Sleep: Why Roger Federer Gets 12 Hours of It & How to Hack Your Own Sleep
Posted On July 31, 2014
Fun fact #1: You will die from sleep deprivation before food deprivation.
That’s right. 11 days without sleep will kill you, but the body can survive without food for about two weeks before it starves. Turns out a lot of complicated and important things happen when we sleep – things that repair, recharge and rebuild the body and the brain. Even your skin renews itself, hence the phrase “beauty sleep” (it does not come from Sleeping Beauty contrary to popular belief; it’s because you will literally look like hell if you do not sleep).
Fun fact #2: Pro athletes will often sleep for 10-12 hours a day.
Roger Federer and LeBron James are known to sleep 12 hours a day. Usain Bolt swears by it. They need the extra sleep to absorb the beating their bodies take and to give them the extra edge that professional athletes need in a world of split second decisions, last minute shots and 100 mile an hour serves.
Fun fact #3: The 8 hour stretch of sleep is a recent phenomenon.
Our ancestors (i.e. before the days of electricity, coffee shops and street lighting) used to have “two sleeps”, where people would, over a 12 hour stretch, sleep for 3-4 hours, wake up for a few hours, and then go back to sleep until the sun rose.
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THE SLEEP CHALLENGE
Do you pay much attention to how you sleep? If you’re like me, you hop into bed, turn off the light and hope for the best. Some nights you’ll toss and turn. Other nights you’ll pass out in seconds. You might wake up a few times, or not at all. And if you’re lucky, you’ll wake up vibrantly before the alarm clock goes off feeling like a field of fresh daisies.
They say that the building blocks for optimal health are diet, exercise, stress management and sleep. All critical in their own way, sacrificing even one of the four on a regular basis does the body and the mind a big disservice. The benefits of sleep, surprise surprise, are significant and vast (a strong immune system, energy, creativity, concentration, among many others) and this month, I set out to engineer an ideal night of sleep for the whole family.