Waking Up at 4 A.M. Every Day Is the Key to Success. Or to Getting a Cold

Waking Up at 4 A.M. Every Day Is the Key to Success. Or to Getting a Cold

Lots of prominent people like to highlight how early they rise, but is it really something to brag about?

Tim Cookthe C.E.O. of Apple, rises a little before 4 a.m. every day. President Trump wrote in his 2004 book that he only needs four hours of sleep a night. David Cush, the former Virgin America C.E.O., has said that he wakes up at 4:15. And Jennifer Aniston wakes up at around 4:30 to meditate, as does Kris Jenner, the same time that Michelle Obama is hitting the gym.

Recently, Steve Harvey declared: “Rich people don’t sleep eight hours a day.”

Is the key to success emulating high-profile achievers who are hacking their bodies to increase productivity? Even if capitalism favors early wake-up times, at least as a badge of honor, there is no data that shows that successful people get less sleep.

Americans sleep, on average, less than seven hours a night, which means that many of us get less sleep than the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends.

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“This trend goes back a fair bit further than our recent tech C.E.O.s,” said Douglas B. Kirsch, a neurologist and the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Thomas Edison used to say the same thing: Four hours are good enough for me. What he left out of the picture is he was a pretty prolific napper as well.”

Dr. Kirsch said that this early-rising trend propagated by entertainers and entrepreneurs is deeply troubling. And while some people seem to need less sleep than others, we can’t game our body clocks.

In a 2003 study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Medical School found that reaction times and performance on cognitive tasks plummet for those getting four hours of sleep and those getting six hours of sleep.

In the study, 48 healthy adults, aged 21 to 38, had their sleep chronically restricted. Those who slept less than six hours a night “produced cognitive performance deficits equivalent to up to 2 nights of total sleep deprivation.”

In 1999, researchers at the University of Chicago monitored a group who slept only four hours a night — a common amount for those who wake up very early — for six days in a row. That group quickly developed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, higher blood pressure and produced half the usual amount of antibodies to a flu vaccine.

Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, calls early rising a “performance killer,” because, he says, regularly getting four hours of sleep is the equivalent of the mental impairment of being up for 24 hours.

Robert Stickgold, a Harvard professor and the director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said missing just one night of sleep impairs memory.

Even worse, it “biases your behavior,” he said, referring to a recent study that monitored 65 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 30, which showed that an impaired mind focuses “on negative information when making decisions.”

Maybe. No matter how much sleep you get, if you’re not wired for rising at the hour of the wolf, and most of us aren’t, according to many sleep specialists, messing with that normal rhythm is still detrimental.

Even if you think missing out on just a few minutes — say, getting up just a half-hour earlier — isn’t significant, think again. In March, researchers at the University of South Florida and Pennsylvania State University reported that losing out on as little as 16 minutes a night could have serious negative impacts on job performance.

When we delay or speed up our internal body clock, it can have the same consequences as not getting enough sleep, a phenomenon known as advanced sleep-wake phase disorder.

“The reason is that our circadian rhythm tells our brain when to produce melatonin, our sleep hormone, so if you try to wake while your brain is still producing melatonin, you could feel excessive daytime sleepiness, low energy, decline in mood and cognitive impact,” said Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago Sleep Disorders Center.

“There are a handful of people who can function adequately on a shorter sleep duration than the average person, but it’s very, very rare,” Dr. Medalie said.

Missing even two hours here, an hour there, then having a wildly different sleep pattern over the weekend, is the gateway drug to chronic sleep deprivation. Fatigue, irritability and overall mental confusion are the dangers and symptoms of such deprivation.

But you may be able to adjust your schedule. “If you are not a morning lark but want to be one, you would need to wake at that 5 a.m. every day, including weekends, and expose yourself to bright light, ideally blue light, for 15 to 20 minutes upon waking,” Dr. Medalie said.

The trouble is, you have to stick that new schedule or you’ll just get sucked back into the rabbit hole.

Sleep can boost immunity. In a study published in 2015, researchers found that shorter sleep duration was connected to an increased risk of getting a cold.

Sleep may be connected to weight gain. If you get less than seven hours a night, you can put on weight, since sleep loss can adversely impact energy intake and expenditure. That’s because, in part, the chemical that makes you feel full, leptin, is reduced, while ghrelin, the hunger hormone, increases.

In 2008, professors at the University of Chicago, including Eve Van Cauter, the director of the Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center, found a link between sleep loss and an increased risk for obesity and diabetes. A decade later, the university advanced those studies to find that chronic sleep loss can increase the amount of free fatty acids in the blood.

That means a metabolism disruption that reduces the body’s ability to use insulin to regulate blood sugar.

Additionally, there is a connection between sleep and mood. The less you get, the worse you may feel. People with sleep issues may also be at higher risk for depression and anxiety, while those disorders can also interfere with sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to a sleep schedule. It won’t happen right away, and you’ll have to build and buy back your debt. But that recovery may take only weeks or months.

One way to start: Set a goal and regular bedtime, and turn your bedroom into a comfortable, dark, sleep-friendly area. That could mean blackout curtains, maybe a sleeping mask or earplugs.

Exercise helps. So does cutting heavy foods or alcohol before bed. And let your body wake you up, a key to regaining natural circadian rhythm. Reading before bed, something Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington swear by, relaxes the mind — and don’t do it on your phone. Better yet, turn off your phone or place it in the other room until morning.

“We look at sleep as an obstacle to our productivity and performance rather than as a means,” said Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and sleep specialist who is the co-author of a book on the topic. “The message should be about getting sufficient sleep. Many of us see it as lack of work ethic and willpower. Why do we attribute that to sleep when we don’t do it to other biologic needs, like thirst?”

Want additional sleep tips? Read our guide on how to get a better night’s sleep.

 

The New-York Times 

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Libramont Regenerative Alliance : Messages from the Woods

Libramont Regenerative Alliance : Messages from the Woods

The Resilience Institute Europe had the honour to participate in a unique event reuniting more than 100 business leaders, philosophers, scientists and experts in the woods of Bertrix in Belgium.

Surrounded by a beautiful and old forest, we brainstormed and exchanged ideas to rethink our economic and entrepreneurial model and move towards a regenerative economy. We were all truly inspired by speakers among which Nicolas Hulot, Frédéric Lenoir, Bertrand Piccard, Gauthier Chapelle and other experts, and by leaders of large and small companies showing us that change is possible. It led to very rich dialogues and insights. I personally went home with 5 main messages.

1-The need for change is super urgent.

We all know that climate change is an undeniable threat to the planet. Even though we know this, the facts, trends and evolutions as exposed by the experts were truly chocking. We need to hear these messages much more. Yes, Greta, we need to panic!

2-Communication does matter.

While panic and fear are good to wake us up, we need to find inspiring and positive ways to communicate, uniting everyone behind this project. People will only take actions if they are touched in the heart, if they feel inspired and guided by a purpose. We need leaders, in all areas of society, who can guide us and inspire us, even if the path is not clear and no one has “the” solution. Events like Regenerative Alliance, initiatives as Sign for my future, organizations as B-Corp are very hopeful signals. We need more of those initiatives and courageous people who are willing to stand up and take the lead.

3-Nature can inspire solutions

Biomimicry seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. As an example, in the late 90’s Japanese engineers modeled a bullet train after a kingfisher, to solve the loud booming sound when the train was exiting typical train tunnels. Janine Benuys said: “When we look at what is truly sustainable, the only real model that has worked over long periods of time is the natural world.” We do have huge room for improvement in that area, reconnecting ourselves much more systematically with Nature as a source of inspiration for seeking new solutions. We need to change our mindset, become humbler and understand that every species, including humans has a reason for fitting in this world. Isn’t it time that we open up, go beyond analytical thinking and trust our intuitive brain much more? 

4-Start with Self

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”. The challenge that we face is so big that we cannot solve it using the same old paradigm as the one that brought us to this urgency state. We need to enable all of our dimensions – body, heart, mind and spirit – to be ready. This is at the very core of our work at The Resilience Institute Europe. After these two days, I am even more convinced that resilience is an accelerator for the change that we seek. Science shows us that we can all learn the skills to become resilient; it requires reflection, awareness and daily practice. Personal transformation will facilitate collective transformation. As the Dalai Lama stated in a funny way: “if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”. 

5-Politicians, Scientists, Entrepreneurs, Business leaders: unite!

Building on personal transformation, collective transformation will emerge faster. This requires all actors in society to collaborate and roll up their sleeves together.

The Regenerative Alliance was the best proof that that once you bring people together, it broadens the mind and opens the heart. It is of course easier to do this with people who are already convinced. Convincing the rest of the population is an enormous and complex challenge, with many consequences for all. How to do this without social chaos? Innovative and courageous leaders might well show us a path… 

 

Article by : Katrien Audenaert, Partner The Resilience Institute Europe

Sit up Straight!

Sit up Straight!

This week, I pay special attention to my sitting posture keeping my spine long and straight.

Sitting at a desk for a long period, you tend to crane the neck, hunch forward the shoulders and round the back.  Studies indicate that sitting up straight increases self-confidence and alertness.  It also supports proper breathing and a healthy spine.   So, press your sitting bones on your chair and give it a go!

How about adjusting your sitting posture right now?

Moderate Food Intake

Moderate Food Intake

This week, I pay attention everyday to moderate my food intake, increasing awareness of what I put in my plate.

Healthy and balanced nutrition makes sense and we know its merits. However, moderating food consumption is not easy and we let ourselves “swallow” portions larger than necessary. Practicing “hara hachi bu” – stop eating once 80% satiety is achieved – is a good way to moderate intake.

At which meal will you practice moderation today?

5 dietary principles for optimal performance

5 dietary principles for optimal performance

By 

Declan Scott and Dr Sven Hansen sit down to discuss diet, nutrition, keto-adaptation, ethical eating and five key dietary guiding principles.

Join us now for this first edition of Resilient Conversations.

Dr Sven’s five dietary guiding principles for optimal performance

 

  1. Vegetables – eat 9 – 13 servings per day (each serving fits in the palm of your hand)
  2. Remove excess sugars – avoid bread, pasta, highly refined foods (high GI foods)
  3. Balance your meals – keep it simple with 1/3 quality protein, 1/3 carbohydrate from vegetables, 1/3 fat
  4. Learn to burn fat – become keto-adapted by reducing carbohydrate intake
  5. Enjoy it – make meals a joyful experience