How To Sit & Sleep Better


Maintain Your Body for Long Lasting Health & Mobility


Lesson Info

How To Sit & Sleep Better

Questions from the studio audience from Kelly. Go for it, right back there. We gotta get him a mic. Oh, look at that, he's got one. Did you come in with your own mic? That was amazing. (audience laughing) I planned ahead. I want to go back to something you said about the correct position when you are able to teach someone, like their daily life pedestrian type positions. Holding their kid, holding their camera. Working as a coach, sometimes I can coach them into a much better position but they have the reaction that you mentioned which is, "This is way harder." So I was wondering about how you sort of communicate to someone about how to spend those six, eight, 10 hours when they are doing their craft, that yeah, we're not asking you to be in this strict, strong position that requires a ton of work. You are a whip, be a whip. Yeah, and be efficient about that. So I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit toward that. Well, one of the things that I think is crucial, is ...

can we reset? When the Buddha was talking about cultivating awareness and we talk about that, do you think it was about just monkey brain or do you think it was monkey body? I think I just coined that, monkey body. I don't think I've ever come up with that before, right? But I think the concept here is, why don't you bring awareness to how you're standing? One of the first things we teach in yoga is called tadasana, right? Which is standing posture. Which is standing meditation. Feet need to be straight forward, big toes on the ground, my weight is balanced through there, I'm screwing my feet into the ground a little bit, I organize my shoulders, and now I've just reset myself. Rib cage is down, abs on a little bit, butts on a little bit, very simple. We talked a lot about this on Creative Live. We talked about how to treat some of the abs and the gut, and the psoas with our friend Joel Miller on the Creative Live piece. That was a super awesome segment. But the key here is that, wow, if I'm bent over, one of things I can do is that when I finish I can reset for myself for a second. I literally do that, and it has completely changed my game. I find myself doing this 'cause I did it for 10 years. And that's the position you need to be in. Right? And then when I'm not, I'm like, "Okay, great." Even just standing here on this show you've probably, if you ever, for a second, take your eyes off this hunk of man and looked at me for a second, I'm constantly trying to reorganize because the awareness of how we're standing is the only way that I can get through the day. It takes about seven to nine months, we think, to turn over all the fascia in your body. Takes a while. All the connective tissue starts to cycle through itself, and it takes about a year, year in a half, to turn over your whole skeleton. And so you can look different. And so bringing this awareness in posture, when we work and do before and after photos, in structural integration, what we see is radical changes at six months, radical changes at 12 months, and at 18 months, you look like a different human. In fact, you even look like a different human on radiograph, on x-ray. Because your structures have actually changed, your bones start to reform, the pattern changes. It's more markable. We have one of our athletes who just came in. And she's a superstar. She's like, "I got an inch taller this last year." And I'm like, "That's weird. "You're a 45 year old woman." And I don't know how that happened. And she's like, "Yeah, how'd it happen?" I was like, "I don't know, how'd it happen?" An inch taller, how does that possibly happen? So, I think the key is, it's a practice, bring awareness. You're gonna hold your kids and be in a bad position. But if you can optimize that position, do so. And then when you feel yourself drift out, come back. When you start to put that awareness into it, it really is life changing. I guess there's this other thing that's going on in my mind. Which is, when I'm doing these little things on a ongoing basis, it's not like I have this whole mind shift. Like I gotta go to the gym, I gotta do the thing. It's like, throughout the day, even when I'm, if I'm on set or if I'm hosting an executive meeting here, if I'm standing, I can feel like I'm doing work while I'm living, as opposed to having to have to compartmentalize. There's this work over here that happens and then there's the stuff that I do everyday. There's a couple of other things that we should talk about before we run out of time on this segment. And that first is, you gotta be drinking some water. And you gotta absorb the water you're drinking. So, drinking mineral water, great! But you cannot just bolus your kidneys. If you pee clear. Who likes to pee clear? You're all like, "Yeah, high five." That's actually a problem. And what that means is you've either poisoned yourself, and your body's dumping all the water to unpoison yourself, or you've just put so much water into your kidneys that your body's like, "Whatever, shut it out." Your pee should be yellow. Has anyone ever heard that before? Isn't that weird? If your pee's not yellow, that's actually a problem. What we're seeing is that people are trying to do the right thing, drinking a bottle of water, but they're not actually absorbing the water they are drinking. People are drinking freakish amounts of water. Women, baseline is about 2 liters a day. And men, maybe big men, 3 liters. But the issue is that you need to drink around your food. And as people have eaten cleaner and cleaner, they're not eating any electrolytes, they pulled the salts out of their diet, and they're not absorbing water. A pinch of sea salt, a pinch of good old sodium chloride, or Himalayan salt, 'cause we're yuppies. (audience laughs) It will allow you to absorb the water you're drinking. It makes a huge difference. Nuun tabs, All Day Hydration. There's a whole bunch of products out there that make a big difference. Absorbing water will actually allow your body to handle these positions. But as soon as you fly and you get a little dehydrated and you get sucked into meetings and you just worked all day and you sweat your balls off, you're not gonna realize how dehydrated you are. We know that affects function, it affects brain clarity, drive, emotion, the whole thing, the whole system wilts. A little bit of water can make a big difference. So do that. I used to think that living the rock star, like Jim Morrison lifestyle in your 20's, that's how you got really creative. And I've actually done it completely 180, which is by getting a ton of sleep, meditating, and being at your best, that my personal brain functions a lot better. Literally I feel smarter and my creative ideas come more readily and it's been a huge game changer. A few years ago, when you were a child, we didn't know any better. And now we do know better. And now the internet and pieces like Creative Live has made the information so available that if we don't act on this, and don't believe us, see for yourself. See how this goes for yourself. Drink some water. And the other big thing that we talked about, tied back into the kid, is that if you just mitigate some of these noxious positions. Go to Ikea, get yourself a crappy five dollar table and put it on your counter. And now you have a standing desk. And if you've ever gonna drink. There are these places called bars. Have you ever gone there? I know you have Durie. I've heard of it. She's from Boston. You're not better than me. And all you need to do is put your foot up on the bar. You were kidding about the Captain Morgan pose but what is the Captain Morgan pose about? What bartenders figured out a long time ago is that if I put my foot up on something, it took the extension load out of my back and then I could stand. It looks a lot like tree pose in yoga, doesn't it? And what happens then is this allows me to stand without load on my spine, foot goes up and now I've mitigated so much of like, "Oh I'm standing, my back is killing me, I'm fidgeting." No problem. So automatically you've taken so much of the problem out of it. If you're gonna bend over for your work, 'cause that's what you have to do, don't spend the rest of your time at work bent over. Get into a better position. Those are those block positions. We started looking at the sitting time in our athletes at colleges. Kids were sitting 12 to 14-- This is a great segment. I travel a lot, I sit, my sleeps off. Everyone in the audience is sitting right now. That's right. Okay so lets change it. They were sitting 12 to 14 hours a day, these Division 1 players, like you. In the class, and playing Xbox, Nintendo, whatever you play. Back in the Atari 64. (audience laughs) Hey, I'm not old. The key here is that when we start just popping up, and changing that, lets mitigate the amount of sitting. You're gonna be forced to sit, so you can do the best you can. And you can undo the flight by rolling and having moving practice. But the rest of it, the sort of non-forced sitting, get rid of it. You don't need to sit all the time. Stand up and eat breakfast, stand up and write your emails. I have a standing desk here, I've switched to walking meetings. It's amazing. Anytime if I don't need a chalk board or a white board or some sort of computer, I will grab an executive or peer here. We'll just go for a walk and talk. And we don't have to walk far, we just walk outside. There's a great park right here and walk around there and in 20 minutes, not only have we got everything accomplished that we need to, but I'm actually. You moved. I feel. Yeah, I moved. You're not sedentary. Yeah, I feel sharper. Juliet, when she has a serious meeting on the phone, she walks around, she paces. And I'm like, "Oh, Juliet is in the heat "because she's pacing like a tigress," right? And she does not say, "This is really important, "Mr. Barack Obama, let me sit down." And what's happened is that we started to see and notice that, wow, look online calculator, Juliet stands during work, she burns an extra 50 to 100,000 calories a year. That's 33 marathons. So, you can run 33 marathons or you can just stand. And I'm telling you this is a fast track to just getting an additional load. You have to have the load. The physiologic errors are a disaster. Now this is the key piece I wanna tie back in is that started saying, hey, we're standing, our athletes are standing, our military is standing. You know who's not standing? Our kids. And this year, Juliet and I started a nonprofit called Standup Kids, and we just adopted our child's fourth grade class as a stand up classroom. And all kids stand all day long. 14-15 minutes, they move around, they can sit on these wobbly stools, they sit on the floor. But we've just taken that out. And guess what happens, already my kid is leaning out even more, she's more active, her shoulders positioned, she's blocked, when they're on their tablets, no one slouches over. And here's the best part, they have this thing called the fidget bar, we call it a fidget bar. It's a bar at the bottom, and the bar swings. And all day long, the kids are like, "Yeah!" Like nervous little crack addicts swinging the. (audience laughs) Maybe the skinner bar is better, right? Like rats caught in a cage, on the skinner bar, hitting the skinner bar. You know what I'm talking about, TJ. So what's great is, Georgia, yesterday, came home and she's like, "Dad, our classes went "to science in another room and we all sat down "and everyone started to go to sleep." And all the kids were like, "I'm so sleepy." And the teachers like, "What's wrong with you?" And the kids are like, "We just sat down!" These are fourth graders who are figuring it out. They all love it. That's as simple as it is. We want simple hacks that you can change in your life. Sleep in a dark room, it's gotta be pitch black. Make it cold, no iPhone in the room. How dare you have your technology in the room? It makes a disaster. Dave Asprey takes little pieces of tape and puts it over on every light object in the room. It should be pitch black. Drink some water, start rolling, life changes. That is phenomenal. Questions? Yeah, we need to get a mic. And we're also, when you're done with your question, we're gonna go to the internet. 'Cause I know that some folks, I think I hear New York calling, or something like that. So, I love all of these little hacks and like as simple as possible to make it as easy possible to rehab or to improve performance. I run a company and I train ballet like 20 hours a week. My sister's got a two year old and she's a full time professor in LA. How do you manage sleep? 'Cause that seems like, I'd love to get nine hours every night but then I either work less or I turn my computer off at 6:00 p.m. but I still get to bed at 11 and get up at six. So how to manage sleep as a tiny hack? We manage sleep as a tiny hack is this, try to hit seven as a baseline. If you're doing seven, that's not nine, but it's not five, it's not four, right? And then we really look at the quality of your sleep. Because if you sleep nine hours and it's crappy, it's crappy, right? So, are you falling asleep and blacking out. Are you doing the best you can? You need to have time with your partner at some point. You work all day and you need to be with your loved ones. And that usually happens between eight and 11? Really focusing on the quality of your sleep is everything. And then on the weekends, can you nap? Can you do a little microboost. I know you're probably a master of the 10 minute nap. Yeah, 20. 20 minute nap. I can take, Juliet laughs but I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime for 10 minutes. If you ask me to fall asleep right here, it'd be like a skit, I could do it. (audience laughs) It's awkward but what's happened though, the key is to one, focus on the quality of your sleep. That you're not having caffeine after midday, really the sleep is dense. There are ways to track that if you wanna do it. Number two, you have to be a little squeakier in your nutrition. So that means you have less error. So one of my friends, I got a blood test when I was traveling a lot and not sleeping a lot. So my blood chemistry started to go wacky. I email one of my friends at Harvard and he was like, "You know what Kelly, you can't eat cookies "or drink red wine when you travel." And I was like, "No! This is BS. "The science lies. "How dare you sir?" And turns out, I don't drink, I try not to drink when I travel. Mitigate that. And I know that's tough sometimes, because wine is a cultural thing, or have a glass, right? And then I really pulled out all the desserts. And I love desserts. So I think you gotta tighten up some of those other things. Am I drinking enough, do I have a moving practice? Am I taking care of my tissues? And then I can go for it. And you can stretch it. You have to at some point. The sleeping part, all that stuff actually falls in, you do those things and I sleep infinitely better. I have one glass of wine or zero glasses of wine, my night sleep is infinitely better. Oh, yeah! There was long time where. We laugh because I'm a fast caffeine metabolizer, I found out. I burn it up. So, I'd have a cup of coffee before I went to bed. Like for dinner I'd be like, "Some coffee. "Anyone want some coffee?" Juliet's like, "You're crazy." And I would fall asleep. And then I would wake up. 'Cause I was caffeinated, right? And I noticed and have one, self awareness, as I grew up and became a man from a child, I did notice I should not drink coffee at seven o'clock at night. So I think the problem is, you should be getting sleepy at night. We advocate for a bit blood testing. There are places out there we can really see what's going on. You're doing a good job with nutrition. And then do the best you can. That's what we want you to do. It's not a doomsday message. Optimize. People mess around on the TV. There should be no TV in your bedroom. Get off the TV, put down the Facebook, right? And you probably can sneak in an extra 20 minutes here or there. That makes a difference. That's great. Great question. And I'd love to go to the internet 'cause I heard something coming in from New York and maybe, I think something from London. But lets hear it. This one comes in from NVAndrel and they say, "Is there an optimal sleep posture "to avoid stiffness in the morning?" Yes. Well, if you're a man, sometimes there's stiffness in the morning. (audience laughs) And the reason I throw that in there is it's actually a good sign of hormonal health for men. Is that if you don't wake up-- Am I really standing next to you talking about this? (audience laughs) Something's wrong with you. I mean literally, you're seeing is that, hormonally, you're not doing well. And you can see the quality of your sleep. It's really simple. Here's your best position, right? I need to sleep and it should look like that. So how many pillows do I need? Enough pillow to support this. If I lay down and my neck goes like this, how many pillows do I need to support this neutral spine? And suddenly it becomes very simple. Sleeping on your stomach is just toxic. Because, how are you gonna breathe? You're gonna close your neck down and overextend, and you're gonna lean on those joints. I had a woman, as a young physical therapy student, who had migraines for 15 years, every surgery, doctor. And I was like, "Hey, I know I'm just a student, "but do you sleep on your stomach?" And she's like, "Yeah." And I was like, "Just do me a favor, just don't for a week." And she came back and she's like, "What the hell? "It was that simple?" And I was like, "I see my career is gonna blossom." And I think the key is maintain a good position. One of the things we do see is that most of use are extension sensitive. Which means cause we're sitting and we're standing, and we're doing all these things. We're not factory workers herniating discs. We're on the other side of the equation now. And what we do have found is that we're making mattress recommendations typically that were based on the old factory worker guy, like my dad. And he needed to sleep in extension 'cause he had five herniated discs. And instead, most of us need to sleep on a little bit softer bed or like a hammock because it gets us out of extension and restores those motions. The main thing is, your mattress, you should wake up feeling awesome. And you should have enough pillow to support the neck and you shouldn't sleep on your stomach. Those are our typical guidelines. And it should be cold, cold in your room. That is huge. Many of us have the same sort of, we find ourselves in the same sort of terrible positions. If you're holding a camera for a living, something heavy, a baby, you're at a desk a lot, you're clicking on your mouse, shoulders forward, working on a computer. We all have a lot of simple problems that I'm hearing from you, They're simple. They are, I'm hearing from you that we can, just by addressing them for just 15 minutes a day, going to the pain area. Explicitly, what I'm suggesting is you check out Kelly's class called Maintaining Your Body on Creative Live. That's gonna get you going in the right direction. We also talked about sort of travel and sleep, and also it's the sitting stuff. I know we've got a couple more questions, we got time for maybe one more before we take a break and come back in the next segment and talk about running. Which is something that I'm dying-- And we've been talking about running the whole time. Good to know. Because the reason you're getting injured running is you're making errors on the side. Good. This is good to know. So one more question before we go to break. So, I'm a French horn player and we sit in the symphony. And all of us need to have better breathing when we're sitting. But I'm especially interested in how we can get our diaphragm working in these blocked or suboptimal positions. Sure! So, first is that none of you sit in the back of the chair when you play, do you? Where do you sit? Some of us do, but yeah I try and-- You sit on the front of the chair? Yeah, I try. Yeah, so sitting on the front of the chair allows you to not be blocked in that position, which means is that you've automatically started hacking. The other thing is, the diaphragm is just a muscle like any other diaphragm and you can take a softball, or a kid's kick ball, and you can roll around in your diaphragm. That sounds pleasant. And guess what? It is shocking. We see abject stiffness. I mean, look at the dancer posture, right? And this is poor functioning. This is over-extended, the diaphragm doesn't, you know. The dancers and the gymnasts are the best at this kinda diaphragmatic control and breath. But this is a system like any other system. When we look at some of those breathing, especially the horn players, your neck inflates like a gecko thing. And you get short here, short. And those are just muscular systems. Check out our piece on Creative Live. We also have a website called MobilityWOD. Maybe 600 free videos there about how to treat yourself. We've written a book called Becoming a Supple Leopard. We have a pro content, but starting, we've seen a lot, we've talked a lot about the diaphragm. It's a hidden gem of mobilizing. If my life depended on breathing, like everyone's, but it was professionally, I was an Olympic rower or a horn player, same, I would absolutely be spending five minutes a night working just more on the diaphragm. And we do that in front of the TV. We watched the other night, Last Lovers Left Alive, the vampire movie, right? And we were like, "These vampires are awesome." I can't tell how awesome they are because this is so ugly as I roll on my diaphragm. And it's really simple to just get a soft ball and start working on that. Miraculous change. And the problem is we haven't gone out of our sphere of influence. These problems have been solved for us already. Just because you're a creative, brilliant person or you sit for a living or you use your brain, doesn't mean you can't improve it. That's the huge take away for me in becoming friends with you a couple years ago that you can start today. You have to. Yeah, you have to.

Class Description

In this ultimate guide to resolving pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance. Mobility expert and SF Crossfit founder Kelly Starrett has taught tens of thousands of people, from elite athletes to weekend warriors, how to improve their movement and positioning to fix inefficiencies and avoid injuries. Kelly offers a healthy “how-to” blueprint for moving about in our hectic everyday lives. How do you fix your position while sitting at your desk at work for hours on end? How can you lift your kids without hurting your back? What’s the best way to run to avoid long-term injury? Kelly will give you all the tools you need to perfect your movement and ensure long-lasting health and mobility, unlocking reservoirs of athletic capacity you didn’t even know you had.