There used to be a general consensus amongst the health gurus that the three pillars for health were exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
If you are like Bruce, you probably put them in the above order of preference, with sleep coming in a distant third.
Why sleep when you can bust out a few chins, have a drink with the boys and then wake up the next day for an early surf or training session and start it all again?
There is almost a badge of honour in Australia (and most of the western world I’m guessing) of running on minimal hours of sleep.
“Life’s short, ya can sleep when ya dead” is one of the many heroic terms you’ll hear thrown around, encouraging someone, somewhere, to seize the day, suck the marrow and generally do something they want you to do when you’re absolutely buggered and just want to hit the sack.
So anyway, back to my point. Scientific evidence is filtering out in the medical field about just how important sleep actually is. So important that this pillar is being promoted, no longer sharing the managing directors role with nutrition and exercise but is now the CEO and the precursor of all human health.
According to Matt Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, sleep can save you from dementia, cancer, mental health issues and depression, ADHD, learning and cognitive disabilities, diabetes… just to name a few.
He is an interesting man to listen to. And the data is overwhelming.
Walker explains that 10,000 years of human evolution has brought us to the sweet spot of around 8 hours sleep a night to provide us with rejuvenation, mental clarity and energy to take on the new day.
Alarmingly though, he also explains that over the course of the last 100 years, we have slowly taken 20% off that number, so as a population, we now average under 6 hours of good quality sleep. And the results are proving devastating for the health of the world’s population.
So much so, that it’s one of the main reasons cited that even though we are living longer than any time in history, we are also the unhealthiest we have ever been.
If you want to learn the positives of a good nights sleep (and the negatives if you consistently don’t get enough), you can find amazing statistics and evidence in his book; Why we sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.
In this day and age of short attentions spans - probably caused due to lack of sleep and of course those distraction devices in your hand (spoiler alert: they are one of the causes!), I’m not going to cover it all in this wee blog (for a great condensed summary listen to Matt Walker on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast) but for the men reading this blog, all you’ll need to digest is the next stat and I’m sure you’ll start to realise the importance of a great nights slumber.
If you only get an average of 5-6 hours sleep a night, over time your testosterone levels will drop to a level of someone 10 years your senior. So in affect, you’ll age by a decade.
It’s a wild stat. Testosterone is already being affected by plastics in the food chain, junk food, alcohol, and hormones in the water supply to name a few. The last thing the world needs is men with less T. There’s way too many fruity half men not taking advantage of their Y chromosome for this to be happening, so do your gender a favour and start sleeping more. Bruce certainly is....
Catch ya soon,