Sleep and How It Improves Both Your Motivation and Mood

Posted on June 15, 2017 in Happiness, Health, Lifestyle, Sustainability

I’ve been speaking to guys recently who have lost motivation with their work projects, goals and have lost their hunger for life in general.

“Why do I not want to go to the gym anymore?”

“Why do I struggle to get out of bed every morning?”

Of course, I don’t always have the answers, and it’s unrealistic to expect to be motivated 100% of the time or happy 100% of the time. However, I do know there are strategies you can implement, and habits you can build that will raise your average baseline of motivation, and also raise your mood baseline.

What I mean by this, is that motivation comes and goes. However, you don’t have to be the guy who is never motivated. You can be more like me – motivated most of the time. I still have “off” days, but these are the rarity as opposed to the norm.

So what are the best strategies to improve your motivation and mood?

There are many, but the basic fundamentals are;

  1. Food & water optimisation
  2. Exercising (hard) at least three times per week
  3. Sleep optimisation

Everyone knows about the first two, but less emphasis is given to sleep.

Sleep
Sleep like a baby. Literally. https://www.flickr.com/photos/fimbrethil/3853118257/in/

Sleep Like A Baby

There is definitely a “hustle” trend manifesting online, and whilst hard work is important, the “hustle” life advocated tends to be unsustainable – leading to very stressed out guys with poor interpersonal relationships and generally being unhappy people.

Now, although it’s never actually verbalised, there is at least a very strong implication that sleep isn’t important, and that you need to work 20 hours per day.

This applies specifically to fitness too:

“Rest days? Don’t be a pussy.” Or something similar.

You need to recover.

The “hustle” lifestyle is fantastic for a couple of years if you’re a young man, with zero liabilities, and genuinely doesn’t care too much about his social life, family life or woman life, and is genuinely happy to lose all of his strength and muscle. All he cares about is increasing his income. Nothing else.

For most of us, this doesn’t apply. The “hustle” lifestyle and the consequential chronic elevation of cortisol is terrible for your health and your gains. 

It’s best to think of sleep as an investment. You’re investing into future productivity and progression. Without hitting your sleep requirements, your productivity in the future will be lower, and the quality of that production will also suffer. Your mood will suffer. Your motivation will fall.

Hitting your sleep requirements will also help you to recover from the gym. Your muscles and strength will increase faster. Hunger hormones are better regulated – crucial for staying lean.

You look better facially. Your eyes don’t look as tired – they look vibrant and alive. You simply feel better – your mood is enhanced by getting at least 7 hours, preferably 8 hours of sleep.

Progression with any goal (fitness or otherwise), requires you to enjoy the process at least most of the time. Getting enough sleep increases the chances of this. Couple this with a relaxed, freedom-based approach to dieting and exercise (whilst still doing whatever necessary to gain muscle or lose fat) and you’re very, very likely to enjoy the process and achieve your dream physique.

AND ACTUALLY MAINTAIN IT.

Very few people are capable of successful maintenance. It’s one extreme to the other in most cases, and therefore, sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy. Not good enough.

How To Improve Your Sleep Patterns

The big two factors are:

  1. Sleep quantity
  2. Sleep quality (consistency)

Quantity is self-explanatory, and everyone is aware of the highly popularised eight hours per day recommendation. Most people will need 7-8. Some will need more.

This will depend on your genetics, your job/career, kids and other stressors, and how much exercise you’re performing.

High volume routines will absolutely increase your sleep requirements. So will kids. So will a job that requires you to be on your feet all day.

People often boast about how little sleep they need, but the reality is that they would be significantly more alert, productive and all-round happier if they met their legitimate needs.

Sleep quality, is a little less-known. Think of the effects of jet-lag.

Consistency is crucial, and anyone who has ever worked a job before on alternating shift patterns will know what I mean – it wreaks havoc on your recovery.

For most of you, consistency simply means going to bed at roughly the same time, and waking up at roughly the same time. No playing on the Xbox or watching films until 3AM. BAD.

Do you want to be motivated and successful or not? Do you want to get bigger and stronger or not?

Going to bed too late will almost always screw up the following day to some extent – the world operates on a 9-5 schedule regardless of what stupid activities you choose to do. Go to bed earlier. Get up earlier.

You will be happier, and more successful because of it.

  • Harry Davidson

    Yeah there is definitely a work-till-you’re-dead trend online. But what they don’t tell you, is that everytthing else gets sacrificed! The big thing for me with sleep is that it reduces my hunger, and as a big eater it’s really important!

    • Yes, quite often any hunger or lethargy experienced during a cut simply disappears after a good night’s sleep. It’s crucial!

      • Harry Davidson

        Sometimes I struggle to get to sleep after a busy day, it definitely affects my stress levels, and the ability to lose fat!

        • Anything to calm your mind down is your best bet. The key thing is to actively pursue this – don’t just expect it to happen on it’s own because it won’t.

          Reading and meditation are both great.