One Year No Beer Podcast Episode 044 – Strategies for Sleep Harmony With Nick Littlehales
People often find that when they give up alcohol, their sleep improves. They get more sleep or more restful sleep than they got while they were drinking. However, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re still not feeling rested or you struggle with getting as much sleep as you think you should, you may need to optimize your sleeping habits. Today’s guest knows a lot about sleep, and some of it might surprise you.
Nick Littlehales is a sports sleep coach and the author of the book Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, the Power of Naps… and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind. Nick didn’t set out to be a sleep coach. He originally wanted to be a professional sportsman, and did spend some time working as a golf pro at a club. However, eventually, he got married and started a new career in furniture sales. Nick spent his time traveling and selling beds to retailers. As he rose through the ranks in his career, he had the opportunity to visit a number of different countries and learn about the different ways people sleep. In today’s interview, Nick explains how he made the jump from selling beds to providing sleep coaching services for Manchester United.One barrier to giving up drinking is the feeling that you’re being asked to stop doing something you like. But another way to look at it is that you’re challenging yourself to try a new way of doing things. It may be difficult at first, but when you’ve done it, you’ll have new skills and achievements to add to your list of accomplishments. If you’re the sort of person who relishes rising to a challenge, this can be a helpful way to think about things.
“Sleep is all about the sun going around the planet. It’s all about patterns, rhythms, and harmony.”
Nick explains how he helped the players he worked with improve their sleep with sleep kits. He would go so far as to replace items in hotels where the players were staying if the hotel’s bedding wasn’t suitable for the needs of the players he worked with. And his methods worked. Players were able to recover and heal more effectively from injuries because they were getting more and better sleep.
Nick also explains that sleep is about patterns and rhythms. He says that it’s important to have routines, and to wake and sleep at the same time every day. Sleep itself can be broken down into 90-minute cycles. Nick explains that not everyone should get up or sleep at the same type of day. Different people have different chronotypes – times of the day when they most need sleep or need to be awake. Some people really do benefit from getting up later in the day, while other people are at their best when they wake up early. What’s more, he says, not all of your sleep cycles have to happen in one long eight-hour block.
Nick also points out that uninterrupted sleep all night long is a relatively recent innovation anyway. Until the invention of electric lights, it was common for people to sleep in shorter shifts with periods of wakefulness in-between. He contends that sleeping for eight hours at a stretch is unnatural, and that’s why so many people find it difficult to do.
Getting better, more restful sleep is an important factor in improving your health and quality of life, just like changing your relationship with alcohol. Tune in to this episode to hear Nick’s story and to learn more about how you can optimize your own sleep.
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NICK LITTLEHALES’ LINKS:
Nick’s Website: https://www.sportsleepcoach.com/