SUMMARY

  • It’s probably the one where you have the most to gain. What are we talking about? It’s rest and recovery.
  • Oscillation is one of the most important principles that seems to exist everywhere in the universe, including in our human lives.
  • The faster you want to go, eventually the more you’re going to have to slow down. The higher the peaks of intensity that you reach, the higher the dips of recovery and rest that you’re going to need to indulge in in order to be able to do it again.
  • We’re going to go straight into the two things that make a huge difference here, and they are sleep and recovery.
  • The strange and, oftentimes, counter-intuitive thing with recovery is that active recovery seems to trump passive recovery almost all the time.
  • The number one thing that scientists have found is that investing in social relationships is the thing that will reduce your stress level the most and increase your happiness level the most.
  • Obviously, if you can’t do it every single night, it’s not the end of the world, but you’re really aiming for that amount of sleep because a lot of the research shows that performance breaks down incredibly fast once you start depriving people of their sleep.
  • And, finally, the last thing that you want to do is transform your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.
  • Watch the video to get the full training.
  • This is a MUST WATCH episode about how to 10X YOUR LIFE and don’t compare yourself to others

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Full Transcript for the Article

Hi, there, and welcome back.  It’s Alex Goad, best selling coach, author, and small business specialist.  Today we’re going to be talking about one of the aspects of 10X in your life, or of extremely high performance that high achievers tend to neglect and don’t even want to talk about and don’t even want to think about, but we’re going to talk about it now because it’s one of the most important things to the whole package. It’s probably the one where you have the most to gain.  What are we talking about?  It’s rest and recovery.

The first thing I want to mention, and I want you to have a look at this curve here.  The curve goes up and down, up and down, and the line that goes down the middle represents baseline.  It represents neutral.  This curve represents oscillation.  Oscillation is one of the most important principles that seems to exist everywhere in the universe, including in our human lives.  It’s kind of the yin and the yang.  It’s the sunrise, the sunset.  It’s, “The faster you want to go, eventually the more you’re going to have to slow down. The higher the peaks of intensity that you reach, the higher the dips of recovery and rest that you’re going to need to indulge in in order to be able to do it again.”

The other thing is that the lower your recovery, the lower your heights are going to be as well.  It seems that the ideal performance is to be able to really slam the pedal to the metal and accelerate, balls to the walls and after that, completely, or almost completely, shut down and get your energy back and let your brain recuperate, and let your body recuperate.

Here’s how we’re going to do that.  There are really two huge things that come into play here, and I talked in the last video, and the last video before that, about exercise and food and nutrition and how important that is to managing very high levels of physical energy.  This is the third component right here.  We’re not going to put much emphasis on food or exercise.  We’re going to go straight into the two things that make a huge difference here, and they are sleep and recovery. 

Recovery is what you’re doing in order to increase your energy or to rest, or to let the heat from the intensity come down, but while you’re awake.  When you’re resting or recuperating and you’re awake, we’re going to call that “recovery.”  And sleep is pretty self-evident.

We’re going to start with recovery.  The strange and, oftentimes, counter-intuitive thing with recovery is that active recovery seems to trump passive recovery almost all the time.  What’s the difference between those two things?

Let’s start with passive recovery.  Passive recovery would be like shutting yourself down, lying on the couch, pulling a blanket over yourself and watching Netflix all night, like completely zoning out, being in another place, not really using your mind or your abilities to concentrate, not really having any kind of true social exchanges with other people.  It’s isolation, and it’s shutting down.  That’s passive recovery.

What’s active recovery?  Active recovery might be like playing in a light sport, learning something new, taking an easel and some brushes and practicing your painting, or going out for a dinner or a show with some friends, spending time with family, etc.  Those are active forms of recovery.  While you may spend more energy when you actively recover than when you passively recover, what almost all the research shows is that active recovery is superior to passive recovery.

If you’ve tried this for yourself, you might see that that’s actually how it works.  You might think, “This weekend, I’m just going to plop down and do absolutely nothing.”  You do that and it feels pretty good, but then you start your next week, and you see, somehow you really didn’t get that much higher back up on the energy scale, while another weekend you had a really busy and active time and you saw a lot of people, and you spent a lot of energy and got some mileage in, and it feels like you didn’t slow down that much, but come Monday morning, BAM, your energy is there, your mind is focused, and you’re ready to go.  It’s really important that you figure out what kind of active recovery is going to work for you.

The number one thing that scientists have found is that investing in social relationships is the thing that will reduce your stress level the most and increase your happiness level the most.  The longest-lived people on earth, from the Blue Zones, one of the top characteristics that you find is that they have the biggest social net, the biggest social support net.  Here we’re talking about friends, family, and we might even be talking about neighbors, or just about anybody that you care about.  And, in fact, even caring for strangers works because it creates a kind of human connection on which we thrive.

One of the absolute top things that you can do for active recovery is to have a hobby that’s a social hobby.  And, no, Facebook is not a social hobby.

Other things – exercise, sports.  Group sports, even better.  Learning experiences.  Another thing that’s wonderful for active recovery is meditation, just training your mind to be quiet, to relax, to separate the essentials from the noise.  That’s recovery.  The better you do it, the more mileage you can get in the high energy phase of your day.

Sleep – let’s talk about this for a minute.  There’s so much confusion about this.  There are so many different experts chiming in and telling you, “You don’t have to sleep that much,” or “You have to sleep a ton.”  I’m not going to go over all the research, but here’s what the average, or the most often repeated, result in studies shows, that human beings are going to need approximately 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep to be at their best, 100% of the time.

Obviously, if you can’t do it every single night, it’s not the end of the world, but you’re really aiming for that amount of sleep because a lot of the research shows that performance breaks down incredibly fast once you start depriving people of their sleep.  I know a ton of people that sleep six hours a night, and I don’t know how they do it because when I do that, I become less functional, and I can feel it happening very, very quickly.

In the studies, they really corroborated exactly that, that something like after seven days of sleeping only six hours a night, people were having the same cognitive results as after being up for 48 hours straight – so, a huge detriment to performance.

What else happens when you’re sleep deprived?  You’re going to get dark circles under your eyes.  Your skin is going to wrinkle faster.  You’re going to age faster, and you’re going to feel older.  You’re putting your heart and circulatory system under a great deal of stress.  You’re probably going to lose a big part of your sex drive.  Your concentration is going to go.  Your immune system is going to be suppressed.  You’re going to get mood swings.  You’re going to feel anxious.  Your tendency towards depression is going to go up tremendously.  And you’re going to start experiencing memory problems.  If you’re looking to be a top performing human being in life, you certainly cannot afford to have that long list of symptoms that I just named.

Here’s the worst part of it all.  In all of these studies, when people were sleep deprived and their performance went down the toilet, when the researchers surveyed those people and asked them how they felt about their performance, they felt that they were doing just fine.  In other words, they could not notice that their performance was becoming terrible even though that’s what was happening on an objective scale.

If you’re sleeping less than seven, eight, nine hours a night, and you think that you’re 100% fine, you’re like the other participants in the study that also thought they were doing fine.  But when they were measured objectively, not so much.  Food for thought.

Finally, let’s talk about quality and quantity.  We’re going to go over this quickly.  We already went over quantity.  Let’s talk about quality.  And let’s talk about how to increase that quality.  What’s the simplest way to do this?  We’re going to find out if you really mean it.  When you say that you want to become a high achiever, a high performer, when you want to surpass the limits that your life has had so far by a country mile, this is where the rubber meets the road.  Are you going to be able to have the discipline, number one, to realize and to admit to yourself that this really does have a huge impact on your performance and, number two, to actually have the discipline to implement in your life subtle, or sometimes important, changes that are going to make a huge difference?

I’ll tell you what, this is one of the things that made one of the biggest differences for me.  If you’ve been following my story, you know that I come from a place of very low performance.  In fact, in my mid-20’s, I was a chronic minimum wager with a bad attitude and a whole bunch of problems.  I almost went bankrupt.  I got kicked out of my apartments.  I lost my jobs.  I would get fired.  I really had a huge amount of trouble putting one foot in front of the other and having even decent performance on a daily basis.

What saved me was that I’m a pretty smart guy, and when things are working out for me, I can eek out a decent performance.  Here’s the problem, though.  I couldn’t make it happen on demand.  Probably this is what happens to you, too.  Some periods, some magical hours of certain days, you have some really good hours where your brain’s firing on all cylinders, your body feels good, you’re wide awake, you’re fully of vitality, and you’re good to go.  During those moments, you feel like you’re capable of just about anything.  The problem is, you can’t make those moments happen on demand. You can’t predict them, and they don’t happen every day.

The way that I used to manage my life is, I would get up at the very last moment that I had to so that I could make it to the commitment that I had, and then I would be zombie-like tired for the first four or five hours of the day.  I would slog through it.  As the day went by, I would wake up more and more and more.  Towards the end of the day, when it would be time to go to bed, at that moment is when I would have the highest level of energy.  What that would cause me to do is read or stay up or do things that would excite me that I felt like doing after having a whole day of doing work and obligations. I would stretch out that period as much as possible, go to bed too late, start over again the next day.

What happened was, I would always make these commitments that “Tomorrow I’m going to do this.  Tomorrow I’m going to start this routine.”  But when tomorrow came, the energy and the feeling were never there.

If that’s happening to you, this is why.  It’s because you need your rest and your recovery, and when you make rest and recovery predictable, energy is going to become predictable.  When your energy becomes predictable, you’re going to feel that you’re capable of so much more than you’ve every been capable of before.

Here’s how we’re going to do this.  We’re going to use an alarm clock or a similar tool the same way we use it to wake up in the morning.  We’re going to use it to go to bed at night.  You’re going to have to sleep on a schedule.  The more regimented your sleep is, the more you go to bed at exactly the same time and wake up at exactly the same time every single day, that’s going to make things predictable.  Your body is going to be able to figure out what your cycle is and, all of a sudden, you’re going to be able to compare one day to the next and really dial in your energy and vitality.  It’s going to make a huge difference.

One of the things that you’re going to do to get better and higher quality sleep at night is to minimize blue light exposure.  Especially now with all of these LED lights and all of this artificial lighting, we don’t realize the damage that we’re doing to our mitochondria and the damage that we’re doing to our circadian rhythm.  Without geeking out too much on the science, what happens is that when your face and your eyes and your skin are exposed to blue light after a certain time of day, your melatonin production pretty much shuts down.  Melatonin is the sleep hormone.  It’s basically in the circadian rhythm.  When you get to about 9 o’clock at night, your body releases this melatonin that starts slowing down your vital functions and starts preparing your body and brain for sleep.

When you’re looking at screens, or you have strong lights, or even if you have a reading lamp that’s blue light, what happens is that that melatonin production gets shut down. It’s night time and you’re tired and you want to sleep, but you’re wired. It takes you a long time for you to fall asleep, and your sleep quality is low.  Shut off the blue lights.  Speaking of which, what I do is, I wear those really neat looking orange or red glasses that you see a lot of body and mind and energy hackers wear, because it makes a huge difference.  Get yourself a pair and try it out.

Here’s another thing that you can do.  During the day, try and get light exposure, and particularly try and get some sunlight exposure because this is one of the things that helps dial in your circadian rhythm and your hormones.  If you look at the way that most people live nowadays, we spend most of our time during the day inside. Inside it’s dark, and it’s artificial light.  What that does is, it makes us hazy and tired during the day, and at night we go and turn on more lights and look at screens, sometimes very bright screens that we look at very closely.  Then, at night our body feels like, “Now it’s time to wake up,” while during the day we’re drowsy.

One of the ways to counteract that is to make sure that you’re getting your light as much as possible during the day, including light-giving, Vitamin D-producing sunlight.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, but exercise, during the day, if you can exercise every day.  I talked about, in the last video, the six different types of exercise that you can do to boost your hormones, to boost your performance, but if you want to boost your sleep, exercise is going to have an important place in this as well.  Just walking 15 minutes a day at a decent pace really does count as exercise, and it makes a big difference in how well you’re going to sleep on a regular basis.

Finally, the last two things that you want to do is have a wind-down ritual.  I have a morning ritual that’s pretty elaborate that I’ve already shared with you, and you can refer to that if you look on the blog at the other series of videos that I’ve put out recently. It’s called “The 7X7 Morning Crush.”  But you should also have your nightly wind-down ritual where you do things the same way every day.  Even as a habit, it prepares your mind and your body for a good night of sleep, because you’re telling the body, “Okay, it’s time to start shutting down now.”  Little by little, we reduce the intensity, we reduce the activation, and we get ready for a good night’s sleep.

And, finally, the last thing that you want to do is transform your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.  Too many people do far too many things in the bedroom.  There’s sleep, and there’s other things that you can do in the bedroom that are appropriate to do there, but just about everything else is not.  Watching TV in your bed – not a good idea.  Even reading in your bed can be sub-optimal.  Doing other more active type things in your bedroom confuses the mind as to, “What is the purpose of this space?”  If you really make your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary, you keep things to a minimum.  You shut off all the lights.  You put duct tape over any of those little, annoying LEDs.  You get black-out curtains.  You pick the right kinds of colors.  You take out the TVs, the other electronic devices, and you make it so it’s spartan simple.  The whole purpose of it is to sleep and recuperate, and you’re going to get much more out of the hours that you spend in there.

That’s my little spiel for today.  I want to conclude by reminding you that if you want high performance, you need high recovery.  It’s so tempting to think that you can have this without this.  You can short term, but you can’t medium term, and you can’t long term.  Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you’re not going to be the one who notices.  If your performance starts declining, or if your performance is far lower than it could be, chances are you won’t even notice it.

I hope you will give this a try and get your sleep and get your recovery.  I’m Alex Goad, reminding you that “Today counts, so behave yourself appropriately.”