In this guest post, Markus Dell, a retired Navy Seal, provides 6 practical tips on how to scientifically adjust your brain’s circadian clock to require less sleep, feel more energized, and get more things done in your day.
As a Navy Seal, we were taught that our circadian rhythms can be psychologically and physically adjusted to require much less sleep. On earth, our bodies have evolved to adjust to a 24-hour solar clock — but if we lived on Jupiter, we would only need about 2 hours of sleep per day (due to a 9.84 hour solar clock). This equates to about 4.2 hours of sleep for every 24-hour period.
Large prey mammals (e.g. cows, giraffes, elephants, donkeys) have already adjusted to this 2 to 4 hour sleep cycle because they know that sleep is an evolutionary disadvantage to them (Allison & Cicchetti, 1976), which is why some cattle appear to never sleep at all (Balch, 1955). Thankfully, there have been some huge leaps in human evolution for people like Thai Ngoc and Al Herpin who proved that sleep is not required — and always complete everything on their daily task lists.
Through my Navy Seal training and research in prey animal sleep behavior, I’d like to share 6 key ways to train your brain and body to sleep less to help you stay more productive at work, home, or at school:
1. Snack on acacia leaves.
Giraffe’s only require 2 to 4 hours of sleep per day, and have learned that chewing on acacia leaves all day and night provides the energy they need to keep them alert. The constant eating and rumination keeps them awake. Next time you’re feeling tired, put down your Red Bull, and chew on some Acacia leaves. If you are unable to find the leaves near you, you can buy vitamin supplements.
2. Be determined to stay awake.
The need for sleep is 85% mental, and staying awake simply requires determination. Like a hungry rat will bite through drywall to get to a helpless baby, you need to stay just as determined to stay awake. Burn yourself with a cigarette. Poke your eyelids with toothpicks. Peel off your toenails. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself alert.
3. Sleep during blinks.
The average person blinks about 17,000 times a day. And what better time to get “shut eye” than during a blink. If you are motionless and blinking, you’re essentially asleep. I trained myself to sleep in each blink so that I don’t need to sleep, and you can do the same with practice.
4. Stretch your neck.
As we discussed, Giraffe’s sleep less than 4 hours a day, which is 2 hours longer than a Navy Seal (but not bad for an untrained animal). Giraffe’s know that stretching your neck is a way of forcing the body to stay awake to survive. In fact, many cultures have used this neck-stretching technique with rings to help them stay awake, too. My chiropractor recently informed me that through continued neck-stretching adjustments with him, I will reach my goal of not requiring any sleep at all.
5. Drink 10 gallons of ice water per day.
Giraffe’s consume about 10 gallons of water per day, which helps keep their bodies stay awake by constantly digesting. Drinking ice water not only helps you stay awake, but will help you lose weight since your body will burn 70 calories to warm 8 ounces of ice water.
6. Live in fear of death.
Prey animals have trained themselves to stay awake because they equate sleep with death. Giraffe’s only sleep for a minute or two at any given time because a giraffe’s sleep posture essentially tells predators to “bite my neck and eat me.” You need to instill the fear of death in your mind to help you escape the desire to sleep.
By following these 6 strategies, you will eventually train your body to require less sleep so you can stay more productive and get more things done in your day.