7 winning strategies Navy SEALs use to overcome sleep deprivation
- Set a sleep routine that relaxes you in the hours before bed - and follow it.
- When you're stressed or overwhelmed, write out a plan that helps you focus on how you'll face the challenges tomorrow.
- Recognize when you're really tired. Nap. Ask others for help.
Growing evidence suggests that poor sleep habits harm our health, our relationships, even our jobs. So if you're having trouble sleeping, then it's time to get back to the basics - military style.
Special operators, who are sent on the US military's most dangerous assignments, must sleep when they can and often face extreme sleep deprivation to complete their mission. Whether you're a new parent, have a stressful job or are dealing with a difficult situation, there's a lot you can learn from these elite operators.
To get a sense of how to sleep like a champ in the worst situations, we pored over sleep techniques for special operators and interviewed a former Navy SEAL who trains pro athletes, firefighters and police tactical teams on maximizing their performance.
"There's not a harder job out there than being a mom or dad, working or stay at home," says Adam La Reau, who spent 12 years as a Navy SEAL and is the co-founder of O2x Human Performance, a company that trains and advises groups from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Boston Fire Department. "There's definitely a sleep debt that could occur over time."
Courtesy Adam La Reau
Small tweaks to your routine - what La Reau calls "1% changes" in a March 19 phone interview - will make a huge difference to your sleep.
These are the basics of sleep boot camp. Know these before you nod off.
Have a pre-sleep game plan.
Put together a list or reminder of what you need to do the next day.
Exercise is important, but well before bedtime.
Sleep when you can.
Get a high-quality mattress, blackout shades, and a white noise machine.
Put away that phone. Seriously.
Sleep can be a team sport.
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