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June 22, 2020

How to Have Limitless Energy with Shawn Stevenson

"Energy starts from the top down."

SHAWN STEVENSON

Shawn Stevenson is a bestselling author and creator of The Model Health Show, featured as the #1 Nutrition and Fitness podcast on iTunes. A graduate of The University of Missouri – St. Louis with a background in biology and kinesiology, Shawn went on to be the founder of Advanced Integrative Health Alliance, a successful company that provides Wellness Services for both individuals and organizations worldwide. Shawn is also a dynamic keynote speaker who has spoken for TEDx, universities, and numerous organizations with outstanding reviews.


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Show Notes

ENERGY IS A VERB

  • Energy starts from the top down. It starts with the brain, an energy-consuming organ.
  • Our brains consume upward of 25% of our caloric intake.
  • We must understand that we have to feed our brains the right food because of the blood-brain barrier, which only allows certain nutrients to cross the barrier to feed the brain. 
  • Energy is achieved through proper nutrition—food, supplements, water, physical movement, and sleep.    
  • Eleven minutes of walking, 2-3 times per day, is what Shawn recommends as beneficial to improving energy. 

WHY SLEEP MATTERS

  • Several studies show that sleep impacts our performance and brains. A study at Standford University shows that athletes who got an average of 8.5 hours of sleep consistently for a short period of time shaved at least one full second off of their sprint time and improved their free-throw and 3-point shooting by 9 percent. This may not seem significant, but to a high-performance athlete, this may be the difference between winning or losing a race or getting to a ball faster, getting a scholarship, or even being signed to the NBA. 
  • Subjectively, participants were less fatigued, experienced less daytime sleepiness, had improved reaction times, and reported overall moods and physical wellbeing were better. 
  • Making sure we optimize our sleep is a huge key to performance. 

3 STRATEGIES FOR BETTER SLEEP

1. Exercise early. The time of day that you exercise can significantly influence your sleep quality. Researchers at Appalachian State University found that participants who exercised in the morning spend more time in the deepest, most anabolic stages of sleep, have more efficient sleep cycles, sleep longer, and had 25 percent greater drop in blood pressure during the evening—which means their fight or flight nervous system is relaxed and turning off. 

  • This is a good time to get your 11-minute walk in. It does not need to be a long workout, but it’s necessary to help reset your cortisol levels.

2. Limit your devices. This might be the biggest challenge to our sleep and wellness in our modern times. If we are on our devices at night, Harvard researchers have confirmed that the blue light spectrum coming from our devices is sending information to our brains suggesting that it’s daytime. 

  • Blue light stimulates the release of cortisol in the evening and suppresses melatonin. Every hour you are on your device at night suppresses melatonin for 30 minutes. Even if you are exhausted and sleep for 7-8 hours, you will not be able to sleep efficiently without adequate melatonin production. 
  • There is no cookie-cutter amount of sleep. Sleep amount matters, but the quality of sleep matters more. Look at sleep minutes like calories—all are not created equal. 
  • Wear blue light blocking glasses and give yourself a 30-minute screen curfew. Use that time to take a magnesium bath to help with sleep or listen to a podcast or audiobook.

3. Create a good sleep environment. It’s important that we do this intentionally because of our neuro associations. If you intend to go to bed, but you are used to watching TV or working in your bedroom, you will have circuits firing in your brain telling you it’s time to do those things rather than sleep. 

  • You want to create a neuro association for sleep and relaxation in the bedroom. 
  • Get electronics out of the bedroom, if possible. If it’s not possible, set up a separate workspace and make your bed the neuro association for only sleeping and relaxing. 
  • Because our skin has photoreceptors, it’s also a good idea to make your sleeping environment cozy, dark, and cool. Researchers at Cornell found that putting a light the size of a quarter behind the knee of their sleep subjects disrupted their sleep cycle. 
  • Photoreceptors are always working to figure out what time it is. If light is needed, get a nightlight that is in the shades or hues that are not as disruptive for sleep like orange or red. 
  • Make sure your sleep environment is cool. No matter what environment we are in when it gets dark outside the temperature goes down. Our bodies naturally drop in temperature when the sun goes down to help facilitate sleep. The drop on our core body temperature releases sleep-related hormones and enzymes to help us sleep better.
  • If we artificially keep our temperature up by having the heat high or exercising before bed, it can cause massive disruptions in our sleep. Do something to help drop the temperature just a couple of degrees. 
  • Limitless energy is created with proper nutrition, movement, and the power of sleep.
  • I highly recommend reading Shawn’s book, Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success.

SHARE WITH US

  • Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@ShawnModel & @JimKwik) and share your greatest “aha!” moment from this episode with us.
  • Share your best sleep hack, favorite brain food, and favorite exercise. 
  • Get Shawn’s book, Sleep Smarter
  • Listen to Shawn’s podcast, The Model Health Show.

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How to Have Limitless Energy with Shawn Stevenson

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