Monday, January 16, 2012

Keep it simple

The four key concepts I outlined in a call for KISS are training, nutrition, sleep, and destressing.

Prioritizing what we improve first will have the biggest impacts on our training and health. Based on the “time” factor we can reprioritize everything according to its value in our daily lives.

Subsequently, a reorganized list would look like:

1. Sleep
2. Nutrition
3. Training
4. Destressing

1. Sleep

Sleep is really friggin’ important. We do it for nearly 1/3 of our lives. And lack of sleep, as well as night shifts, directly cause excessive chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, and otherwise negative effects we associate with the diseases of civilization (metabolic, neurodegenerative, auto-immune, etc. issues). WHO – the World Health Organization – has named shift work as a carcinogen. Getting on a good circadian rhythm is extremely important.

Keep it simple; get good sleep.

Guidelines and tips to get good sleep are:

1. Get at least 7-8 hours if not more in a pitch black room with no noise and cool ambient temperature.

2. Destress. Massages are great. Be disciplined in your daily life. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t let little things bother you. Again, get into a daily routine.

3. For those of us who use the computer a lot, the blue screen glow interrupts our circadian rhythm a lot leading to insomnia, anxiety, and other sleep related disorders. F.lux is a good problem to help counteract that.

~elimination of sounds
~elimination of electronic devices / outlets / plugins near body
~pitch black room
~cool, dry room (60-65 or so degrees is good if possible)

~stay away from artificial light sources (e.g. computer) at least 1 hr before sleep
~eat a meal, preferably with healthy fats and a decent amount of carbs, before sleeping (e.g. NO JUNK FOOD).

~single leg stand to exhaustion with both legs (it actually works really well)
~spine lengthening before sleep (see Esther Gokhale’s stuff)
~general exhaustion from physical activity like hiking, pickup games of stuff, lifting, etc.
~Deep breathing exercises
~Deep tissue massage

~magnesium may help (via ZMA or natural calm)
~melatonin helps some people
~phosphatidylserine (anti-cortisol)
~5-HTP (tryptophan deriv)
~Vitamin D (taken during the day..)
~valerian root

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