Sleep, Breathing & Energy

Energy in motion is the BEST energy
When people tell me they can’t sleep at night, the first thing I always ask is how active are you? Is your energy in motion, do you have a balance between rest and energy expenditure? Studies have found that regular exercise for prolonged periods can improve sleep quality and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness for people with insomnia, also improving mental health. our body is designed to be used as a unit. When you have endurance, you breathe better, you sleep better.

Science shows that enough sleep helps you enhance memory, creativity, mental health, and disease protection.

Sleep Cycles
When you sleep, you cycle between REM and non-REM sleep. You can have intense dreams during REM sleep since your brain is more active. REM is important because it stimulates the areas of the brain that help with learning and is associated with the increased production of proteins.

Understanding how your sleep cycles work is helpful for those who want to tap into their dreams, and have more lucid dreams. Lucid dreams can help you solve problems, talk to loved ones who have passed, practice a skill, and heal from mental and physical trauma. There are so many healing benefits.

Most of the time while you’re awake, your brain is in Beta frequencies.

Alpha brain waves are calm, relaxed when you’re awake and daydreaming, but more in a trance.

Your brain tends to produce Theta waves when you’re sleeping or dreaming as well as when you’re transitioning over from wake to sleep. Theta waves are also seen in deep stages of meditation.

Delta waves are associated with the deep sleep stages and REM.

Hypnagogia & Hypnopompia are great places to start experimenting with dreams. It is when you’re half-awake, falling asleep. Maybe you will start to see random dream flashes or get sudden muscle jerks. The weird stuff is normal here, and if you start to linger here you may find some mystical experiences. Check out the book called Liminal Dreaming, by Jennifer Dumpert.

Circadian rhythm & Sleep Hygiene
Your inner circadian clock is based on a system that resets every 24h based on the sun light/dark cycle. Having good sleep hygiene means setting your body up for a good night’s sleep that makes you feel restored. There are many habits you can develop that help you keep this energy balance. Such as going to bed and waking up around the same time every day.

Hydration: We get dehydrated as we sleep, so drink water or tea when you first wake up to promote blood flow and rehydrate. Also, I know it should be obvious but make sure to feed your brain as well! Reduce caffeine as much as possible, especially at night.

Exercise: You don’t have to be a 6 am run person to get enough stretching and physical exercise. A natural energy boost in the morning has shown to have better sleep at night and feel more alert during the day.

Short naps in the middle of the day are healthy for the circadian rhythm, even a 15-30 min nap break can restore your energy. During a nap, REM sleep problem-solving abilities kick in easily. A surprising amount of benefits shows that it’s better to take time to rest in the day, and you actually will be MORE productive than trying to work and push through trying to be productive. in preparation for ultramarathon events, runners considered sleep extension as the main sleep strategy to prepare for ultramarathons.

At night our body produces melatonin triggered by lack of light. This is why it’s good to avoid screentime (blue light) before bed or sleeping in a lit-up room. It will affect your melatonin production. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland, especially in response to darkness, and has been linked to the regulation of circadian rhythms. Your circadian clock uses light and dark signals to predict what to do in the future: when to prepare you to be active and when to prepare you to sleep.

It’s important not to use your bedroom for anything other than sleeping and sex. American Academy of Sleep Medicine explains that this is because you wire your brain to understand that this is a sacred space. We spend 1/3 of our life asleep, so it’s important the environment is conducive to that. If you’re on your bed watching TV, or scrolling through your phone, the blue light will interfere with your melatonin levels and mental state. Darkness is better for higher quality sleep.

Another sleep hygiene tip is regulate your temperature. An ideal sleep temp is 65 degrees Farenheit, or a cooler temperature than you may be used to. Although many people like to be sweating and warm while they sleep, it’s easier on your body to drop the thermostat by a few degrees can make a huge difference in sleep quality. Keep your room clean and tidy to promote a relaxing state of mind. Even making your bed in the morning can train your mind to be clear and motivated for the rest of the day. The bed is your temple, associate it with a positive & relaxing thing. It makes a difference.

Breathwork in running and sleep

Running is breathwork, you have to learn to breathe properly and strengthen your heart and lungs
Breathwork is many times used in spiritual practice which can allow you to move beyond your mind and body and help you connect to your inner self. Many people who practice breathwork experience spiritual awakenings and the ultimate state of mediation and relaxation. Our lungs produce the most DMT in our entire bodies, that’s why they call it the “runners high” because by taking care of our bodies in this way, we are unlocking deeper parts of ourselves resulting in this euphoric natural high feeling.

Fast-paced breathing creates a hyperventilation state that shifts the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body. It is thought that the reduced oxygen levels may induce states of altered consciousness.Thus breathwork was created to raise our consciousness & reach incredible breakthroughs and euphoria without ingesting anything at all. Its been a part of many traditions all over the world for centuries. Our own lungs and spinal fluid produce DMT.

Why would we have an extremely strong psychedelic substance being produced in our brains? Why does the human body and brain make DMT? No one really knows for sure, but it must have a function or more likely multiple functions. after psychedelic became illegal, people couldn’t really experiment on the pineal gland and DMT, so the information wasn’t really accessible until recent scientific revelations. DMT naturally occurs in many plants, animals, and in humans. It’s endogenous, meaning it’s made within the human body. So it’s more than just a natural plant psychedelic – it’s in us.

No discussion about the power of breath is complete without including Wim Hof. The Wim Hof Breathing Method includes a combination of specific breathing practices, cold therapy, and a commitment to activities that challenge comfort zones to overcome fears and limitations and unleash inner power. Benefits of his method include increased energy, heightened focus, increased willpower, enhanced sleep, and improved immune function. Mind-blowing studies conducted on Wim Hof and his method have documented his ability to voluntarily influence his sympathetic nervous system and immune system through breath and mind control alone.

Practicing while lucid
So many studies have shown athletes and sports groups who experiment with training or practicing a skill in their lucid dreams. When you are consciously practicing in your sleep, your brain doesn’t know the difference between training in real life and in your dreams. Your brain actually created the same neural pathways and muscle memories of having practiced in waking life. I read a study about a snow skiing team, as well as a gymnast, who used their lucid dreams to practice scary stunts. Visualising the stunt helped release the fear and prepare the body for the stunt. Lucid dream practice is like the power of visualization on steroids because you are feeling the motions as vividly as if you are doing it in real life. Your brain will carry over the practice and you will improve at the skill in real life. The dream space tends to release the fear of failure, kind of like a practice mode since the athletes knew they were dreaming and could perform the stunts with more confidence and no limiting beliefs. Much of success in athleticism is mental, and this is evident through dreamwork.

Runners & Sleep
As an athlete, how much sleep you need exactly varies from person to person, as does the perfect sleep routine. An average of 7-8 seems to be a sweet spot to get the most out of your day. If you run many miles a day, you probably need more sleep than someone who doesn’t run. Listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. You’re likely short on Z’s if you fall asleep the second your head hits the pillow, you find yourself dozing off during meetings or at the movies, you rely on caffeine to get through the day, or you hit the snooze button more than once. “If your body is literally going back to sleep immediately after being asleep all night long, you are probably not getting enough sleep. if you’ve slept fewer than about six hours, you might benefit more from staying in bed an hour longer than from forcing yourself to stumble out on a run on lack of sleep which impairs cognitive function and reaction times, which could put you at risk of a collision if you’re crossing busy streets or running on a crowded path.

When it comes to sleeping more OR working out more I don’t have time is a bad excuse, you make time. Show me your screentime. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You don’t have to stop running—remember, runners tend to sleep better—just consider whether you should scale back expectations, or run for stress relief rather than trying to stick to an aggressive plan.