Health & FitnessPodcast

How to Supercharge Your Sleep with Nick Littlehales, Sleep Coach to the World’s Best Athletes

“The best supplement you can do is change the way you approach sleep.”
— Nick Littlehales

Greetings, superfriends! In our previous episode with Dr. Kirk Parsley, we talked a lot about sleep and it’s absolutely pivotal role in performance. You guys were really good about sending us feedback, saying that you loved the topic, and asking that we give you even more practical tips on how to improve your sleep. In that episode, we learned a ton about WHY sleep was important and a lot less on HOW to actually improve it.

Well, today, we have a really exciting episode for you guys. That’s because we have managed to book the world’s most elite sleep coach, Nick Littlehales… the guy who taught Cristiano Ronaldo himself how to sleep more effectively. Nick travels all over the world with the most elite athletes, making sure that their sleep conditions are absolutely perfect. From choosing hotels to switching out bedding and even designing customized sleep regimens and the appropriate linens for individual athletes, he does it all.

In this episode, we’re going to dive deep – really deep – into how you can actually optimize your sleep from a practical perspective. We’re going to learn how to set up your sleep environment, when it’s best to sleep, which positions are healthier, how much is enough, how to troubleshoot sleep issues, and what factors make the biggest difference. Just to give you guys a fair bit of warning, it’s a rather a long interview, and we do take a little while to warm up and get into the groove of things. We spend probably about 25 or more minutes just talking about how to identify your sleep needs and the type of mattress and pillows…. So yeah, when I say we go deep, I really mean it. Stay the course and listen through to the end, though, because we cover a ton of ground in the second half of the episode, and there are a number of surprising takeaways and bits of homework that could dramatically impact the quality of your life.

If you enjoy this episode, please make sure to send us a tweet to @gosuperhuman and tell us what your favorite part was!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Nick’s story of changing his career as a result of a mid-life crisis
  • Nick’s story of rising to prominence as an elite sleep coach
  • Which fitness trackers or sleep tracking tools are actually effective, and why?
  • The simple procedure for properly choosing the appropriate mattress, pillow, and more
  • What is your “sleep profile?”
  • What is the correct and healthiest sleeping position for you?
  • Mouth breathing, neck pain, and more
  • Soft vs. hard mattresses, memory foam vs. springs, etc.
  • How much should you sleep, when, and in what routine?
  • Why it’s important to sleep in multiples of 90 minutes and wake up at the same time every day
  • Why 11pm and 6:30AM are important times for our bodies
  • Where does napping fit in, and should you be doing it? 
  • Curtains, letting in natural light in the morning, and dawn waking simulators
  • What temperature should you sleep in, and should you leave the AC on?
  • A clever trick to drop your body temperature before bed – and why
  • Another clever trick to make your bed more inviting
  • Thoughts on hydration, over hydration and drinking water before sleep
  • Should you eat before bed, and if so, what?
  • Are there any supplements you should take to sleep better?
  • How important is exercise for your sleep?
  • How do sex and/or sleeping with our partner affect our sleep and our performance?
  • Is your bed too small for you and your partner?
  • Why sleeping in a separate room might actually improve your relationship

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from GUEST:

“We’ve got the data, but we don’t know what to tell them… It’s just relating what’s going on back to pre-disposed data.”
“You’ve not got something in your system that tells you that you’re not sleeping well… what are you going to do with that information? Are you going to ignore it? Or are you going to do something with it?”
“We have, naturally, 3 periods every day. We just got rid of them (apart from Spain).”
“Sleeping is a lot about ticking boxes mentally. Mentally, if you want to drop down into those deep sleep stages… then you’ve got to be in a very secure state.”
“If you’ve got a gap, that’s because you bought a size 10, not a size 9!”
“I’m always developing things. But I’m not designing things just because I’m trying to attract people’s attention.”
“Everybody sort of knows, because it’s proven all the time: for a healthy adult, you need 8 hours in a sleep recovery state in any 24… but the fact is, I don’t meet anybody who does it.”
“The way I look at it is in cycles, not hours.”
“Your bed might be a lot warmer than mine. But as long as your body temperature is warmer than that, than at least you’ve got a process going on. Always think cooler, not cold.”

 

Jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan Levi is an experienced entrepreneur and angel investor from Silicon Valley.

After successfully selling his Inc 5,000 rated startup in April of 2011, Levi enlisted the help of speed-reading expert and university professor Anna Goldentouch, who tutored him in speed-reading, advanced memorization, and more. Levi saw incredible results while earning his MBA from INSEAD, and later went on to teach a best-selling online course on the subject. With this unique skill, he has become a proficient lifehacker, optimizing and "hacking" such processes as travel, sleep, language learning, and fitness.