[Transcript] – The Man Behind The Advanced Sleep Hacking Tactics Used By The World’s Most Elite Athletes.

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Transcripts

Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/09/sleep-hacking-tactics-with-nick-littlehales/

[00:00] Introduction/Kimera Koffee

[03:28] Nick Littlehales

[05:15] How Nick Got Into The Field He’s In

[13:53] The Modifications Nick Makes To Athletes’ Hotel Rooms

[19:14] Sleep Masks

[21:26] Controlling Temperature

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[29:32] Custom Mattress Toppers

[34:18] Sleeping Position

[42:32] Air Filters Nick Has That His Clients Use

[43:42] Why Nick Recommends Sleeping With Breathe Right Strips

[48:18] The Ideal Number of Sleep Cycles

[1:01:13] Quantifying Sleep

[1:13:02] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey, it’s Ben Greenfield here.  This podcast about the man behind the advanced sleep hacking tactics used by the world’s most elite athletes is ironically brought to you by coffee.  But not just any old coffee, this coffee is called Kimera Koffee.  And the Kimera Koffee blend is a blend of coffee that’s been infused with 725 milligrams of premium grade nootropics.  What are nootropics?  They are actually cognitive performance enhancers that take caffeine and vastly multiply its effects in terms of your mental function.  We’re talking about things like alpha-GPC, which is a natural choline compound you find in things like meat and fish, taurine which is an organic amino acid that delays cognitive decline, fights oxidative stress, reduces fatigue, increases fat metabolization, and a lot more, L-theanine, which balances anxiety, improves your sleep patterns, prevents cholesterol-related damages, and DMAE, which is the same stuff you find in fish oil for boosting mental performance, increasing oxygen efficiency, and promoting red blood cell function.

So basically it’s coffee that’s way, way better than just plain old coffee.  And it tastes really, really fantastic too.  So it’s called Kimera Koffee, and you can check it out at KIMERAKOFFEE.com.  That’s kimerakoffee.com.  So try some out.  It’s high-altitude premium coffee infused with nootropics.  Finally, if you use code Ben10 at kimerakoffee.com to get a 10% discount on stuff.  So Ben10, kimerakoffee.com.  Check it out.  And now, on to today’s episode with sleep coach Nick Littlehales.

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“We search change sleep that happens everywhere.  But when you’re looking at trying to maximize your mental and physical recovery from that period of sleeping, then there are things that are going to be fighting that process all the time.”  “Are you sleeping well?  How many hours are you trying to get?  And most people will just say, ‘I’m sleeping okay.  And about eight.’  And yet the guys and girls I work with, they go, ‘I’m on a five cycle routine for 2015, but I moved it down to a four cycle routine.  And you know what?  I’m going faster, doing quicker, and doing better.'”

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It’s Ben Greenfield here.  And you may remember way back in podcast episode number 326, I talked a little bit about this article that was in The Guardian, and their article was called “The Man Who Showed Cristiano Ronaldo How To Sleep”.  Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player.  And the article talked about this sleep coach who works with elite athletes from around the globe using some really advanced sleep hacking tactics, like customized mattress toppers, and HEPA air filters fitted over hotel room vents, and advanced sleeping positions, and all sorts of things that even for a guy like me who, as you probably know, kind of geeks out on sleep, seem to be some pretty advanced methods.

So this guy’s name is Nick Littlehales, and Nick is actually my guest on today’s podcast.  He is over in the UK.  It’s evening for him, it’s morning for me, but he has graciously agreed to come on and talk to us about what he does.  He has over 30 years of experience in the world of sleep, sleeping habits, sleeping product design, and for the past 15 years has dedicated that knowledge to helping athletes and especially elite athletes and professional athletes.  But this stuff is of course really applicable to any of us who want to sleep better or want to perform better based off the type of sleep that we get.  So this should be a ton of fun to really delve into, advanced sleep hacking tactics.  Nick, thanks for coming on the show, man.

Nick:  It’s my pleasure.  Glad to be on.

Ben:  So, I’m curious how you got so apparently obsessed with sleep.

Nick:  I was sort of an aspiring professional golfer in the UK, trying to be a tour professional, was around the world, made lots of money, but it was way back in the early 80’s and sport was very different then, and certainly golf.  Strangely, I moved out that because I was never going to be good enough and fell into what we call the furniture industry to pay the mortgage on my house and look after my upcoming, young family.  And I started working for a large company over here in the UK who had international licensees all around the world called Slumberland.  They made sleeping products.  I sort of flew through the ranks from sales rep to the international sales and marketing director.  About the time I was 32, spent a little bit of time as the chairman of the UK Sleep Council.  And over that period, I was being forced to study sleep, get involved with clinical research, and just investigating the wonderful and crazy habits of how we approach sleep around the world.  And all of that was to translate it back into the trying to, as my company’s brand being at the forefront of that and principally the hard fact of it was to sell more bedding products and to keep us at the cutting edge.

Bit of a midlife crisis maybe, group had gone through a number of various acquisitions, and I sort of got bored of that, wanted to go off and start my own thing, which I was in the process of.  But just before that time, I wondered that sport must have a much better approach towards sleep than any population I’ve ever come across who just took it for granted, whether it’s products, whether it’s techniques, whether it’s awareness or understanding, none of us really cared, and it’s something we do every day, but there was no real structure to it or awareness.  So I literally wrote to my UK office based in Manchester, UK.  I wrote to my local football club, which happened to be Manchester United, who I assumed would be at some sort of cutting edge, and I simply got a note back saying that they do nothing.  And literally…

Ben:  That’s kind of shocking.

Nick:  Well, it’s about 1998 then and you certainly haven’t got sports science guys and girls wondering around.  Things were still pretty much, technology shifted quite a lot since even then.  So it was a little bit of an intrigue from one of the physiotherapists because they had a player with lower back issues, and they were basically wrapping him in cotton wool and not letting him train and just play.  And it fascinated him that when the player leaves the training ground after training and treatment, hops into the fancy Ferrari or whatever it might be and takes up a postural position that might be not good, and then what are they actually using to sleep on in their homes, could be the eight hours or whatever they’re allocating to sleep, the products they’re using to sleep with, they have no idea what they are.  When in every other area, they know a lot about the player.  And so, I literally got asked to check it out.  We did.  It was quite obvious he was using a product that was aggravating posture, not rehabilitating it.  We made a few changes, and the player started to see some initial results, not only perceived value of sleep, but also less time on the treatment table.  We’ve never solved the back problem, as you know, Ben, but it’s certainly shown improvement.

And along that route, I was talking about all the knowledge, and everything else that I have about sleep, and stuff like that, and they became fascinated.  So I got asked to do more things with that particular club even while I was still employed at my company.  And that just started to grow.  And as players and physios started to talk to other players, other clubs into the national team, it suddenly became apparent to the media, who would watch top clubs like Manchester United very carefully, that there was a guy looking after the player’s sleep, he was talking to them about sleep, and they found that fascinating, but in a funny, ha-ha way, Ben.  “What are these pampered footballers having a sleep coach come in to tuck them in, to read them a bedtime story? What on earth is he doing?”  And that’s how I got the title.  It was given to me by the media.  And since that particular time, I’ve had to go in and work with not only football clubs, which is raising levels of awareness, which is trying to gauge them in the process, which is trying to make it a performance criteria not something taken for granted.  So you fine tune everything that I’ve done so that it can be communicated and translated in a manner that can be understandable to young, which is eventually young athletes who really don’t care.  They’re full of non-fear, aren’t they?

And so over the years as technology shifted along, we’ve got apps, and devices, and all sorts of things around now, and all I’ve seen over that period of time of about 16 years now where I now work with everybody from BMX riders of 14 years of age to sailors, to rowers, archers, rugby, football.  I’m getting quite a bit of interest from the US, from then NFL and NBA, and various things like that.  Pretty much when you look at how people approached the subject of sleep, never mind athletes.  The knowledge base, even at doctors and sports science levels, right down through the ranks, is very, very low.  And I think some of the sort of the clinical side and the academic side has always proved how important it is to us.  We know how important it is when we feel good from it and bad.  But the kind of things that the academic world concentrates on, they’re being a little bit more broader with it now.  But principally a lot of the things they advice us to do, nobody actually applies them.  So if there’s nothing to apply…

Ben:  You mean like turn turning off your phone at night and stuff like that?

Nick:  Well even getting eight solid hours a day out of 24 for a good healthy adult.  There’s so many people who just simply can’t supply that, can they, Ben?  You’ve got shift workers, you’ve got sport where there’s events and timings all over the place, and simply trying to get a full eight hour period within two specific times every day for so many people in the population is just not practical.  So they tend to not do anything and try to just push on through whether they feel good, bad, or indifferent, whether they’ve slept well or even not at all.

Ben:  Yeah.  And in this article, you get into some pretty advanced tactics.  And most of our listeners now, and we talked about before on the show things like iPad insomnia, and being careful with exposure to artificial lighting at night, and things along those lines, but there are some things that you do that really intrigue me that we haven’t talked about much before.  So for example, when you’re working with athletes who are traveling and staying in hotel rooms, there are specific modifications that you make to that room to help them to sleep better.  Can you talk about what some of those modifications are?

Nick:  Some of them are extremely simple and very straightforward.  What’s happened is that if you start to work closely with an athlete, you’re starting with the process of raising their awareness on certain key sleep recovery indicators.  There’s seven key areas that are pretty much fundamental from my experience that if you haven’t got those areas in some sort of control, or you’re focused on them, not in a very strict routine way, but just about awareness, and application, and adapting certain techniques in those areas, then you’ve really got no chance of adding anything to it.  So when you do a complete profile of an athlete, you gather all of this information, and one area is products, one area is breathing, one area is light, and all of those things come out of those KSRIs, and so that when you move, you go into an athlete’s home environment, the one they’ve set up for principally where they sleep for the majority of the time with their family and partner is that you’re just making sure that there’s nothing in that room that is counterproductive so what I would like them to focus on, which is mental and physical recovery, not sleep.  Sleep, we can do it anywhere, on trains, planes, camping, somebody else’s house, on the couch, on the floor.  We sort of treat sleep as it sort of happens everywhere.  But when you’re looking at trying to maximize your mental and physical recovery from that period of sleeping, then there are certain things are going to be fighting that process all the time.  So when you look at their room, you do look at things like, have you got total blackout for encouraging the whole natural process of going into a sleep state.

Ben:  So if someone is traveling, how would you achieve total blackout?  For example, if someone is staying in a hotel room and it’s got the crappy curtains that kind of let a ton of light through, what do you do about that?  Do you use the duct tape technique and tape the curtains up, or do you have portable blackout curtains that you recommended, you do just use sleep masks for athletes?  What do you do?

Nick:  You would use sleep masks, you would use duct tape around if it’s really bad.  Not all athletes are rich and famous, so we take rolls of polyethylene, black polyethylene, then line these things like that, which we can actually tape in around corners and fill gaps.

Ben:  Like black polyethylene sheeting?  Like that that you could just put in your travel bag?

Nick:  Yeah.  It doesn’t always have to be that sort of thing.  One thing as you start to take that sort of approach, what happens is you start to choose hotels where these things are not so apparent.  And hotels have moved on quite a lot in many areas because they are looking towards a more healthy stay at a hotel and they’re trying to set them up.  So it’s more about sleep and recovery than sort of a party.  And so, as each of my athletes goes through these processes, we start to go, “Right, well there’s a hotel just two yards down the road.  They have much better blackout.  It means we do less to solve that problem.  So we stay there, not there from now on.”  So when you’re looking at all the light, again, you construct to that at home.  And if you got TV’s and standby lights, which turn into little sort of lasers into the pineal gland when you’re in darkness and asleep, just little rolls of black tape just so that you can put it over the standby lights. Even if you wanted, ’cause most of them, they tried to switch them off from the bed, you won’t do it, so you try to have to change their habit of if they’re watching TV, then they go and switch it off.  They don’t just put it off with a remote, ’cause the standby stays on, but we try to take it out in other ways.

Ben:  What do you mean by that exactly, that the standby stays on?  What does that mean?

Nick:  If you’re on the TV and they’re watching the TV in bed or something like that like a lot of people do today, you switch it off with the remote so it leaves, there’s a little bit of a red standby light that stays on constantly.

Ben:  Yeah.  And that’s interesting ’cause there’s research that even those tiny little lights can, even if you were wearing a sleep mask and they photoreceptors on the skin, I’ve heard that, that they can disrupt sleep.  That’s one thing that I’m sure to do when I go to a hotel room is I unplug the alarm clock.  I hadn’t thought of covering up that little light on the TV, but you’re right.  That one tends to stay on.  This idea of using black polyethylene sheeting is pretty cool for taping around the windows.  What about sleep masks?  Are there specific styles of sleep masks that you specifically like, or like brands that you recommend for athletes or for people who want to really block as much light as possible?

Nick:  Principally, I’m not a great fan of them.

Ben:  Of sleep masks?

Nick:  No.  Not a great fan.  I mean they have a use, but if you’ve got certain circumstances, then they’re unnecessary at all.  But what they tend to do is put in, when you’re wearing those masks to where you’re sleeping, they tend to disturb the way you naturally want to move around and take up certain positions, and they can become aggravating.  So if they’re well-made and in a certain design, you’ll have less of that.  But if you’ve just got masks on, people tend to want to sleep on their back with masks on, not on their front on, or limited towards their side because of the mask itself.  And that’s sort of a little bit counterintuitive to the way I like it to the right sleeping position, stay in it.  It’s the same with anything that you would, in around the bed system and around you, with what you’re wearing to sleep in, through the materials and the linen, to the mattress itself, the pillow, all of those little things, if you start adding things to the process, then during those hellishly long hours of sleep effectively doing nothing but lying there, they can become quite an aggravated toll if you’re not careful.

Ben:  Yeah.  I’ve struggled with sleep masks before.  I’ve got one that I use called, have you heard of the Sleep Master Sleep Mask?  It’s like a wraparound that goes over your ears and everything.  That’s the one that I can pretty much sleep in any position, and I mean it covers up your ears, and your eyes, and everything.  And I want to ask you a little bit about those sleeping positions that you recommend, but first I know there’s a few other things that, for example, you talked about in that article in The Guardian, in addition to controlling the light.  One was temperature control.  Can you talk about specifically how you control temperature in an athlete’s home or in a hotel, like specific things that you do?

Nick:  Well, the first thing you like everything that comes out of the academic work with clinical side, which is absolutely true, we have to move into that natural sleep state, we need to move from a natural body temperature into a cooler environment, or cooler bed, a cooler room.  Not cold, but cooler.  And that literally is just the very simple process of that sun disappearing out of the horizon, the darkness hits us, the temperature drops, and all of those things are triggering so many biological functions in our bodies to move us into a sleep state.  Now when the sun comes up, it’s doing the opposite.  So if you’ve got a warm room and a warm body temperature, then those two things combined together, that sort of triggers, “Don’t go to sleep.”  Or they make it more difficult for you to stay asleep, or to go through it in a very sort of nice rhythmic way.  But if you come out and say to somebody, “You need to keep your room at 16 or 18 degrees, that’s the optimum sleep temperature.”

Well, how do you control a room?  If you’ve got air conditioning in your bedroom, that’s also a little bit counter-productive because the air conditioning tends to sort of dry all the air out in the room.  You’ll do get some great stuff from the white noise in the back, which is good for keeping you in a sleep state and [0:22:57] ______, but how’d you do it, how to keep it like that?  And principally if you just buy them a room thermometer, or you can get various things on apps, and devices, and everything, and just get them to start working on the part of the pre-sleep routine, which is one area that we work on a lot.  Part of that pre-sleep routine is actually just being conscious of what temperature your bedroom is at.

Ben:  So if the air conditioner dries out the air in the room, and that might not be good for your nasal cavities, or for recovery, or something like that, how do you keep their cool, or keep your body cool without jacking up the air conditioner?  Do you have any methods, or techniques, or technology that athletes use in the hotel room for something like that?

Nick:  I think everybody sort of hunts for gadgets these days.  The one that works best for most people, particularly when they’re travelling, you just get a frozen bottle of water and put a fan behind it and just let it blow, cool that air down, and bring it into the room, but also keep it not drying out.

Ben:  So you could put like a frozen bottle of water or like a bag of ice from the hotel ice maker in front of the air conditioner to keep the air moist as the air conditioner churns it out from the fan?

Nick:  Or you just get a fan from the hotel, or you get a fan at home.  When you say “keep your room well-aired”, not everybody’s living in the countryside.  People are living inside of cities, or close to cities, those sort of things don’t work for them in all sorts of ways.  In some cases, just because they become more aware of it, I can obviously tell you’re a serious geek sleeper, Ben.  So you take it seriously.  But for lots of people, just becoming aware that they’ve got to try and control that bedroom temperature as much as they possibly can.  And if they, the whole little process of going into that room and having it cooler, having it well-aired, if they’ve got things, problems ’cause they live in a city, because of this and that, then they’ve got to try to minimize these things as much as they possibly can.  They may not be able to remove them or even control them as well as others, but there’s possibly some techniques that they can use coming into the room that’s not all about fancy gadgets or expense.  Things like fans and little water can help out.

And it’s the same with the light side of things, which you touched on before.  And just to finish that off for everybody is that if you do put black curtains into the room, which will certainly help that process, if you just think very quickly that what this is all about is literally you should be sleeping with no curtains and no blinds at all.  You should be out there by the campfire.  And while you’re out there by the campfire and the yellow light coming from the flames on the fire are having no effect on you whatsoever ’cause it’s yellow light, not daylight, you may have moonlight, but you have total darkness around you with no other types of lights affecting you, you eventually slide as the temperature drops, your sensitivity to light’s dropped, you moved into darkness, and now you fall asleep.  In the morning, as the sun come up over the horizon, as we all know, that daylight starts to come in and hits us, it starts to trigger all our wake hormones, it also then triggers through temperature, so we wake up and be active.  That’s the natural process that as humans we want to go through every day.  But if you’re indoors under artificial light, you’re extending this process way beyond its natural one.  So you’re using blackout to ensure that any source of light that we’re creating as a world is getting into that room and what we’re putting inside.

So the key thing with this is it’s not easy to wake in blackout because you’ve now stopped that natural process waking you up naturally.  We’ve been getting away with it for a few centuries, generations, but our sleep hygiene, routines have been pretty poor, but we’re now exposed to some pretty serious changes.  And we name it now to start taking a different approach to it, and one of those is how you come out of wake.  And using dawn wake simulators, which is the natural daylight lamps with alarms on, so that literally my natural wake time every day, constant as ever, is 6:30.  So at 6 o’clock, that light will start coming into the room and taking that blackout down, bringing daylight into me, and waking me naturally for my 6:30 alarmed wake.

Ben:  Right.  These are just like the dawn simulator alarm clocks.

Nick:  Yeah.

Ben:  So you combine something like a blackout curtain for blackness at night, but then you overcome the fact that that’s going to keep life from waking you up in the morning by having a dawn simulator alarm clock?

Nick:  Yeah.  And they’re not expensive you don’t have to have [0:28:29] ______, but you also can use it the other way around.  That by putting the room into blackout, you’ve got all these little things like it’s not too, it’s nice and cool to a degree.  And if you’re in bed and you want to do some reading, or do some relaxation, whatever it might be, that’s what you normally do, then you put the light on, you use that as your bedside light, and that will then gradually decrease over the 30 minutes, and that means it’s taking you down.

Ben:  Oh, you can reverse those alarm clocks?  So they go from light to gradually dark?  That’s interesting.  I didn’t know that.

Nick:  They become a very useful tool.

Ben:  My kids have one in their room and I didn’t know that.  That’s interesting.  I’ll have to go fumble around with it.

Nick:  They’re great for kids ’cause the kids don’t know what the light’s doing.

Ben:  Now tell me a little bit about these mattress toppers.  I know you designed sleep kits for like Team Sky, the professional cyclist, Tour de France team.  One of the things I’ve heard that you do are custom mattress toppers.  How does that work and why would you need something like that?

Nick:  Again, back to when you’re go to the profiling with an individual athlete and they’re part of a team, I’ve gone in, I’ve checked their room environment, made them aware of what they need to be doing and everything else.  One of those areas will be the products that they’re actually using to sleep on.  I’m not interested in what style of bed frame or bed that they’ve got as a base, all I’m interested in is the mattress, and the pillows, the duvet, and the linen that’s being used.  And like every product, which was my competence working for my company previously, was literally you design every product that people are sleeping with for various different profiles.  And there’s pretty much three main profiles, which have those, which you know all about, the ecto, meso, and endomorph body shapes.  Height, weight, and shape, are you susceptible to allergies, temperature sensitivity, have you got any specific disabilities, ’cause we deal with paralympic athletes as well, and you create a profile, and then you make products to suit that profile.  And then what happens normally is that when that product goes to the shop, the retailer, they will remove most of that product information so that anybody can buy that product, whatever profile you are.  So it’s a one product fits all type scenario.

So all we do is just do it differently, Ben.  I will get all of the profile of the individual, we’ll put the right mattress, we work in layers, not great chunks of everything piled into the mattress you can think of and make it as thick and heavy as you possibly can, we look at those got elastic foams, gels, certain latex combinations, and we’re looking at everything that’s hypoallergenic, antibacterial, breathable.  There’s nothing in there, totally molding into body shape, temperature sensitivity, weightlessness feeling, total postural care, encouraging the right sleeping position because of the way it works.  It’s light, we can roll them up, we can send them anywhere around the world, and even just a 7.5 centimeter layer some of these materials would take somebody an excess of 100 to 120 kilograms in weight and still act like a mattress.  So it’s just that a lot of these types of materials are not necessarily in the marketplace because a lot of people would probably shy away from them because they would appear to be too soft.

Ben:  Right.

But actually the way we designed these products is that it’s all about how you put them together in layers.  So you start with the core, you then start with the first layer, that topper which does that, you then start with the second layer, and you build it all up until you’ve got something that when the athlete is lying on it in a fetal position on the opposite side to their dominant side, which is the correct one we want, they don’t require any pillow whatsoever to sleep with ’cause there’s no gap, there’s fantastic line right the way through from the top of the head, through the nose, through the chin, through the neck vertebrae, right down through the spine, out through the hips, and down to the ankles.  One perfect beautiful line with no pillow there whatsoever, because pillows simply are there to aggravate the situation of sleeping correctly.  And that’s how you get somebody profiled on to the right product.  And all we then is simply take single-sized versions of those layers, shove ’em in a bag, and they take them wherever they go.

Ben:  And this is called a mattress topper?

Nick:  Yeah.

Ben:  A couple of things here.  First of all, you guys actually create those from your website?  Like someone could go to your website and get a custom mattress topper based off of their body measurements?

Nick:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay.  Interesting.  I’m adding this to my list of things to look into after our call.  The second thing that you mentioned just real quick is that you should sleep in a fetal position on the opposite side of your dominant side.  So if I’m a right-handed tennis player, I would ideally sleep on a mattress topper on my left side in kind of like a fetal position?

Nick:  Yeah.

Ben:  Interesting.  Why is that?  Is there any research behind that?

Nick:  We certainly know that any sleeping position where you don’t feel, or your brain can’t record the fact that you’re in the most secure position you can be in.  Then it’s always going to keep you alert because of that position.  So if you’re on your back, your genitals and heart are exposed, and you are literally showing all of your weak parts of your body to the outside world.  So anybody can come into near you, or anything that’s going on in the environment you happen to be sleeping with, you’re very vulnerable in that position.

Ben:  That makes…

Nick:  On your front, some of your senses, it’s not only quite uncomfortable for not only males but also to females to lie on their front because the neck is not only twisted right at right angles away from the mattress and pillow, but it also can be raised up by the pillow, which puts a lot of stress on the neck.  But principally it’s also a position where you can’t really protect yourself.  So what it does like, if you ever get trapped somewhere where you have to sleep in some sort of public arena, I did it when I was a young lad travelling on trains, and you hit strikes and things like that and I had to sleep with a couple of my mates with the back packs in a train station.  And immediately what you do is you put all your personal belongings onto your body or hold them close, you get into a fetal position ’cause you’re nicely curled up, and I’ve got my right arm and my right leg available to protect myself at any immediate second.  Now whether that would actually protect you if you got attacked or there was some danger, what it does to the brain, it’s saying, “We’re in the most comfortable, secure position we can be in, so I’m happy to put you in that almost paralyzed state.  Let’s go hunting for deep sleep.”

It makes a lot of sense.  It also makes sense in an athlete’s world, ’cause as you said, if I’m a professional tennis player or athlete using my right side all the time for kicking, or using a racket, all of that sort of stuff, and if I’m going to, for a long period of time, in bed, on the mattress, lie in these positions, then my left side is going to be less sensitive, the muscles, the joints are less sensitive.  And so it’ll allow me to lie on my side for longer periods of time without having to make an adjustment.  So when you’re trying to look at sleeping with products for these rolling hours, which is a hell of a long time, we seem to forget about it, or it’s simple to say, is that if I’m going to be able to sort of minimize how many times I adjust position from pillow hugging, to going to my back, to going to my side, all of those things create all other problems like overheating and everything else.  And the main one is if you’re going to get that deep sleep that we’re hunting for every night, then that can be a real trigger towards it.  And people don’t consider that carefully enough, particularly when they start sleeping with regular partners.  Because if you’re right-handed, Ben, and I’m right-handed, then one of us is going to be sleeping on the wrong side.

Ben:  Yeah.  I actually need to make some modifications based off what you’ve said because I tend to sleep, I’m right hand dominant.  I tend to sleep on the left side of the bed on my right side in kind of fetal position facing away from my partner.  But it sounds like I should be sleeping on the right side of the bed on my left side.  So basically the complete opposite of what I’ve been doing.  I may have to approach my wife about this.  I don’t think she’s too picky.

Nick:  No.  I think there’s, obviously because even as a couple and you’re madly in love, breathing each other’s nose, through each other’s mouths in the center of the bed, whatever it might, when the sleep state gets, you turn away and that’s what you’ve just described, Ben.  You turn away and you will go to your left side because you’re on that side of the bed.  Now your wife will go onto her right side.  And when you watch people sleeping at those dynamics, it means that every time, if you’re on your back, your wife won’t move off her side because she knows that you are facing that way or in that way.  So the dynamics is you start to spread yourself out, pillow hug try to find out the position because she will want to turn into the middle of the bed or take up her left side position unless you are definitely facing the other opposite direction.

Ben:  It’s so true.  That’s interesting.

Nick:  That’s what causes a lot of issues around people sleeping together.  ‘Cause if you’re on your own, it doesn’t matter whether you are on the left, in the middle, on the right, upside down, width ways, length ways, it makes no difference whatsoever ‘cause you can always sleep on your left side, or start the process that way.

Ben:  Alright.  If I wind up in an enormous domestic argument this month, I’m going to blame you.  I’ve got a few more questions for you for sure.  First of all, I’ve been to your website at sportsleepcoach.com.  I know that you actually, over there, obviously for disclosure, you sell things like these mattress toppers and these sleep kits.  I’m looking right now at this one that you sell.  It looks like it’s a kit that you could carry with you on an airplane or travel with.  I’m looking at the Elite Athlete sleep kit.  It looks like there is a special pillow, a special duvet, a special linen packets, a hold-all, which I assume is the bag, and then two different toppers.  Now those toppers an athlete would select based off whether they’re an ectomorph body type, and endomorph body type, or a mesomorph body type, correct?

Nick:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay.  Now what about, you said that pillows weren’t more necessary, but it looks like a pillow is included with that kit.  Why is that?

Nick:  Simply because when they’re going travelling, well the first thing is is that’s the best way to make sure that the mattress itself is both of you.  What they will then do, because it is something that we’re so sort of familiar with, a little shallow pillow, very shallow it’s just there for some sort of comforting.  It’s then going to have the least amount of impact.  So athletes as they start, as long as they’ve got exactly what they need, then they won’t use a pillow when they’re actually sleeping in their homes, or a really very shallow one, but they know what to do with it.  The reason why it’s in the kit is because we’ve just got the two toppers and not their full mattress that they’ve got in home, is they’ll use those toppers directly onto the floor, or directly on top of maybe a product that’s in the hotel or training camp.  And so the pillow is there just simply as a product that in certain circumstances as they’re using these things in the not ideal way with their own set up at home but it’s part of it, it’s there to add in those little areas when we get caught up.

Ben:  Okay.  Gotcha.  That makes sense.  And by the way I know that, for those of you who want to know, I’m taking tons of notes as we’re talking.  If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/sleepcoach, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/sleepcoach, I’ll have, I’m working with Nick to get you guys a discount on everything, I think it’s going to be Ben10, a discount on some of the sleep kits, mattress toppers, et cetera that he sells on his site.  But in addition to these sleep kits, there are a few other things I wanted to ask you about, Nick.  First of all, I’ve read that you have these special filters that you recommend to place over air conditioning vents to remove allergens from a room that an athlete might be in when sleeping.  What are those?

Nick:  It’s more to do rather than putting things over air conditioning.  It’s actually to put these little high particle filters and some really funky ones now, they’re not great big things, but you put that into a room and literally within an hour it will drag pollutants, allergens, and also address this ionization of the room, which to some can be a little bit of a problem.  And it just drags all the crap out the air.

Ben:  What are those one of those called?

Nick:  They’re HEPA filters, high particle filters.

Ben:  Yeah.  I’ve heard of HEPA filters before, but the ones I’ve seen are always big.  They’re not never anything I could travel with.  These are actually…

Nick:  I’ll give you a link to ’em.  It’s about the size of a tennis ball.

Ben:  Really.  Is it just like a portable HEPA air filter?

Nick:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ben:  Interesting.  Okay.  I’ll have to look into this.  You also recommend that some athletes sleep with these Breathe Right Strips over their noses.  Why is that?

Nick:  Well it goes back to the sort of if you’re working with professional cyclists, never mind on grand tours, I mean these guys and girls, their sports is absolutely everything to them that they would rather be on a bike than walking or sitting.  And what happens with that very intense sport, which is one of the highest levels of recovery with the amount of kilometers they do day in day out, different hotels every night for three weeks at the highest level, what you need is to be able to breathe correctly.  Now we’re fast becoming a population of mouth breathers, Ben.  We tend to do too much in and out through the mouth, and particularly when you do a lot of exercise, which the population does a lot more now than ever did, is that in cycling in various sports like that [0:44:39] ______ you’re dragging air in through the mouth and out.

So when you’re going into a sleep state, that wonderful moment of just gently breathing in and out through the nose is absolutely critical.  ‘Cause as soon as you start to not be able to do that and feel comfortable with that process, you’ll start to revert back to dragging air in and out of the mouth.  And what that starts to create is dry mouth, mild apnea, snoring, snorting, being woken to rehydrate, disturbed sleep patterns.  And part of the process we do there is things like little Breathe Right strips.  There are also things like that the Rhinomed.  You can’t see it, but I’m actually pushing one up my nose right now, Ben.

Ben:  What’s it called?  A Rhinomed?

Nick:  Rhinomed.  Yeah.  It’s a little nasal, it’s like the breathe strip goes on the top of the nose to pull open the nasal passages.  This one goes inside your nose just like a little clip and that expands them.  And all it is it’s like a little trigger to you to go close your mouth and breathe in and out through your nose for a period.  Now you can use breathing techniques, there’s lots of those available today, specific ones you do.  But you can also, because the elite athletes, and probably like you and all your clients and everybody else, your levels of exercise and everything else is probably being ramped up, and they use them to trigger that nasal.  So when they go into sleep, it’s not such a shock, and they know how to do it, the brain knows what it’s doing, and it really benefits it.

So when you’re looking at those things of how important breathing is, nasal breathing as far as sleep is concerned is that when you come back into the room, some of the room environments, even our office spaces, even in our homes, with the outside pollutants, with the amount of allergens around, with our susceptibility towards allergens now, which is growing, is that with all of that through dust and everything else that’s in that room, it’s going to make it even more difficult for you to breathe naturally during those long hours of sleep and not get broken out of it.  And that’s why we’re doing it, because it’s becoming more of a critical part of mental physical recovery than it ever used to be.

Ben:  So this is that thing called the Rhinomed turbine nasal dilators.  Is that the one you’re talking about?

Nick:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay.  Cool.  And this is something you can wear when you exercise as well, right?

Nick:  Yeah, yeah.

Ben:  Okay.  Nice.

Nick:  There’s a lot of athletes that use them while they’re exercising…

Ben:  Yeah.  I know Chris Froome, the Tour de France guy, I think he uses one of those when he’s riding his bike.  I’ve kind of gone on and off using Breath Right strips.  I sometimes remember to put them on for exercise sessions, sometimes not.  But we had a guy named…

Nick:  Things have moved on a little, Ben.

Ben:  What’s that?

Nick:  Things have moved on a little bit from those sort of products.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah, I’ll have to look into getting one of these Rhinomeds.  And again, I’ll put some links in the show notes for those of you listening in ’cause I know we’re going over a ton of different little of things that folks can do here.  So one of the things that I wanted to ask you about, NIck, was sleep cycles, traditional eight hour sleep cycle versus using naps, shorter sleep cycles, et cetera, because I know you have an interesting perspective on this.  Can you explain what it is that you recommend in an ideal scenario when it comes to actual sleep cycles?

Nick:  Yeah.  It was born out of being able to try and to communicate to some young athletes, try to engage them in this subject that pretty much everybody takes for granted and knows little about.  And there’s no point in telling that group of athletes that according to research, you need eight hours every night between two constant points ’cause that simply was just not going to work.  So I had to find something to engage them in the process that they could keep in mind subconsciously all the time, it provides them with flexibility as things change everyday, but they can actually feel a little bit more in control, raise their perceived value and confidence.  And so principally I took one simple thing, is that sleep is pretty much measured across a 90 minute period.  And the reason for that is it takes around that time your brain to do all sorts of various things for you to get into certain states to roll through all the stages of sleep.  And they can come, deep sleep stages can come at the start of that particular 90 minute period towards the end of it or even not at all.

So I just thought, well it’s so much easier that if I use 90 minutes cycles, that sort of sounds a little bit better for that, it sounds like we can deal in sleep in cycles rather than these random hours, which they were sort of aware of.  And it gives us something where we can actually look at any particular period and go, “Right, this is what we’re going to achieve in cycles.”  So the simplest way for me to do it is I’ll just give you mine, Ben.  I work on a five cycle routine that is between 6:30 and 11 o’clock every day.  And that is 6:30 is a good wake time because it’s in harmony with the circadian process, sunrise, most of the time, it gives me plenty of time to do pretty much everything I want to do in any year as far as being awake and going to do something, it also gives me plenty of time normally to wake with some sort of post-routine, so I’m able to empty bowel and bladder, hydrate and fuel up, and get some daylight, little bit of exercise into my world before I start work or doing anything where I need to be in a full wake state.  If I can keep that consistent every single day, that is what sleep wants me to do.  So I try to do that as much as I possibly can is to never have to wake earlier than that, and I never ever wake later than that.  So if I go back from 6:30 and five ninety minutes cycles, I get 11 o’clock, which is the wonderful time in the circadian process when your need to sleep it’s at its peak.

Ben:  Right.  Okay.

Nick:  From 11 o’clock downwards, it drops down towards six.  So once you go past 11 o’clock, your body’s need to sleep is now dropping.  So any point past 11 is not a great spot to fall asleep ’cause you’re fighting against the process.  So anyway, 11 o’clock.  That gives me 7.5 hours ’cause it’s five 90 minutes cycles, 7.5 hours is principally your eight hours, which is what everybody says we need.  So what we do is then go the 90 minutes into 11 o’clock is my pre-sleep period.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to shut myself down, but between the 90 minutes into 11 o’clock, I want to make sure certain things are at least getting me prepared to go and spend seven and a half hours, five cycles, doing absolutely nothing, trying to recover mentally and physically.  Hopefully.

Ben:  Yeah.  That makes perfect sense.  So instead of thinking, “Okay, I’m going to get eight hours of sleep tonight,” instead your goal is to, during a 24 hour period of time, give your body five 90 minutes sleep cycles with a sleep cycle being going from your, whatever it is, stage two, to three, to four, to five, back out, right?

Nick:  That’s where you get this lovely flexibility.  Because all athletes will know, and all your listeners will know is that everyday, something is going to happen.  I’ve just met you, Ben, and I want to live every day to its max.  And you say, “Let’s go out for meal tonight.  Let’s get together.”  And I go, “Fantastic, the sun’s out, let’s do it.”  Oh, I don’t start worrying about getting to bed on time at 11.  Because immediately you’ve said that to me, I just straightaway go, I’m going to meet Ben at eight, we’re going to eat past at nine, and so I’m not going to get back until maybe 11 or five past 11, so I’m now targeting 12:30 as my next sleep slot because that’s the next 90 minute slot on.  It means I’ll get four cycles into 6:30 and wake, and then I can think, “Well, tomorrow I’ve got nothing on.  So I can grab another cycle, but 30 minutes between one and three, the nap period.  Or I could grab one between five and seven because that’s the other natural sleep period.  And then I’ll be back on the following night.”  So let’s go and have some fun with, Ben.

Ben:  That’s really interesting.  So theoretically, I could take a week of activity and I could say, “Okay.  So if I want five 90 minute cycles per 24 hour period, I could have a checklist.”  And over the course of a week, I’d want 35, 90 minute cycle.  So if I happen to short myself one day and get four 90 minute sleep cycles because I went to bed at midnight got up at 6:30, I could potentially tack on a 90 minute nap the next day to reset.  Or I could, for example, the next evening sleep six 90 minutes cycles instead of five 90 minute cycles.

Nick:  No.  You were all right up until that point.

Ben:  I would never want to go six 90 minute cycles in a row?

Nick:  No, no, no.  What you’ve got is the five 90 minute cycles sleep, getting that seven and a half hour period in there.  What you’re doing, what you said is that lovely natural sleep period, the siesta period where your urgent need to collide again, and that’s when everybody, the corporate graveyard slot between one and three, is in that particular period, your body will quite happily let you go into either a 30 or a 90 minute cycle.  In the evening slot between five and seven, it’s a little bit of a shorter clash.  So it’s more like the 30 minute controlled one there, like the true nap.  And all you’re doing is exactly that.  Through the whole week, and you can start it from the start of the year ’cause you can see what’s going to go on, and then there’s other things that are a bit more flexible, and your target might be five, 35 cycles in a seven day period and you’re looking at how you’re getting them.  Nocturnal versus “four here, three there, that one happened like that, I got that, but I grab 1 PM nap day, I grab that nap there, so actually I’ve got up to at least, that will week will probably give me an opportunity for 31 cycles”.  And I go, “I am happy to operate on 31 cycles, 30 cycles, 32 cycles.  35 is just perfection.”

But if I look at any period and I go, “Oh, that is only going to give me an opportunity to get 28 or 26.”  Now that’s pushing it.  That is pushing it too far.  So all I’ll try to explain is that you’ve got another one which is 2 AM, which is the next slot on 2:30, which is into 6:30, and that’s three cycles.  A lot of people like single-handed around the world sailors, armed forces, doctors, nurses, pilots, all sorts of people that have to work on just a couple of cycles together, or one cycle, to help them do their jobs, and so this is how you start to get a better balance.  And for some people, they don’t actually know just how much recovery they require for what they’re doing.  And so there’s a process called sleep restriction.  So when somebody gets into an insomniacal behavioral pattern, and they’re finding it more and more difficult to sleep, which I think probably every listener you’ve got will be experiencing these days with the demands of the modern world, and tech, and everything.  It becomes more difficult to not only get into sleep, but to stay asleep and to have it controlled is what you do is sleep restriction.

So to reset it, you restrict how much they’re going to sleep within a period of time 24 hours.  So with this 90 minute cycle process, it provides all of these lovely little subconscious things you can do.  It’s fantastic for coaches when they’re planning their routines, it’s fantastic for personal trainers and people like yourselves, Ben, with your clients because you can sort of, you can look at everything in their life and just see whether they are really pushing it too far because the amount of cycles, the opportunity they’ve got, they’re trying to do catch-up like you just said.  There’s no point trying to catch up with six, or seven, or eight, nine, ten.  It doesn’t work like that.  Sleep that is basically, if it’s gone, it’s gone.  If you’ve not slept in that 24 hour period and not maximized it the best you can, it’s gone.  The best you can do is stay on track with your routine, keep it going, and it’ll gradually reset itself, and that’s how it works.  Early to bed and sleeping in later is just wrong.

Sleep absolutely loves rhythms, and patterns, and consistencies because that’s what sunrise and sunset is all about.  It triggers things to happen at certain times during that period.  And we lose, we’ve lost sync with that process ’cause we hide away from it, we do all of the things away from it, and this is what creates most of the problems in all sorts of health areas and everything else.  And when I look into work with a sports group, and some of their sleep well-being questions will be, “Are you sleeping well?  How many hours are you trying to get?”  And most people will just say, “I’m sleeping okay.  And about eight.”  And yet when these guys I work with, and girls, they go, “I’m on a five cycle routine for 2015, but I moved it down to a four cycle routine.  And you know what?  I’m going faster, doing quicker, and doing better.”

So I’m not wasting 90 minutes of my life trying to sleep when I actually can get what I need out it from four cycles.  Now that is counter-intuitive to, you need to get hours of sleep worrying about sleep.  “Oh, I didn’t get to bed last night.”  “I didn’t do this all this sort.” We have soccer events finishing at 10, 11 o’clock at night.  Players won’t get home to their houses ’til 3, 4 o’clock in the morning the following day.  Well where’s those eight hours gone?  You’ve got travel times, jetlag, crossing states.  I listen to some of your sporting organizations like the NBA, and my God, to those guys spend a hell of a lot traveling, and touring, and shifting around.  They’ve got absolutely no chance of following a sort of an eight hour rule.  So I can quite happily, whatever the day brings to me, I can go flexibly with it, and I can be confident, I don’t worry about it.  The thing you hear everybody, all these things like, “you have to have blackout,” but nobody tells you need daylight to wake you up.  So you put blackout in and it’s counterproductive.  And you think, “Why isn’t that working?”  ‘Cause you haven’t done the two bits.  And another thing you will know, they get told all the time, Don’t eat too late.”  Well eating at 9, 10 o’clock is not too late, Ben, if I’m not going to bed until 2 AM.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Now regarding these 90 minute cycles, Nick, do you quantify them?  Do you use anything like the Sleep Cycle app, or the Beddit app, or any of these sleep qualification systems to actually see whether or not those 90 minute cycles are being achieved?

Nick:  They’ve come into our world.  There was a product that was absolutely fantastic because it was literally straight out of the clinic just taking brainwave patterns from the frontal lobe off your forehead.  Now that meant the data we were getting was just brilliant.  And we could do that in somebody’s home.

Ben:  Yeah.  I actually, I interviewed a guy named Dr. Joe Zelk from, I forget the name of his website.  I’ll put a link to that podcast in the show notes, but he sends these around the US, these brainwave monitoring systems, which are obviously not as accessible as like a whatever, $5 phone app, but what do you use now?

Nick:  Well, the Fitbit applications have certainly developed and you get some pretty good sleep data, heart rate, pulse from Fitbits and Jawbone.  There’s a number of Garmin wrist devices.  The one that I see only because I sort of have a sort of, not a collaboration with them, but we have a very good understanding and we like each other, and that’s [1:02:24] ______ of Readibands.  The Readiband…

Ben:  What’d you call it?  A Readiband?

Nick:  Readiband.  R-E-A-D-I-B-A-N-D-S.  Readiband.  And that’s, it’s a wristwatch type of product.  The data, so this will answer your question.  What you’ve got with all these things is it’s become very trendy for a lot of companies to tag sleep into the device gadget market.  And principally, the smart devices we have are using their accelerometers is just picking up motions and they translate that into pre-disposed data.  So it’s alright because it gives you, it’s certainly raising your awareness about sleep.  It’s great that you can even try and look at it ’cause you never could before.  So absolutely positive in any way.  But very quickly, anybody using them will start to realize although you do get some information with them, it’s not actually telling you what to do with this data.  And what you need to be able [1:03:37] ______ understanding of is if you’re looking at this information on a regular basis, what are you doing with the information?  Because even up until maybe five or six years ago, we were not measuring sleep at this level out in the domestic marketplace and it wasn’t a performance criteria, Ben.  However you and I sleep, we’ll still go and do what we need to do, whatever it is.  Even if it’s fly a plane.

So you and I are now starting to look at this data, and if you look at it and says, “You’ve got the deep sleep,” or “You’ve got that pattern or this pattern,” how’s it going to affect your day?  Are you going to do anything different today?  Are you going to change something today?  What are you going to do?  Most people just ignore it.  So all the time I come across it, even with elite groups, and there’s an elite group in the US right now, can’t mention names unfortunately, Ben, ’cause it’s a bit hush hush at the moment, but that elite group brought in wearable devices because it makes sense because sports science guys like to measure things.  They bring in the devices, they do all the tests with everybody, they get all the data back, and now they want to be able to like, “Well what can we do with this data?  How can we advise our athletes on what to do?”  And if you just revert back to some of the things we’ve just talked about, and particularly that 90 minute section, is if what we do now is we’ll put wearables into the system, a Readiband or a Fitbit, something like that, we’ll put in there to get a benchmark, we’ll probably even avoid any athletes at all getting the data, we get the data, we can see it, it might trigger off some red flags because of the information we’re getting, and we can sort of say from that data what the general picture is of that group, when they’re actually principally away from all the coaches or managers either in a hotel room or at their homes as long as it’s being used in a positive way.  So they know that we’re not sort of coming investigating their lives inside their bedroom, and watching them sleep, and all the private things that they do, and it’s all very intrusive.

What they know is that we’re gathering the data, we’re going to look at the data, and then what’s going to happen, we’re going to give them some new techniques that they can apply practically and achieveably, and they’ll apply them into their routines.  So it helps them deal with their sport, and social life, and families.  It means less impact on them.  If they start doing the cycle routine, we can start going, “Well, we’re on average getting 30 cycles a week.  We’re happy with that.”  And when we knew a 24 cycle we was coming, we change the routine and protected the athlete.  So we do all these little things.  And then if we do it again, we get the data back, and we’ll do it simply for one reason only: to make sure that it’s not going down.  And from the data we did in exactly the same way, you can’t do it if you use this device or any type of device, you must have it in a controlled way because you want everything in the same place so that you get exactly the same back.  Because if I use that device in a very hot hotel room after I’ve had you know, a couple of glasses of wine, an argument with my wife, and my boss is on the phone after that report, that data’s going to give me what it should give me.  If I wake up that morning and because the sensors haven’t quite picked up the movement, or they haven’t quite picked up that, and it tells me that I slept really well and I feel absolutely crap, what happens is we start to then sort of, because you’ve not got something that relates back to it.

So I could put a routine in with you, Ben.  You seem to have an extremely, probably one of the first people that I can remember who seems to have a really good handle on this, which is great to hear.  So I’m sure you’ll be a fantastic sleep coach by the end of the day and I can go retire.  And I think you could definitely use certain wearables for somebody like you, and you could find that maybe it’s giving you some information, and maybe we can pinpoint.  It’s absolutely useless, Ben, if you’ve got that very confusing work called sleep hygiene if you haven’t got more knowledge about the key sleep recovery indicators, about these circadian rhythms, your chronotype, pre and post sleep routines, thinking in cycles not hours, your environment and the products that you sleep on.  Those are the seven factors.  And within those seven factors, the seven little steps that you can take.  And if you get one step in each of those seven, from those seven, into your routine and start building, you start to see a really significant change in how you are recovering and everything about mood, motivation, decision making, what you achieve, how you feel, your appetite, all of those little things, weight control, mental skills, the stuff that’s coming out now, anybody who’s not trying to at least have a redefined approach, rather than no approach is really not doing them any favors.

So I think the gadgets are fine.  I certainly know of even more coming out of, if we still call it Silicon Valley, Ben, but I certainly know there’s companies all over the world knocking on my door saying, “Look we’ve got this product.  It’s 49,000 accelerometers in it, it can track everything is on here, it sits in the bedroom, it’s got particle alert, it’s go light alert, it’s got this alert,” everything that that’s going wrong in the bedroom, this thing will find it out.  But we need you to tell the people that when they’ve gathered all this data, what do they do?

Ben:  Yeah.  And it is interesting.  I checked out this Readiband over at fatiguescience.com and it looks like that they report from their research that it’s 93% accurate at measuring sleep compared to sleep lab testing, and it actually does.  I wasn’t aware of this band.  It looks like it just came out in the fall of 2015, but it looks interesting.  I’ll link to that in the show notes as well.  There is so much more that I would love to go over with you, and I could probably talk with you all day, Nick, but unfortunately we’re coming up against time.  So if you’re listening in right now, first of all, I have, as I usually do, been taking notes furiously.  I’ll put them all up for you over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/sleepcoach.  I’ll put up a link to everything from the black polyethylene sheeting we talked about, to the Rhinomed nasal dilator, the dawn simulator alarm clocks, everything that you need if you want to geek out and just load up on sleep hacks.

The other thing is that Nick’s website is sportsleepcoach.com.  That’s sportsleepcoach.com.  I’ll be talking with Nick more because I’m actually quite interested in one of these elite athletes sleep kits for me to travel with ’cause I travel all over the place for speaking and competing, and this sounds like it could be right up my alley.  And if you also are interested in that, Nick is going to hook us up with a discount code which is Ben10.  So if you go to sportsleepcoach.com and use code Ben10, you can get a 10% discount on some of his consulting, and products, and things like that over there, some of his sleep enhancing tools.  So Nick, thanks so much for coming on and sharing this stuff with us.

Nick:  It was very nice of you to have me and it was a pleasure to talk to you.  Sounds like you’re on top of your sleep habits.  That’s good.

Ben:  Awesome.  Yeah.  I geek out on it.  Alright.  Well folks, thanks for listening in.  And again, this is Ben Greenfield along with Nick Littlehales.  You can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/sleepcoach and start right in to getting your five 90 minute sleep cycles every single day.  So there you go.  Alright.  Well, have a healthy week.  And Nick, thank you so much.

 

 

Meet Nick Littlehales.

I first mentioned Nick back in podcast episode #326, in which I talked about a Guardian article entitled “The Man Who Showed Cristiano Ronaldo How To Sleep”. The article featured a sleep coach who works with elite athletes from around the globe using very advanced sleep hacking tactics, like customized mattress toppers, HEPA air filters fitted over hotel room vents, and advanced sleeping positions.

That coach is Nick, and he is my guest on today’s podcast.

Nick has over 30 years experience in the world of sleep, sleeping habits, and product design and over 15 years dedicated to elite athletes and professional sport.

A former professional golfer, International Sales & Marketing Director of the Slumberland Group and Chairman of the UK Sleep Council, Nick has conducted practical and clinical research projects into the varied sleeping habits adopted by the modern day sleeper and athlete. His unique, passionate, techniques, products and proven approach are endorsed by leading professionals in world sport and business.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Hidden sources of light in places like hotel rooms that can massively disrupt sleep…

-A hack to keep the air conditioner from drying out the air and inhibiting recovery while you sleep…

-The best way to use natural light to awake, even if you’re using black-out curtains and a sleep mask…

-Exactly how to determine your ideal sleeping position based on whether you are right or left hand dominant…

-Why Nick recommends strategies such as special filters placed over air-conditioning vents to remove allergens from the room and nasal strips to open airways and avoid mouth-breathing…

-The exact number of 90 minute sleep cycles you need to try to achieve each week…

-The best way to quantitatively measure your sleep using sleep monitoring systems…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

SportSleepCoach.com (Nick’s website), where you can use code BEN10 to get 10% discount on any Sleep Profile Consult 1.1 & Elite Recovery Consult, which are virtual tools available to anyone globally.

-Article: “Is Your Mattress Slowly Killing You.”

-Previous podcast with Joe Zelk: “A Hidden Sleep Killer That Flies Under The Radar (And What You Can Do About It)

-Article “The Ultimate Guide To Using Light To Biohack Your Circadian Rhythms, Sleep Better & Beat Jet Lag Forever.

Black polyethylene sheeting for windows

Sleep Master Sleep Mask

Portable travel humidifier

Dawn simulator alarm clock

Lightweight portable HEPA air filter

Breathe Right nasal strips

Rhinomed turbine nasal dilator

Readibands for measuring and quantifying sleep

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about these advanced sleep hacking tactics used by the world’s most elite athletes? Leave your thoughts below, and be sure to visit SportSleepCoach.com (Nick’s website), where you can use code BEN10 to get 10% discount on any Sleep Profile Consult 1.1 & Elite Recovery Consult, which are virtual sleep enhancing tools available to anyone globally.

 

 

 

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