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This week on Balls 'n' All, I spoke about the importance of sleep. I brought up the idea that it isn't just how many hours you are sleeping, but also the time you go to sleep that affects your mood in the morning. And also how you can change your sleeping habits to enhance your everyday performance, no matter what you do in life.
How Important is Sleep?
Jackson - Welcome back to Balls ‘N’ All here on Mix 104.9. We’re joined in the studio by our regular Jacob Andreae our expert in everything, not just health, not just nutrition but absolutely everything. Now Jacob it’s no surprise to you, it’s no surprise as a former teacher of me it’s probably no surprise to you but anyone that knows me well knows that I am not a morning person. And we’ve had lengthy discussions with Dave Daly the Program Director here at Mix 104.9 whether I’m going to get up in time, especially being a sunday morning when there’s plenty to do normally on a Saturday night. But I want to talk to you about sleep, so I’ve survived Balls ‘N’ All off about 2 or 3 hours sleep, maybe a little bit more. I’m probably trying to big note myself a little bit, probably 4 or 5 hours sleep. I know for a fact last night that you didn’t have the best sleep. But how important to us and to people’s functioning is sleep?
Jacob - Sleep is the absolute number 1 performance enhancer. And I was talking about this after a game of football yesterday with a player that wanted to get fitter. And I said look, it comes down to, really, nutrition and sleep. Those 2 things are the 2 key things that matter. And sleep is the number 1 by far.
Jackson - Surely there’s different levels of sleep required by different people though because I’ve read plenty of books about high performing people, athletes, businessmen, whatever it might be. And some people have really fascinating sleep routines, thought not everyone has that go to bed at 10 wake up at 7 style of sleep. Some people say they do their best work in the early morning, in the early AM. And then there’s others that say they get to bed at 8 PM and rise at 4 AM and something like that. So, can you sort of go in depth about how different people require different sleep?
Jacob - Yeah, well I’ve always thought that I was a early morning person. And then I came across this concept where… Which is sort of new research, in a book by Shawn Stevenson and the book was called Sleep Smarter. And I suggest that anyone who’s interested in sleep that they pick that book up and read it. I read it, I listened to it on an audiobook, and it was really, really interesting. And what I found in that book was that there are actually 4 types that people can be categorized in. And I don’t particularly like categorizing people. With a background in psychology, I like, you know, the idea of everyone being individual and… yeah… People just kind of fit easily into different categories and that’s how people like to group them so that’s what’s happened. And so, the 4 groups are; People that like to go to bed early and then wake up early. And they gave them animal names based on how animals kind of operate out in the wild and those were the Lions. So people who typically like to go to bed around 8:30 ish and wake up at about 5:30 ish. Then there was the type of people who like to go to bed at sort of more typical, normal hours which is sort of 10 o'clock ish and then wake up at 7 o’clock. And that what I found that I was so even though I thought I was a morning person when I started getting up at 5:30 I found that it wasn’t something that was really that sustainable for me. And I really had to work hard to go to bed early enough to get enough sleep because it’s also about the amount of sleep you do need. That’s another topic for later. So they were the Bears and that’s 50% of the population. Then from there, there was also the Wolves and they were the people that like to stay up late and get up late. So they might like to go to bed typically at around sort of midnight and then wake up at around 8, 9 o’clock in the morning and that sounds like what you possibly are. And then there’s also the people who are the Dolphins I think the last one was and they’re the people that don’t like a lot of sleep and you could potentially fit into that one but that's a very small, I think it’s only about 4% of the population, fit into that category. And they actually don’t need that amount of sleep. They actually function optimally off that amount of sleep. So the fact that you are struggling off 4 or 5 hours, you know, going to bed late tells me that you are probably not in that small percentage category but moreso into the… Wolf category of staying up late and waking up late.
Jackson - Making stupid decisions, yep. Well look Jacob I’m very interested, I was actually quite distracted while you were talking. You spoke a lot of wisdom but you’ve got a very interesting floral style hat that you’re wearing. I’m not too sure what’s going on there but moving forward, is there any way that you can change you own sleeping patterns to perform optimally or is it sort of hardwired into you? So, I suppose I use the excuse that I’m always tired and grumpy in the mornings and when you’re waking up and a teenager your parents always say, “well you wouldn’t be like that if you had more sleep,” but I have gone to bed before, recently at 9 or 10 AM especially when I was on… 9 or 10 AM that’s not really early is it? But 9 or 10 PM when I was on my teaching placement and all that sort of stuff but it wouldn’t matter how much sleep I got, when the alarm goes off it’s 7 AM I’d always feel really, really grumpy. Really, really tired and it feels like the same as if I’d had 4 hours sleep instead of the 8 hours sleep so can you change that or is it just the way people are?
Jacob - Yeah look you can, you can change it. It is something, it is fairly hardwired, your sleep patterns and how you like to sleep. And it’s probably moreso hardwired just from years and years of that behaviour. But you can change it, and so the way it’s suggested that you do change it is that you go in 15 minute increments. So if you normally go to bed at say 11:30 PM and you want to change and become more of a Bear and go to bed at 10 PM then what’s suggested is that you go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night. You wouldn’t just go straight away and try and go to bed at 10 PM because you’d end up laying in bed tossing and turning and then you’d end up staying awake probably longer than 11:30 PM. So you do need to do it progressively, so start off with going to bed just 15 minutes earlier and and then you know, you might do that for a night or even a couple of nights. And then another 15 minutes and another 15 minutes. And keep incrementing it like that. But it is something which is fairly hardwired and it’s something that is hard to change but it’s certainly something that you can change. And you talked about being a teenager, and it changes throughout life naturally. So obviously you’re not going to sleep like you did when you were a baby which was pretty much ⅔ of the day. And now you typically, most people sleep ⅓ of the day, so. But in your teenage years because of the change of hormones and all that kind of thing going on and the body growing so rapidly you do start to change your sleeping patterns. You’ll typically go to bed later, wake up later, and there’s been a whole bunch of arguments in the education system for changing schools’ start and finish times to fit that for teenagers.
Jackson - That sounds like a challenge Jacob. I’m fairly sure I could sleep for ⅔ of the day if you really let me. But as a former teacher yourself, you’re still doing a teaching… Well you’re teaching me everyday so you’re teaching in some form.
Jacob - I’m lecturing this year. I started that on Friday so at Charles Darwin in Health and Physical Education.
Jackson - Well there, very good. So basically, using your expertise, I know it’s a little off topic, this is a sports show not a psychology school based show but very quickly, 30 seconds. Do you think that the school hours should be changed?
Jacob - I think they should. I think there’s some quite innovative schools that have… down South, changed the system and there’s 1 in particular that I came across on a morning breakfast TV program and they had actually changed their school hours to fit whatever people wanted to. So fitting the psychology thing again being individualistic to everybody's different needs and desires and they actually allowed the students to go to school at any time throughout the day and the teachers then would just show up based on whatever the timeslot that students would choose to. I thought that was quite innovative. It would be quite difficult to actually implement but you know, it’s the way forward.
Jackson - Thanks very much Jacob, plenty more to come from you, plenty more to come in general here on Balls ‘N’ All.
How much sleep are you getting every night?
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