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This week on Barbell Shrugged we are joined once again by Dr. Kirk Parsley. We talk about sleep, and why it’s the single most important factor in being healthy, high-functioning and strong.
Kirk is not your average Doctor. He is a former Navy SEAL and competitive fitness athlete turned Physician. The bulk of his life has been committed to the study of psychology, health and human performance. That’s an impressive breadth of professional experience, which makes his current focus a real surprise.
It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you want to be healthy and perform better at work, in the gym, or as a parent or friend then you must get quality rest.
Out of everything, sleep comes first.
Not everyone agrees that more sleep is better. Plenty of people swear that they feel happy and productive with as little as 5 or 6 hours. But unfortunately this is an illusion, an artifact of altered awareness.
Anyone who’s ever popped back a few pints has felt the same effect from alcohol. At first you’re able to make decent decisions and show restraint, but after 3 or 4 drinks your inhibitions will be largely removed. That’s great if you’re recording a podcast or something, but it’s a tremendously terrible thing when you car keys in your pocket.
The very same effect is true with sleep. You might think you have enough, but you probably don’t. Not if you’re getting less than 7.5-8.0 hours of sleep per night. As Kirk references on the show, this is the clear average that just about everyone settles into during immersive and extensive sleep studies.
The focus is well placed. Sleep forms the core pillar in Dr. Parsley’s philosophy, but it’s not the only consideration. A few critical and very basic lifestyle factors must also be addressed.
Don’t miss Dr. Parsley’s awesome TED talk
Eat naturally and be active.
How exactly should you eat? Well, there are a lot of options. Paleo, Zone, go all the way back to Adkins if you want. All of the diets that serve to correct metabolic dysfunction and restore hormone balance tend to be very low carbohydrate.
At this point there are fewer and fewer places to hide. The scientific evidence is mounting. No, the consumption of healthy fat and mineral rich salt isn’t bad. Point in fact – If you want to live a long and healthy life you should actually eat a lot of it, way more than you would think.
People are experiencing bacon again come breakfast time. The cat, shall we say, is out of the bag. It doesn’t matter what the ADA or AMA might still recommend (incredibly), we all now know that excess carbohydrate, particularly sugar, is the problem. Cut almost all of it, train hard, and eat a wide variety of fresh foods. That’s how you correct dysfunction.
Do everything you can to limit stress and distraction.
Stress is numbing and hard to notice at times.
Work or a tough relationship might have you on edge. Maybe you drink too much coffee and manage your time poorly. Action items stack up. Your heart rate variability crashes. Gizmos buzz and beat as you sleep, reminding you of all the shit you have to eat the next day.
At first your training starts to suck, but you will get sick in time. You cannot beat stress head on, it must be actively managed.
Try this. Set a bedtime alarm. When that buzzer rings shut down your day. Turn lights and electronics off and ban them from the bedroom. Put on your pajamas. Take a bubble path. Listen to a few records. Meditate. Drink some herbal tea. Grind and burn it if that’s your thing. Just do whatever you like for about an hour.
This will greatly improve both the quantity and quality of your sleep, which will make you better in every way. If you commit to nothing else in 2015, please sleep more. It’s better than every steroid and supplement combined into one, just see for yourself.
Tran hard, rest harder.
- If you want to instantly improve the quality of your sleep and the production of testosterone start with Kirk’s essential nighttime habits.
- Learn more about what you can do to fix your sleep habits and hormones over at DocParsley.com. You can also Follow Kirk on Twitter for more great information and news.