by having high levels of serotonin in our bodies, we can ensure that we have enough melatonin to help us fall asleep at night.
2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Our diets can strongly influence our quality of sleep. By eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, we can ensure that we are getting the right nutrients to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. Fruits like bananas and oranges helps support the production of serotonin in our body, and as we already know are vital for our sleep quality. In addition, vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes and kale have nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and lycopene that are able to lower stress levels and make more melatonin.
Moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a day can help us improve the quality of our sleep and help us recover quicker. Exercising causes our brains to release endorphins throughout our bodies, which are responsible for lowering stress and anxiety levels. Exercise is also responsible for increasing the amount of serotonin in our brains, allowing us to experience positive emotions and further reduce levels of stress. Therefore, exercise can be an effective tool to decrease stress levels, and expedite our body’s recovery process.
4. Write Down What You’re Grateful for Before you Go to Bed
Spending 5-10 minutes thinking and writing down the people and experiences we are thankful for can have profound effects on our sleep. Thoughts of gratitude often bring joy into our lives, as we are able to better appreciate and be thankful for the people, circumstances and experiences that positively shape our lives. By performing this exercise before bed, we are more likely to experience more joyful and positive emotions, reduce anxiety and ultimately fall asleep faster.
5. Wear Blue-Light Glasses
Spending too much time on our electronics can be bad for our health. But why? One reason is because of the light blue light that our phones, laptops and tablets emit. Blue light is a short wavelength of light that the body associates with other forms of light experienced during the daytime. Ultimately, using our electronics at night tricks the body into thinking that it is daytime and can make falling asleep difficult.
To combat the negative effects of blue light, I highly recommend purchasing a pair of blue light glasses. These glasses work effectively to eliminate the blue light waves that are emitted by our smart devices. I personally wear blue light glasses every night because I am always doing work on my laptop and have personally noticed an increase in my sleep quality.
Here’s a link to the fashionable blue light glasses that I currently wear and help me sleep better at night:
I hope you guys like these tips! Feel free to comment below if you have any more suggestions or questions about improving your sleep. Also, make sure to give this post a like and subscribe to our newsletter at mindhive.online.
5 Reasons Keeping a Gratitude Journal Will Change Your Life. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2019, from https://www.happify.com/hd/why-you-should-write-a-gratitude-journal/.
What Happens When You Sleep? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-happens-when-you-sleep.