The Most Important Lifestyle Improvement You Can Make
The best lifestyle hacks for weight management are almost always the best hacks for long-term productivity and both work and athletic performance, so ignore this quick selection of relatively painless changes at your peril.
The most bang-for-your-buck aspect of your lifestyle that you can improve from multiple angles is your sleep.
We can usually make do on six hours of sleep every night, but most people function much better on a couple of hours more than that. I can’t give you more time to lie in bed, and you should already be smart enough to know that wasting time watching Netflix when you should be snoozing is not productive for any aspect of your life, so what you might benefit from is “sleeping faster”.
As soon as your head hits the pillow, I want you to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. The best ways to do this are:
1. Carb Up
Eat your carbs at night. Contrary to the old wives' tale that 'carbs at night make you fat', in fact, they make you leaner because they can help promote deeper sleep and better relaxation. Weight your carb intake to later in the day and ideally start the day off more with fat and protein (steak and eggs!), switching to carbs and protein as evening approaches. Oatmeal is a favoured supper option for more of my clients than it ever is as breakfast.
2. Sleep Supplements
If you have to exercise too close to bedtime, use supplements that help calm the nervous system afterwards. Magnesium and Phosphatidylserine are two excellent options, and most people should at the very least be supplementing with Magnesium every night as part of their pre-bedtime ritual.
As soon as you climb into bed follow the simplest of breathing exercises whereby you slowly count (in your head) to 10 on both the exhale and inhale. We all have worries that play on our mind and stop us falling to sleep. I am currently in the process of starting business operations on my company’s fourth different continent, so trust me when I tell you that I know what it feels like to be pulled from pillar to post.
The best way that I have found to deal with problems that dog my sleep, and therefore make the problems seem worse than they are, is to have them all squared away to address another day. The obvious solution to this is to prepare your diary the night before, that way you can get everything off your chest and sleep easy in the knowledge that it will be addressed tomorrow.
I find that this approach works well for bigger problems too – if it’s not criminal or terminal then I find a way to park the problem until the right time comes to address it. If it’s a problem that you can’t currently control, tell yourself you’ll revisit at a specific later date to stop the feeling of impotency and frustration eating you alive and negatively impacting every aspect of your life.
4.Turn your bedroom into the Bat Cave.
Kill all lights, including standby lights. Make it as dark and quiet as possible. If there is a noise that you can’t get rid of, my old house in Spain had an intermittent buzzing noise that only I could hear that drove me mad when trying to fall asleep, try a white noise machine as they can work wonders for helping you to switch off.