A couple of months ago, I was in Stamford, CT for a conference. The first morning there, just before my first session I went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.
I got to the hostess about the same time as another guy. I knew who he was, but I wasn’t sure if he knew me. Still being half awake and somewhat shy, I didn’t introduce myself. We waited at the front of the almost empty restaurant for almost 5-minutes and were both visibly annoyed that we were ignored by the hostess.
While we were waiting, Vince Delmonte came down, who just happened to be a common friend (I think Vince knows everybody). He introduced us and we’ve been emailing each other every week ever since.
Mike just happens to be one of the top nutrition experts in the world and runs a very successful nutrition program over at NakedNutritionNetwork.com.
Mike is also one of the busiest dads that I have met.
Back in September when we first started talking, he was in the middle of studying for/writing his comprehensive exams for his PhD, working on his latest fat loss project called Warp-Speed Fat Loss (a collaboration w/fat loss expert Alwyn Cosgrove) and trying to be an exemplary parent (along with his wife Emily) to (then) 6-month-old twins.
Mike sent me this email that I thought you busy dads out there would appreciate…
Hey Chris. Glad you emailed me. There aren’t a lot of guys like us – family man, fitness, blogging – we should stay in touch.
You would appreciate this… Classic ‘dad’ night last night – driving the kids around town at 1:30am to get them to stop screaming and sleep. Emily and I rate nights by what late night talk show host we will see before going to bed…
Jay Leno – great night (kids asleep before 12:30am)
Conan – average night (kids asleep by 1:30am)
Carson Daily – bad night (too late to remember)
Hope you’re well, Mike
I’m not sure if you guys are anything like me, but I’ve always been hung up on how much sleep I get (or don’t get these days). In fact, based on my 10-years of fatherhood, I’ve got a pretty reliable rating system as well…
#1 Rating – Bath & bed time story =
7-8hrs of sleep…A GREAT NIGHT!
#2 Rating – Bath & bed time story followed by a tantrum =
5-6hrs of sleep…BREAKFAST PREP WILL BE RUSHED, BUT CAN STILL GET DONE IF I DON’T SHOWER.
#3 Rating – Bath & bed time story followed by a tantrum, pee in the bed & late night laundry session washing soiled sheets =
4-5hrs…NO SHOWER, NO TIME TO PREPARE BREAKFAST FOR MYSELF THE NEXT MORNING, BUT I’LL STILL MAKE IT TO WORK.
#4 Rating – Bath & bed time story, tantrum, late night pee in the bed and/or puke followed by another bath and a late night laundry session washing soiled sheets =
ZERO hrs of sleep…DON’T EVEN BOTHER GOING TO BED BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO GET UP IN AN HOUR ANYWAY!
On a “normal” night (whatever that is), here are the 4 things that I try to do to make sure I get a great night’s sleep NATURALLY…
1. Stop the coffee by 3pm. If I’m drinking espresso, I make sure that the last one I have is at 3pm. The 1/2-life of caffeine is about 3-4 hours in a healthy adult, so by having my last espresso at 3pm, I can ensure that most of the caffeine I consumed during the day is gone by around 9ish. That’s just in time to…
2. Try to get to bed by 10pm. Your body wants to follow nature and the best possible sleep means that you’re following sleep-wake cycles similar to that of the sun (darkness-daylight). If you’re already going to bed too late, try to get up a little earlier each day, forcing you to hit the sack earlier, until your body adjusts.
3. Have your dinner earlier (or no later than 6/6:30pm). A lot of people use this trick for weight-loss, which I believe works, and it helps you with sleep quality because you’ll make sure that your body’s digestive processes are somewhat calm by the time bedtime rolls around (meaning that your heart won’t be working as hard to feed all the muscles involved with digestion).
4. Calm your mind by using meditation or some form of relaxation. I just started using this technique and it’s really worked out well. I’m the type who’s always thinking…about what I need to do tomorrow, about ideas for my business, about whether or not my 3-year-old went to the bathroom prior to bed so I don’t have a #3 or #4 kind of night. After reading the book “A New Earth”, I learned that by just focusing on my breathing for 5-minutes, my mind stops racing and I’m able to really calm myself and relax right into a great sleep.
P.S. Getting up at 5am after a great night’s sleep has been part of my morning routine for almost 10 years now. It enables me to get a lot done while my wife and kids (and the whole world pretty much) are still in bed. It also allows me to get my metabolism revved up with quick intense workouts that really take no time at all!