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New Year Challenge: Day 2 - Get Better Rest!

challenge lifestyle

Welcome back to day 2 of the PLURTH New Year Challenge! Today, we're exploring a topic that has been foreign to me for a long time ...

Getting enough rest!

On day 1 of the challenge, we discussed how to improve the quality of your water consumption because it's the building block of life itself. If there was something almost as important to your health and wellbeing, it would be rest and relaxation.

In fact, it took me a whole week to write this because I realized that I was approaching a burnout point and becoming unproductive. I knew that in order to not quit writing or producing music that I needed to chill out for a couple of days. I went from rebuilding this entire website from scratch, coordinating our merchandise store's Black Friday sale, and finalizing our record label's crowdfunding campaign directly into making content. I instantly stopped and took the week off as soon as it became a chore ... because creating, whether writing, filming, or recording music needs to always be fun! When you don't get enough rest and you're feeling exhausted, very little things can truly be considered "fun". This is the danger zone where you might give up and choose to quit. Luckily, we made a song called "Never Give Up" and it balances out the laziness when you've rested too much.

My best friend posted this meme at the perfect time last week to communicate these thoughts to me:

But why do we need to make sure we get enough rest? And how much is enough? What's the difference between rest and relaxation? We'll cover that here, but remember balancing your rest time with your productive output is one of the most critical ratios to master in your lifetime, especially when being a creative person. Because I don't subscribe to the idea that life should be filled with work, but sometimes you need to power through to get to your vacation without a side of work anxiety.

You might not know this, but a lack of sleep is the number one risk factor to cause weight gain in adults and children! The balance of hormones becomes interrupted without a proper sleep cycle and then the lack of energy is what follows throughout the day. The main hormones that are affected control appetite; therefore, you eat less when you're also well-rested. This is why The Mandalorian always makes sure to get enough sleep during intergalactic space missions and always recommends the same to his passengers, including Baby Yoga ... err ... I mean Grogu.

Not to mention there are tons of other health risks like depression, immune function, inflammation, emotional balance, and more. You can learn more about the health of your sleep here on Healthline.

You can imagine that great rest doesn't only improve your physical body, but also drastically enhances your ability to focus and create. Rest is essential for the brain. As creative people, we must make sure we get plenty of sleep, or our art will suffer. This is a good enough reason for me! 

However, don't be afraid to go after what you really are passionate about. I cannot deny the results you get when you put 16 hours straight into a piece of music or anything creative. You're much more likely to get it done if you give it your all. But never forget to put the appropriate amount of rest in afterward.

It was commonplace for us to put in 30 hour days working on our music career for the first several years of working on it. That being said, we would then sleep for a good 17 to 20 hours to counteract the massive energy output. This spiraled into us having a completely odd schedule for years that sometimes prevented us from being more social online and offline. We were just so focused on getting good at music that nothing else mattered. We wanted to learn everything about sustainability and making our vision happen whenever we weren't making music. We were learning how to do marketing, taking a million online courses, reading tons of books, and doing everything we could to put ourselves through a freestyle education that would help us get to where we want to go. When you stay awake that long working on creative output, eventually your body will "put you to sleep". We would call this the "Sleep Monster" because all of a sudden you wake up 17 hours later not knowing when you fell asleep. 

This is visually how it used to look when the sleep monster would get us:

But now that we're now putting all of our learning into action, we've realized this year that maybe we needed to re-evaluate our sleep schedules. The world operates on a specific schedule whether we like it or not ... and to be honest, being DJs and playing late at night at clubs and traveling a ton really warped our perspective on sleep schedules.

We definitely were drinking way too much caffeine to pull that off. At a certain point, we knew we needed to change this and 2020 gave us the perfect opportunity to do so. It feels good to have re-prioritized rest and relaxation. But we'll be able to benefit from the investment of man-hours that we've put into this career for the rest of our lives and I won't hesitate to put in a long day in the studio when it calls for it. 

Now we can recover better and focus harder when we are awake. But we still never get everything done that we want to do in a day ... there's so much to accomplish! We've come to grips with our ambition and realize we need to get as much done as we can and always keep showing up. In order to do this, sleep is important.

I really like this video from best-selling author and LifeHacker, Tim Ferriss on his evening routine here. Although we're going to cover creative routines for waking up in later challenge days, the best way to get out of bed is the process in which you get there at night.

He says "From fat-loss (leptin release decreases with sleep debt) to memory consolidation, sleep is the currency of high-performance living."

I'm taking this to heart as much as I can.

I'm going to definitely be implementing more of these techniques throughout the month. Remember, it's not important to do them all or to start right away. What's important is that you can use these tools when you need them at the right time that makes sense for you. Because we all get bored with the same routine over and over. This will be enough for you to always keep it fresh. The best thing you can do is to experiment and find out the best sleep routine that works for you.

Tim goes on to say that one of the best ways to function the best physically and mentally across the board is to follow an ultradian rhythm (2 cycles per day) instead of a circadian (once per day).

  • 7.5 hours at night sleep
  • 1.5 hours (90 minutes) around 3-4 pm

I'm going to start trying this out, but he says there's nothing wrong with a good 8-hour rest cycle. You really just need to find what works best for you. But if you're struggling through your days and you're feeling unstoked ... the solution might be the easiest one! Make sure to take a breather and let go of the ego. Treat your body to the one thing it needs the most besides water ... 

He has also concluded that the following strategies can help ...

More Advanced Strategies for Professional Rest from Supermentor Tim Ferriss:

  1. Circulating pads to sleep cool - Chili Pads or BedJet - the temperature is the most important variable - these are the most expensive but effective temperature devices. 
  2. Hanging upside down - Teter Gravity Boots or Inversion Table or Floor back stretcher - in order to decompress the back.
  3. Sleep master mask - over the ears not on top is a crucial element
  4. Earplugs - we recommend going to your closest ear doctor and get a pair of custom earplugs made. This will change your life when going to shows and dealing with extremely loud noises, or even just being able to fall asleep (lol I was woken up by a jackhammer this morning - I wish I was wearing my custom earplugs).
  5. Herbal caffeine-free Tea - Yogi soothing caramel bedtime tea, or sleepy time tea + apple cider vinegar (passionflower and chamomile are also great).
  6. A handful of almonds can also help you fall asleep and wake up with plenty of energy.
  7. Tetris on a dimmed screen or short episodic television - visual overwriting of the brain's desire to start planning tomorrow. Right now, it's probably obvious that The Mandalorian is a great form of sleep medicine, where I can stay awake just long enough to finish an episode.
  8. Soaking tub with Epsom and medicinal salts while drinking ice cold filtered water
  9. Reading fiction and avoid non-fiction and business self-help
  10. Listening to audiobooks or guided meditations
  11. Sleep supplements: 6 caps of magnesium threonate and 2 grams of theanine
  12. If you're prone to sleepwalking, a FitBit can help you tell how much you're still sleeping, and is generally a very useful tool for health in general.

One of the most interesting things I found on Tim's blog is a guest post advice from The Glitch Mob's Justin Boreta about music and sounds that will help you fall asleep:

"An incredible composer named Max Richter created this 8-hour album that is designed to help you fall asleep. http://time.com/4022816/max-richter-sleep/

There is a shortened version that I listen to on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7tP7WLxusDpTi1gf1JFsrT

I put it on very quietly as I am starting my bedtime routine, so it usually ends 15-20 minutes after I’m asleep. Or I will use the Sonos sleep timer, if I’m at home.

It started to have this Pavlovian knockout effect after a while if I use it every day, like a lullaby.

Alternatively, if that’s too much melody, there’s an artist called Mute Button that has high-quality, long-field recordings. The gentle rain sounds + sleep timer are fantastic. I find it great to drown out hotel sounds when traveling." https://open.spotify.com/artist/53gtZjk5vhB6CxRUEbnPet

I definitely like a lot of the music from the first link to listen to... but I'm not one for too much natural white noise while I sleep (except waves are cool). However, that could be a different opinion for everyone, so make sure to try both!

PS. When you enter our 10 Days of RAVE Music experience, you'll get access to a secret album called Spirit Lifter that is excellent positive dance music that you can still fall asleep or wake up to. The first song has lyrics that say "wake me up" but for some reason, it's also so relaxing to listen to at night time. 

But wait ... How did we survive staying awake for hours at a time and have enough energy? Obviously, caffeine is not enough. The answer will be covered tomorrow. Stay tuned!

REFERENCES

Ferriss, Tim. “5 Tools I Use For Faster And Better Sleep (#113).” The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss, 16 Jan. 2020, https://tim.blog/2015/10/17/5-tools-i-use-for-faster-and-better-sleep/.

Ferriss, Tim. “My Evening Routine for Optimal Relaxation and Sleep.” The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss, 27 July 2020, https://tim.blog/2016/10/13/my-evening-routine-for-optimal-relaxation-and-sleep/.

Ferriss, Tim. “The Music a World-Class DJ Uses to Fall Asleep.” The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss, 1 Feb. 2016, https://tim.blog/2016/02/01/music-for-sleeping/.

Leech, Joe. “10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Feb. 2020, www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important.

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