Saturday, November 26, 2016

The power of sleep.

precision-nutrition-hacking sleep-IMAGE
The power of sleep. (CLICK HERE FULL view)
Why sleep is so important, and how to get more of it.
Sleep brings us good health, enhancing our body, mind and spirit.  We spend one-third of our lives asleep but a whole lot of activity is going on during this period.
  • Repair occurs at the cellular level. While we sleep, muscle’s rebuild, red blood cells that carry oxygen rich blood (energy) are created, and wounds are healed.  As a result, our immune system becomes stronger, our blood pressure is lower and our body has lower inflammation rates that would have otherwise damaged our blood vessels and  led to heart disease.
  • Learning is solidified and memories are processed.  Knowledge, understanding and retention is improved.  Think about how forgetful you are when you miss a few nights of restful sleep.
  • Hormones are balanced, including those that help you maintain a healthy weight!  When you are sleep deprived, the hormones that regulate appetite become out of balance.  You may end up eating more calories by reaching for foods that are higher in fat and carbohydrates.  Hormones that prevent you from becoming depressed and anxious are also balanced.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  People who short themselves on a regular basis, live shorter, more sickly lives.  The most important phase of sleep is the REM (rapid eye movement cycle).  Each REM cycle lasts 90-120 minutes and most adults average 4-5 REM’s per night.  Infants spend 50% of their sleep in REM, whereas adults average only 20% REM sleep. REM decreases with aging.
What causes lack of sleep, impairing important REM cycles? A host of factors including too much light, stress, the time of your work shift, sleep apnea (often caused by excess weight), frequent urination, menopause, excess brain stimulation before bedtime (computer or video games) and certain medications.  Poor nutrition (caffeine, excess sugar, alcohol) and lack of adequate exercise are also key factors that negatively impact a restful night’s sleep.
Are you interested in better health?  Sleep on it and get back to me in the morning.

How to Get Better 

Sleep as a Runner

Catching more quality Z's can make 

you a stronger, better runner.

Status Update: Late night last night. Still managed to 

get up at 4, knock out an 18-miler, and get the kids to 

school on time.

Status Update: Didn't get enough sleep this week. 

Stayed in bed for an extra hour and skipped my run. 

Let's say these two status updates showed up on 

your Facebook or dailymile feed. Which would 

get more "likes"? If you're like many runners 

(and most Americans), you probably admire the 

badass who fought through fatigue to complete 

her run and suspect that the slumbering beauty 

is a slacker.

Our society views sleep as a luxury, at best. Many 

people think that revealing your need for it marks 

you as a weakling, says John Caldwell, Ph.D., a 

psychologist who has researched sleep deprivation 

and fatigue for NASA and the U.S. military. "We 

think if you're really a good athlete, that means you'

re tough and you'll take whatever life throws your 

way," Caldwell says. "Part of being tough is not 

needing to sleep."

By that line of reasoning, some of the country's top 

marathoners rank as total slouches. After all, Ryan 

Hall pens naps in his calendar as "business meetings,"

 and both Deena Kastor and Shalane Flanagan log as 

much as 10 hours of shut-eye a night. They clearly 

understand what science is increasingly revealing: 

It's during sleep that your body recovers from hard 

training and builds you into a better runner.

Indeed, recent research suggests that just one night 

of bad rest can have an impact (albeit largely psycho

-logical) on your running performance. Meanwhile, 

chronically shorting yourself of even an hour of 

sleep per night has cumulative negative effects on 

your running and your health. "Sleep is as important 

as your workouts," says Joe English, a running coach 

in Portland, Oregon, and the National Advisory coach

 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team 

in Training. "When you start robbing from that pot to 

get everything else done, the quality of your training

--and of everything else--starts to fall apart."

Sleep Much?

No lab test can tell you exactly how many hours of 

sleep you need--the number varies widely by 

individual. But the average adult needs between seven 

and nine hours each night, says Matthew Edlund, M.D., 

director of the Center for Circadian Medicine in 

Sarasota, Florida, and author of The Power of Rest. 

Not surprisingly, how much you run impacts how 

much you need to sleep, but it's not a simple more-

means-more equation. Research has linked moderate 

exercise to higher-quality, more efficient slumber-

-possibly by increasing levels of a compound called 

adenosine that promotes sleep. And so, people log-

ging moderate mileage might actually need less 

sleep than those who don't run at all. But as anyone 

who's ever trained for a half-marathon or longer can 

attest, sleep needs can change at the start of a new 

running program or in the midst of a tough training 

cycle, says Cheri Mah, M.S., a Stanford University 

sleep researcher. There's not yet a handy chart for 

correlating weekly mileage to required hours of sleep. 

Your body will likely supply some cues when you 

don't get enough. You're likely short on Z's if you fall 

asleep the second your head hits the pillow, you find 

yourself dozing off during meetings or at the movies, 

you rely on caffeine to get through the day, or you hit 

the snooze button more than once. "If your body is 

literally going back to sleep immediately after being 

asleep all night long, you are probably not getting 

enough sleep," says Robert Oexman, D.C., a runner 

and the director of the Sleep to Live Institute in 

Mebane, North Carolina.

Ignore these signals at your peril. "When you don't 

obtain your required amount of sleep, it can build 

up like a debt, almost like a credit card," Mah says. 

Most of us have racked up some--the most recent 

national survey shows that about 40 percent of 

Americans sleep six hours or less each night. 

"Over time," Mah says, "that accumulated debt can 

affect performance and mood."

While You Are Dreaming 

Night after night of restricted (or interrupted) sleep-

-where you rest some, but not enough--sets off a 

cascade of hormonal shifts with harmful biological 

effects. Within a week or two, you'll have higher 

levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein 

and the stress hormone cortisol, keeping your heart 

rate higher and your nervous system on constant alert.

Human growth hormone, which repairs muscle and 

bones, is secreted by your pituitary gland during 

deep sleep, says Shelby Harris, Psy.D., director of the

Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Montefiore 

Medical Center in the Bronx. The less sleep you get, 

the lower your levels--and the slower your recovery 

from workouts or minor aches and pains. Your 

muscles' ability to store glycogen for energy declines, 

meaning you risk running out of gas no matter how 

much you carb-load, says Harris, who is also a runner. 

There is also some research that indicates your risk 

for injury goes up if you don't get enough shut-eye.

Sleep also serves as a time for memory consolidation, 

Dr. Edlund explains--and not just for cognitive skills, 

like math or Spanish. "Running is a very big learning 

experience," he says. As you train, your brain takes 

in information about the world around you, the way 

muscles and nerves must work together to power 

each stride, and the way your body position shifts in 

space (proprioception), he explains. It's during sleep 

that you process, synthesize, and catalog these details, 

and skimping means the memory-related areas of 

your brain don't file away as much as they should.

Being sleep-deprived doesn't just make you tired, but 

also jittery, achy, and injury-prone. There's no magic 

number of hours that protects you from poor 

performance or from running-related pains--again, 

everyone's sleep needs differ, Dr. Edlund says. But 

the more nights you get less than your required 

amount, the greater the potential consequences to 

your running.

And in the bigger picture, you're probably harming 

your overall health, too. Sleep deprivation throws 

your hunger hormones out of whack, increasing 

levels of the hunger-inducing ghrelin and decreasing 

satiating leptin, Harris says, which in turn may cause 

you to eat more and gain weight. In addition, not 

getting ample sleep suppresses the immune system 

(leaving you susceptible to infection); your mood 

can sink down into the dumps; and your risk for 

developing chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, 


Toss and Turn, Crash and Burn? 

Runners know insomnia is common the night before 

a big race. But they take comfort from this often 

dispensed piece of wisdom: "It's not your sleep the 

night before a race--it's the night before the night 

before that counts." Anecdotal evidence bears this 

out. No one sleeps much the night before an 

Olympic race, says Paula Schnurr, (Images for 

Paula Schnurr ) who ran the 1500 meters for 

Canada in the 1996 Summer Games.

Few first-time marathoners rest well either, English 

says. But many perform well anyway, fueled by 

race-day excitement and adrenaline.

Research supports this hypothesis, to a degree. When 

scientists keep people up all night and then ask them 

to cycle, lift weights, or run on a treadmill, they can 

do it just as well as when they've slept. But 

interestingly, they report that each mile or rep feels 

harder and they often don't want to put forth the effort. 

"In order to run a good race, you have to be in a state 

of mind where you're going to push it," Caldwell says. 

"We've known for years that sleep deprivation 

typically doesn't really affect absolute things like 

muscle contractions, speed, and power. But it 

definitely affects your willingness to perform your 

best." When you head out for a training run sleep-

deprived and with no cheering crowds or competition, 

these deficits could lead you to slack. As a result, 

you might not give your body a strong enough 

stimulus to adapt and improve your running, English 

says. What's more, lack of sleep impairs cognitive 

function and reaction times, which could put you at 

risk of a collision if you're crossing busy streets or 

running on a crowded path or rocky trail, says board 

certified neurologist Lev Grinman, M.D., the medical 

director at HomeSleep, LLC in Paramus, New Jersey.

In fact, if you've slept fewer than about six hours, you 

might benefit more from staying in bed an hour longer 

than from forcing yourself to stumble out on a run, says 

Shawn Youngstedt, Ph.D., an exercise physiology 

researcher at the University of South Carolina, who is 

also a runner. Even top coaches and athletes sometimes 

follow this guidance. Schnurr--now the head track

 coach at McMaster University in Ontario--says she 

can tell when her student athletes show up to practice 

without having slept well. She often modifies their 

workouts or sends them home from practice entirely, 

knowing they wouldn't reap the benefits of a tough 

training session while sleep-deprived.

Many people can bounce back quickly from one or 

two nights of poor rest. But performing well gets 

harder the longer you're deprived. "I've had some 

really good races after I didn't sleep for one night, but 

I've never had a good block of training while sleeping 

poorly for a few months," says Hansons-Brooks 

athlete and former NCAA 5K champion Bobby Curtis, 

who has suffered from bouts of insomnia.

Avoid an Energy Crisis 

When Mah asked Stanford basketball players to sleep 

up to 10 hours a night for five to seven weeks, they 

performed better on the court. She found similar 

results in swimmers, too. Now, spending almost half 

the day in bed isn't a luxury most of us can afford-

-and it may not even be necessary. Your body's 

optimal amount could be seven hours; it could be 

eight. Harris recommends determining your ideal 

sleep pattern when you have a weeklong vacation or 

other situation that doesn't require a strict schedule: 

Don't use an alarm clock, wake up naturally, and 

take note of what time you went to sleep and got up. 

By the fourth day, you'll have caught up on sleep 

debt; take the average amount of sleep you get on 

nights four through seven for a good estimate of your 

true needs, she says. Once you've figured out about 

how much sleep your body naturally wants, schedule 

your bedtime in advance, just like you would any 

other commitment, Caldwell advises.

Mah says that runners can still benefit from "sleep-

loading"--getting extra shut-eye in the week or two 

before beginning a training program that ramps up 

your mileage. Committing to just a half hour more 

each night to pay off your sleep debt in between 

training cycles enables you to kick off a new program 

refreshed and strong. "That's a half hour less texting 

or checking your e-mail, or DVR-ing your favorite 

late-night show and watching it another time," Mah 

says. And, of course, there's the chance that you'll 

feel so good during this period of time that you might 

decide to make an earlier bedtime permanent. 

Without ever intending for it to happen, many people 

find themselves caught up in the modern-day whirl-

wind of activity and overload. Our culture is defined 

by go-go-go and despite being blessed with many 

labor-saving devices, these only serve to actually 

make us even more busy — for the faster we’re able 

to get things done, the more we take on, and the 

more we take on, the more we have to do, 

increasing our busyness factor to even greater 

levels than before.

In many ways, this type of lifestyle has created a 

“culturally induced ADD” — sending you off every 

which way, promising to fill your life with lots of 

action but not much substance. The constant go-go

-go gives a false sense of accomplishment that you 

are doing stuff, but despite all of the hullabaloo, at 

the end of it you’re not left with much.

Sadly enough, it doesn’t look like we can turn to 

modern society for help and technology has only 

proven to exacerbate the problem. The solution, 

surprisingly, can be found in the wisdom from 

societies and teachings of centuries past and is 

accomplished by setting apart one day per week that 

is dedicated as a “day of rest.”

In the Judeo-Christian world for example, their day 

of rest is the Sabbath � one day out of seven 

devoted to rest, reflection and recommitment. In the 

Buddhist tradition they practice Uposatha a similar

concept where one day per week is set apart for “the 

cleansing of the defiled mind,” resulting in inner joy.

Whether you are religious, spiritual, or atheist it 

doesn’t matter — all can benefit from the principle 

behind this practice.

Automobiles and machines in general do not 

function at their optimal levels unless they are 

regularly tuned up. Our body, mind, heart, and spirit 

follows the same principle. It has been proven many 

times over that constantly pushing yourself only 

leads to burnout, breakdown and eventual disease. 

The ever-increasing pace of our modern society is 

only making this deterioration pass by quicker. The 

solution is to give ourselves regular “tune-ups” by 

making the habit of setting aside our own personal 

day of rest. A Sabbath day if you will.

So what exactly do you do on a day of rest? Do you 

just loaf around all day or sleep the day through? 

Well, maybe if that’s what you need. But perhaps 

you’ll have a better idea of what you might decide to 

do if I share with you some of the activities that are 

part of my weekly “tune-up.”

Here are some of the things I like to do on my day 

of rest:

Reflect on the week gone by.

Plan for the upcoming week.

Review prior goals and set new ones.

Read in the “wisdom literature” of the past.

Visit relatives

Enjoy “quiet time” in nature by myself or with my 


Meditate or pray

Take a nap (however, since doing Polyphasic 

sleeping**this has become a regular activity)

All in all, your day or rest should be a day to leave 

the week behind you. To stop working or even 

thinking about work. It should be a different day 

from all the rest. One that you look forward to with 

excitement and expectation. It’s a day to stop 

looking to the outside world for distraction or 

entertainment. It’s a day to be quiet, to sit back and 

reflect on all the gifts and blessings of your life and 

the things which you take for granted. It’s a day for 

nature and beauty and spirituality; a day for family, 

friends and God.

A day of rest doesn’t affect us only when we are 

resting. It spills over into our weeks, our months, 

and our entire lives. Even the most difficult of weeks 

becomes tolerable because you know that this day is 

just over the horizon.

If you make the habit of doing this regularly, I 

promise that it will improve your health, strengthen 

your relationships, sharpen your mind and revive 

your spirit. That’s a lot to promise, I know. But that 

is the power of your day of rest.

(Polyphasic Sleep**Today marks the first day in 

my experiment to become a polyphasic sleeper. 

For those who are not familiar with it, 

‘polyphasic sleep’ refers to several alternative 

sleep patterns which are intended to reduce 

sleep time to 2-6 hours daily.

The practitioner achieves this by spreading out sleep 

into short naps of around 15-45 minutes throughout 

the day, with some variations allowing a core sleep 

period of a few hours at night.

I originally heard about this while I was in 

Washington D.C. 4 years ago. My co-worker and I 

were talking about how busy we were and I remember 

telling him how great it would be if we didn’t need 

to sleep.

To my surprise he said that it is indeed possible and 

then went on to tell me about his roommate who, 

while at the University of Michigan, “took small naps 

throughout the day,” only sleeping around 2 hours in 

total. He called it the Da Vinci sleep schedule. His 

roommate had so much extra time that he was able 

to finish three Bachelor degrees and one Associates 

in a four-year period!

Quite intrigued, I began doing some research into 

‘Da Vinci sleep’ and found some great information 

on what many refer to as the ‘Uberman’ sleep 

schedule on Kuro5hin’s and everything2′s website .

The basic idea behind it is that you can force your 

body to compress the necessary sleep stages (REM 

being the most important they say) into a 20-min 

sleep unit. By spreading six of these concentrated 

sleep units throughout the day, you can supposedly 

experience better and more effective sleep than on 

a typical 8-hour schedule that most people try to 


With a little information under my belt, I quickly 

tried to adapt to Uberman sleep back then but 

soon realized that my work schedule just didn’t 

allow it. I wasn’t able to consistently take the 

required naps — a huge no-no if you want to be 

successful with this.

Since then, I’ve gotten married, had a child, and 

although I’m working at a different job, my 

schedule with my family and work is even less 

flexible. However, last week I found a variant on 

the ‘Uberman’ sleep schedule (what some refer to 

as the ‘Everyman’ sleep schedule) where you take 

four (instead of six) naps throughout the day and 

supplement them with a 3-hour core sleep period 

at night.

Not only is this doable with my work schedule (I’ll 

only need to nap once during lunch), but my wife

 is happy because I still go to bed with her at night 

— at least for a few hours. I’ve also read that it is 

easier to adapt to this schedule than to the Uberman 

one — another bonus :) .

Essentially I’ll be attempting to sleep around 

4 hours a day, made up of one 3-hour period of 

sleep (for me that will be 11pm to 2am) followed 

by three 20-min naps spread throughout the day 

(7am, 12pm, and 7pm).

So what is the reasoning behind all this? Well for 

one, I love to try out new things. Experiments 

that others find to be weird intrigue me (take the 

Lemonade Diet^^ for example). Another thing is, 

I’ve realized in order for me to achieve some of the 

goals I have in mind without sacrificing time spent 

with my family, I’m simply going to need more of it. 

This seems to be a welcome solution.

So with that in mind, I’ll be posting daily over the 

next few days as I relate to you my experience 

attempting to adapt to the ‘Everyman’ sleep-schedule. 

Master Cleanse (Lemonade Diet^^



The aim:
Quick weight loss.
The claim:
Drop 20 pounds in 10 days and cleanse your body of toxins.
The theory:
If you give up solid foods and consume only fluids, weight loss (at least in the short-term) is inevitable.

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  •  Easy
  •  Cheap
  •  No teeth required
  • Nutritionally not the soundest

How does Master Cleanse 

(Lemonade Diet) work?Originally cooked up to flush purported toxins and waste from the body, Master Cleanse – also known as the Lemonade Diet – has only recently become popularized for quick weight loss. (Beyonce allegedly used it to slim down for her role in Dreamgirls.)

Say goodbye to solid food. For at least 10 days, your new best friends are not-quite lemonade, water, and laxatives. That means 4 cups of salt water each morning, a cup of herbal laxative tea at night, and 6 to 12 glasses throughout the day of the “lemonade”—a concoction you make from fresh lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water, according to, one of the most comprehensive Master Cleanse websites. (Several variations of the diet exist, so it’s up to you to decide which one to follow.) Crave something more substantial? Too bad: Straying from the 650-calorie per day regimen is not allowed.

After a minimum of 10 days (some dieters apparently stick it out for 45), you’ll slowly transition back to solid foods with soup and fruit juice. The website doesn’t specify what your post-cleanse diet should be, but it does advise that you eat as little meat and dairy as possible and supplement meals with a probiotic to aid digestion. While dieters commonly repeat the regimen—the  website’s author claims to have done it 18 times since 2003—experts don’t advise making this your permanent routine.

Beware: You may experience what the website calls “detox diet symptoms,” such as cravings, fatigue, irritability, aches, pains, nausea, vomiting, and a burning sensation during bowel movements. Proponents claim these symptoms are signs of the body’s detoxification, but there’s no scientific evidence that Master Cleanse or other detox diets actually rid the body of toxins. What’s more, say experts, the liver is perfectly capable of purging the body’s impurities.How much does it cost?

Practically nothing. Drinks are made from water and household ingredients. The priciest items will be lemons and maple syrup.

Will you lose weight?

How could you not, with nightly laxatives and so few daily calories (650 is about one-third of the number most adults are advised to get)? But don’t expect lasting results: You’ll mostly be losing water weight and lean muscle mass—not fat—and fasting may stall your metabolism, making you more likely to regain once you resume a normal diet.

How easy is it to follow?

Though preparation is simple, giving up solid foods in favor of liquids may prove difficult.

Convenience. Making the drinks is a cinch. The real annoyance will be running to the bathroom all day long. 

Recipes. Ingredients and measurements for the “lemonade” can be found at, among other websites.

Eating out. Unless you’re sticking to water, eating at home is your best bet.

Alcohol. Forbidden.

Time-savers. None.

Extras. None. 

Fullness. A growling stomach is a likely companion on this liquid diet. 

Taste. Some dieters reportedly liken the lemonade to an energy drink.

What is the role of exercise?

It’s not part of the plan and it may even be dangerous to exercise when you’re consuming so few calories. Ask your doctor before exercising while on Master Cleanse. In general, adults on healthy diets are encouraged to get at least 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity activity (like brisk walking) each week, along with a couple days of muscle-strengthening activities.

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