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FDF #006: Fundamental 3 - Sleep Deep

Feb 12, 2023

All right, welcome to the next edition of The Fit Daddy Fundamentals Newsletter!

In this issue, the third in the Fit Daddy Fundamentals mini-series, we are going to talk about Fundamental number three, Sleep Deep.

Bottom line, if you're not sleeping enough or deep enough, then you're undoing any of the good things that you're working so hard at all day long.

You're undoing your Move Daily habits.

You're undoing your Eat Clean habits.

To realize and maximum the benefits of your good habits, you've got to sleep deep enough, for long enough.

The Bucket and the Energetic Barrier

Before kids, you had a full bucket of energy, right? And it probably felt like no matter what was going on, you could just go out and build a bunch of muscle, or lose a bunch of fat.

Your energetic barrier was very low. And it was especially low relative to your full bucket of energy.

Now, after kids, maybe you've got a little DadBod going on. Maybe you've got a gut. Maybe you've gained a bunch of fat. Whether it's a lot or a little, that energetic barrier is now much higher, right?

And one of the reasons it's so much harder could that you're not getting enough or deep enough sleep.

If it doesn't feel so easy to go out and build muscle and drop that fat, then it's very possible that it has to do with the quantity and quality of your sleep.

If you're not sleeping enough or deep enough, your energy bucket essentially has holes in it.

The energy you are generating by moving daily, the energy that you are generating by eating clean... if you're not sleeping properly...

It's like having a bucket that you're filling with energy, but there are holes all over in it, and your energy is just pouring out right out.

And so you're not going to have enough energy to get over that energetic barrier to your goals. To get through that energetic barrier to have the energy, the aesthetic, and most importantly the health that you want and need.

And sure, you're just going to feel tired, right?

Yep. You're probably already feeling this.

But the truth is: just feeling tired is the least of your worries when it comes to the quantity and the quality of your sleep.

Here's why your sleep matters more than just making you feel tired:

According to research done at the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, poor sleep leads to disease, including:

  • issues with BMI/weight

  • high blood pressure

  • poor immune function

  • anxiety

  • heart disease

  • diabetes

  • depression

  • lower life expectancy

  • mental distress

  • hypertension


Additionally, if you have poor sleep, you are going to affect the hormones that regulate your health. Your cortisol and insulin are going to go up (think high stress and diabetes), your leptin will go down (leptin suppresses appetite), and your ghrelin will rise (ghrelin makes you feel hungry).

So, you're going to be stressed out, diabetic, hungry, and... hungrier. These sound just like the perfect conditions for you to want to store fat and eat more, don't they?


Sleep Quality

Now, let's talk a bit about sleep quality.

Broadly speaking, there two major stages of sleep. There's NREM and REM. That's Non-REM and REM (REM is rapid eye movement).

NREM sleep stages are about 90 minutes (there are more details about the different sub stages in NREM, but that's beyond the scope of this issue).


After 90 minutes of NREM, then you go into REM sleep, which can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 90 minutes.

You repeat these stages through the night:

  • 90 minutes NREM, and then 10 minutes of REM

  • another 90 minutes of NREM, another 15 minutes of REM

  • And so on...

The real key part of all this is that deep sleep occurs during the NREM stage of your sleep.

And this is crucial: if any stage of your sleep is interrupted, your body has to restart all the way back at the beginning of that sleep stage.

So if you get 75 minutes into your Non-REM sleep, your deep sleep, and something wakes you up...

It could be a baby, it could be lights, it could be a sound, it could be temperature related...

Whatever it is, when it interrupts your NREM sleep, it completely undoes any of the benefits that you get upon completely that NREM sleep stage.

Darn, so what are those benefits?

It turns out they're really important. During this NREM stage, during your deep sleep your:

  • memories consolidate

  • learning and emotions are processed

  • physical recovery occurs

  • blood sugar levels and metabolism balance out

  • immune system is energized

  • brain detoxifies

And so when you interrupt those sleep cycles by not tending to your sleep health, none of the above are going to happen to the extent required for good health.

Your system will not be functioning properly at night, and that means your system will function properly during the day.

Everything you need to function at a basic level, let alone optimally, is being destroyed if you're not getting the proper quantity and quality of sleep.


What To Do About It? Bookend Your Days...

Ok, great, you know your sleep is garbage and that's why you feel how you feel... Now what?

You want to bookend your days to create the conditions for you to Sleep Deep.

One bookend in the morning and one bookend in the evening.

Morning Bookend

For your morning bookend, I highly recommend you commit to exercise for just five minutes. It can be longer (mine is), but it doesn't have to be some major, multi-hour, gym fest (note: there's nothing wrong with that).

Just five minutes.

Move your body a little bit, go for a walk, do the Daily Kickstarter. Choose something that works for you.

The second part of your morning bookend should be to get about 10 to 15 minutes of natural light.

We're not talking about midday, high-noon, cancer encouraging sunburn territory here. This is early morning natural light. Get 10 to 15 minutes, try to get it in your eyes, get it on your skin, right?

Evening Bookend

For your second bookend at night, there three key elements.

  1. No blue light: Blue light exposure increases your cortisol levels and is found in abundance in sunlight. When the sun comes up, it tells your body, "Hey, be awake!" Do you want to tell yourself to be awake at night? (Not if you want to Sleep Deep)

  2. No sugar, no caffeine, no heavy meals: you want your body to be winding down, calming down; stimulants and energy intensive processes are the exact opposite of that.

  3. Control bedroom conditions: your bedroom should be pitch black, quiet, and cool (63 to 68 degrees F).

Now, between those two bookends, you want to get plenty of natural light, plenty of water, and you want to expend energy.

You have to do things to make yourself tired!

If you're sitting at a desk or on a couch for 10, 12, or 16 hours a day, not moving, you're probably not gonna sleep very well (and sitting is the new smoking... and your kids need your attention.. I digress...).


Actions For Change

For our clients, there are some specific actions that we hold them accountable to in order help their new Sleep Deep habit stick. And right now, I'm going to help you do the same.

  • First, I want you to come up with a seven day bookend plan. Decide precisely what you're going to do in the morning and at night. Identify the biggest points of leverage. Choose simple actions that work for you, and that you're excited about. (Bonus Points: Email me, tag @FitDaddy365 on social media, and share your plan!)

  • Second, I want you to teach your kids what you just learned and what you're doing about it. After all, they're part of why you care about this, right?



That's it for Sleep Deep!

Make sure you're getting the quantity and the quality of sleep that you need to be healthy, happy, and live with energy you're capable of.


Your Coach,





P.S. Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:



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