How to Get the Best Sleep- Part 2

The Definitive Guide to Sleeping Longer and Deeper

In Part 1 of this article on sleep I outlined the latest stunning research which shows that sleep is more important than any other health protocol and impacts not just the body but cognitive performance and emotional wellbeing in a profound way. If you have not read Part 1, here is the link: Is Sleep the Fountain of Youth?

In an age where artificial intelligence and technology is taking over jobs, it is very clear that creativity, imagination, strategic thinking and the ability to connect with others will be the most prized qualities for any person on the planet. SLEEP is your super power in promoting all of these qualities.

In this Part 2 I will outline the scientifically proven factors that impact good quality sleep, as they relate to the four elements: duration, depth, continuity and regularity. Dysfunction in any one of these elements will compromise sleep. Knowing this will help you fix the cause. Later I will list some tips that induce sleep, but without fixing the root cause, those tips are useless.

It is very important to note at the outset that sleep is an innate quality. It will happen automatically with the protocols I am about to share. So, this article will focus on returning you to your natural rhythm, where you will find sleep to be effortless. I know this from experience because I used to find sleep difficult and a waste of time because I had so much to do. Today my respect for sleep has been deepened by the fact that sleep has transformed my performance in all 8 areas of my life.


Depth is the most important element because, you will recall from Part 1 of this article that regeneration and repair of body and mind happens when you go into long-wave deep sleep. Depth activates the mechanism of autophagy and production of human growth hormones. The former helps you live longer, and the latter helps you look younger. 

The depth of your sleep is impacted dramatically by the following 4 factors:

1.    Not enough sunlight during the day – especially morning light. Exposure to natural light during the day is critical for the production of melatonin. This neurotransmitter gets produced naturally by the pineal gland. Melatonin has two main functions. By day, it plays an active role in energy production by your mitochondria because it is a powerful antioxidant. Secondly, it promotes deep sleep at night. The best way to get more melatonin naturally is to eat out in sunlight and get as much sun on your skin and eyes, especially in the first hour of the morning. I recommend you only wear sunglasses when absolutely necessary. I also recommend the ancient practice of sun-gazing. This is beautifully covered in the book Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health by Mark Bunn.

2.    Too Much Artificial Light at Night – especially from screens and monitors. Research shows that we now spend 93% of our time inside surrounded by artificial light. We eat in front of TV’s. We work in front of computers. We play games on screens. We browse social media on phones. This is wrecking us. It is disrupting natural processes that heal and regenerate us. It is disturbing critical neuro pathways. Exposure to artificial blue and white light at night is suppressing the release of melatonin and therefore the depth of your sleep. It also impacts the duration of sleep – see below. Here are some tips:

a.    Replace your LED’s with low lux lighting which can reduce blue/white light by up to 80%.
b.    Put dimmers on all your lights.
c.    Light candles instead.
d.    Eliminate screen time at least 1 hour before bed. Ideally 3 hours or as soon as the sun goes down. If you absolutely have to get on your devices for something urgent, then I suggest you use the Apps Flux or IRIS. Both Apps reduce blue and white light considerably, but I prefer IRIS because it also eliminates flicker on your laptop screen. This flicker has been shown to cause a stress response.

3.    Body Temperature. Getting overheated at night stops you from getting into longwave ‘delta’ deep sleep levels 3 & 4. (refer to the diagram in Part 1 of this article). You need to ensure that your room temperature is between 17-19 degrees Celsius. The best way to achieve this is to put your bedrooms on different temperature settings than the rest of the house. Secondly do not over-dress for bed or have thick bed covers. Thirdly, roll away from your partner after the initial cuddle at night

4.     EMF Interference. Electro-magnetic pollution from cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, Bluetooth devices and all devices not in aeroplane mode will all impact your depth of sleep because these frequencies activate your sympathetic nervous system and stop you from going into long wave delta sleep. No ‘ifs or buts’, EMF is very bad for your sleep.

How do you know if you are going into deep sleep?

You can measure whether you are going into deep sleep through the use of biometric devices such as the Oura Ring but I strongly suggest you put it in aeroplane mode,
especially at night, and only sync it with the App when you are not wearing it.


Duration is important because we all need 5 x 90 minute sleep cycles every night. This adds up to 7.5 hours. Every cycle serves a unique biological purpose. Duration is mainly impacted when you cannot get to sleep at the optimal time. So you end up going to bed late and reducing the duration of your sleep. It is imperative for your circadian rhythm and thyroid function to wake on or soon after sunrise. So sleeping in to make up the time only makes matters worse. (Your optimal time for sleeping and waking according to your chrono-type is discussed below under Continuity). 

Here are the factors that impact your ability to get to sleep. Staying asleep is covered under continuity below.

1.    Artificial light at night supresses the release of melatonin so it also affects duration. In fact for every 60 minutes of artificial light you get after sun down, you supress the release of melatonin by 30 minutes. This effectively delays the time for you to start feeling sleepy and ready for bed. You need to get Amish and eliminate all technology at night.

2.    Not enough movement during the day makes you feel flat and stagnant. The body needs to get tired during the day for better sleep at night. Movement is also critical to neutralise the effects of work or life stress. TIP: If you cannot play sport or have the time to workout, try minimum effective dose exercise throughout the day. Do Tabata 3 x 4 minutes a day and go for a quick walk before lunch and dinner.

3.    Stress boosts cortisol and adrenalin and keep you in a state of fight or flight. This will lead to high blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat, which prevent you from getting to sleep. And even if you do get to sleep it will affect your continuity because chances are you will wake up around 3-4am with your heart beating out of your chest. Stress also raises your body temperature which a we discussed keeps you from going into deep sleep. The best way to neutralise stress is to slow down during the day and perform your tasks at a normal pace. Research shows that it is not the amount of work we do but the speed in which do the work that is the main cause of stress. So slow down. Read the tips by Carl Honore in his book, In Praise of Slow.

4.    Too Many Thoughts. Sometimes it is not stress that keeps you up but thoughtsare that go around and around in your head of things to do for the next day. Getting things down in your diary, gets it out of your head. The 5-10 minutes it takes to do this will save you precious hours of lost sleep. 

5.    Feelings are bothering you. You will find it difficult to get to sleep if feelings bubbling under the surface are not acknowledged and processed. To healyou need to feel. We all experience rejections, failures, hurts, and disappointments. The best way to process them is to journal your feelings, using the Higher Branch techniques as espoused by our faculty member, Dr Guy Winch in his book, Emotional First Aid.

6.     Eating too late and too much can stop you from getting to sleep and consequently reduce your duration. Especially foods high in fat. It is best to avoid food within 3 hours of going to bed.

7.     Caffeine Consumption in the 12 hours before bedtime. Caffeine overrides the sleep-inducing effects of melatonin and keeps you awake for longer. Some people can go to sleep after drinking coffee but the research shows unequivocally that the caffeine stops them from going into deep sleep. Therefore, they never get the benefits of autophagy and HGH.

The Best Tips to Induce Sleep and Improve Duration:

·     Have a bath, steam or sauna 1 hour before bed. This helps your body temperature to drop which prepares you for sleep.

·     Sleeping meditation.

·     Listening to comedy.

·     Use an acupressure mat. I use the Shakti Mat. It is incredibly effective.

·     Socialising by talking or playing board games or cards. 

·     Essential oils of lavender for stress or rose geranium for anxiety.

·     Exercise during the day. Especially in morning.

·     Do the 4, 7, 8, breathing technique. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 and exhale for 8. Do this at least 5 times before you go to sleep. Do this during the next technique…

·     Ground yourself. Standing barefoot on green grass drains all the positive ions from your system and replaces them with the earths negative ions. The latter is healing and calming. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system.


It is natural to wake in the last sleep cycle of the night around the 6-hour mark. But if you are waking earlier in the first 4 sleep cycles, then you have a continuity problem. Some of the factors outlined in the section above on Duration will sometimes affect continuity. For example, if your stress is high then cortisol will surge at night and wake you. Thoughts and feelings that were bothering you during the day will creep in. 

But what is it that makes you wake up to begin with and interrupt your continuity in the first 6 hours? Typically they are:

1.    Drinking too much fluids before bed.
2.    Eating too much before bed.
3.    Consuming more than one drink of alcohol within 3 hours before bed.
4.    Falling asleep in front of the TV.

If you do wake at night, the best thing to do is roll over and keep sleeping. Do not get up and out of bed to drink or go to the toilet, unless you indulged in the list of 4 things just mentioned.

What about sleeping tablets to help you sleep and stay asleep? Research shows that sleeping tablets grossly interfere with your REM sleep, which is critical for re-setting your short-term memory. This will make you foggy during the day and make you ineffective in performing your tasks, especially tasks requiring client connection and creativity.


Sleeping according to your chronotype can improve regularity, especially during travel and work commitments.

If you are a night person and you try to go to bed before 10:30pm, you will lay awake in bed thinking you have insomnia. If you are a morning person and go to bed too late, you will get over-tired and have trouble sleeping.

According to the research, morning people should go to bed around 9:30pm and wake at 5:30am. Night owls should go to bed around 11pm and wake at 7pm. If you are an ‘inbetweener’, then anytime between 9:30pm and 11pm for sleeping and 5:30am and 7am for waking. In all cases however it is imperative for all chronotypes to get plenty of sunlight within the hour after waking.

If there is any one factor that influences sleep and overall energy levels the most, it would be to practice light hygiene. Direct sunlight during the day will boost your energy; and elimination of artificial light at night will induce sleep. They both improve your gut health profoundly, where the majority of melatonin is produced during the daylight hours. Just think of it this way: good bacteria prefer sunshine. Bad bacteria thrive in darkness.

I wish you light and the softness of sleep.


This article is a paraphrased excerpt from my latest book, Living Longer, Looking Younger. An eBook version of this will soon be available as a free download.

The Power of WHEN

WHY ignites motivation.
WHAT clarifies outcomes.
HOW is the process.
WHEN is your point of difference!

There is no doubt that we should all start at WHY. WHY sparks the motivation for change that shapes your beliefs and defines your identity, which is critical for behavioural change. But in my opinion, if you do not get the WHEN right, the WHY along with your motivation will disappear behind a sea of inevitable set-backs, energy dips, failures, rejections, hurts and disappointments.

Timing is everything.

If you get your timing wrong you are more likely to fail or get rejected; whether it is the time of day you wake, eat, sleep, exercise, work, and even initiate sex with your partner. Timing is critical. You may think you are not good at something, when in fact you just did it at the wrong time of day that is not aligned with your optimal chrono-type.

Munich University pioneered the research into discovering your chrono-type with a simple quiz but if you really think about it, you would know intuitively whether you are a morning person or a night owl. The research shows that approximately 30% of people are ‘morning’ types, 30% are ‘night owls’ and 40% are in-between. Most modern work schedules favour the morning types. I know some people who have gone into business for themselves purely so they can be in control of when they eat, sleep and work. Others have asked their boss if they can work different hours that favour their chrono-type. If you don’t have the privilege of either, don’t despair. Read on….

8 Tips to Get Your timing right?

Using the Higher Branch framework, consider how you can get your timing right in the following 8 AREAS of life. These tips can make a huge difference to your energy, motivation and performance.


There are three branches to your physical health. Nutrition, sleep and movement (exercise). Sleep is by far the most important factor for your cognitive performance, emotional happiness, immunity and longevity.

If you are a night owl, going to bed early may cause you to slip into self-induced insomnia as you lie awake trying to get to sleep before you are ready. You start developing a negative association with your bed and it’s a spiral into anxiety from there that causes more insomnia. If your optimal time to go to bed is 11pm and wake at 7am then stick to that and be true to your chrono-type. If you prefer to sleep at 9pm and wake at 5am then go with that.

When it comes to eating, typically morning people can’t survive without breakfast, while night owls prefer to snack at night and fast till midday the next day. Some can have one or two meals per day, others are primed for grazing throughout the day. For some, exercise first thing boosts their energy level, for others midday or late afternoon is the best time.

Don’t try and be something you are not. You need to listen to your body. And if you cannot figure out what your body is telling you then maybe it is time to have an Ayurvedic or a genetic consultation with a peak performance coach. We recommend Mark Bunn, Alessandra Edwards and Anthia Koullouros. 

Love & Intimacy

Couples can sometimes think they have relationships ‘problems’ simply because they have their timing all wrong. For example, if you try to initiate sex with your partner late at night and they are a morning person, then you are setting yourself up for rejection. So, it is important to get your timing right. How do you do that? Start with sleep. In a previous article The Sex/Sleep Connection I talked about how important sleep is to a relationship.


If you are a morning person, then the best time to spend with your children is in the morning. Driving them to school is a great way to do that. Otherwise, I know some parents who wake early and go jogging or swimming with their children. If they are too young, then a playground is an awesome way to start the day. If you are a night person, then flip that around and do those things later in the day. Pick them up from school. Read to them at night. Play board games. Please don’t watch TV or have any screen time at night with your children. Artificial light at night will mess up their sleep and yours whether you are a morning person or a night person. More on the importance of your circadian rhythm in the next article.


If you are a morning person you need to do your most important work in the first 90 minutes after you start work. Why only 90 mins? Research shows that after 90 minutes, your attention span and focus deteriorate, and you need a 15 min break outside in sunlight to reset. Why the first 90 mins? For a morning person, the first 90 minutes at work is the most productive. This should never be spent checking email! Or in meetings, unless the meeting is for brainstorming or decision making. The converse is true for a night person. You need to ease into the day and do your best work later in the day when your brain comes alive.


Socialising is a critical element to our wellbeing. In fact, all the research shows that the longest living humans in the blue zones of the world all have very strong social networks that keep them happy and mentally sharp. Friendships help us have fun and bring laughter to our life. BUT only when you socialise at the right time. If you are a night person then going out at night to the footy or a bar or restaurant brings the best out of you. You will be a lot more fun and energetic. If you are a morning person, then perhaps you should avoid going out at night and choose a morning cycle and coffee or a long lunch on weekends. Timing can be the difference between being perceived as fun or boring.


At A Higher Branch we consider learning to be an essential element for growth. Our whole mission is built around sharing actionable knowledge with our community. Learning is not just about attending seminars about your subject-matter expertise. But more importantly about your personal life. Your health, how to be a better partner, friend or parent and all the 8 areas of life. And learning is no different to working. You should read, listen or watch when you are most alert. Again, this leads back to whether you identify yourself as a morning person, a night person or an in-between. The best ways to learn on the fly is during your daily commute. Some call it ‘Traffic University’. By far the most effective exponential way to learn is face-to-face at seminars and events with other like-minded people.


Your appetite for risk varies according to the time of day. If you are a morning person, then the worst time for you to make investment decisions is later in the day when you are more emotional and prone to impulsiveness. The converse is true for night owls. The morning is your worst time to make investment or business decisions.


Helping others, whether it is the new person at work or a friend that needs someone to listen to is best when you are emotionally solid. Otherwise you are going to come across as insincere or nonchalant. It is amazing how your chrono-type can influence the way you help others. I know timing for helping others may be difficult but if you do have the choice, always choose the time of day when you are most empathetic and patient. Listening requires both.

​I hope you enjoyed this article. It is shared with care and the utmost of respect for your time.

In the next article we will be discussing the most important success factor for just about every component of your life. SLEEP. The absolute latest research reveals some stunning truths about the importance of sleep and the TWO lifestyle changes that will take away all the anxiety that can sometimes be associated with sleep.

9 New Rules For 2019 Headstart

New year resolutions are as outdated as the fax machine. And change does NOT have to be grand or radical. The biggest mistake people make on 1st January is to make unrealistic and unsustainable goals. Please don’t. Its best to make none at all. The second biggest mistake people make is they wait around for the perfect time to start. The thing is, transformation does not fall out of the sky or happen as one big epiphany.

Becoming A Better Version Of Yourself Often Only Requires Little Steps And Small Changes That Honours The Life You Have Already Built.

  1. No more diet or exercise fads! Please. You are born different to everyone else. Think about that. There is no other you on this planet. Stay true to your uniqueness by eating and exercising to your genetic type. Don’t listen to self-indulgent ‘gurus’ who preach. They are probably trying to sell you something. And what works for them may not work for you. One person’s paleo is another person’s poison. One person’s gym session is another person’s stress. Get bio-tested by an expert to work out what foods you need to stay away from, what exercise is right for you and what sleep patterns optimises your performance. Biotech is now converging with infotech and you need to stay informed. Ageing is for people who don’t know any better…
  2. Don’t Dump on Your Past. I know you want to upgrade every component of your life but don’t look back on your past with regret or sadness. You need to honour the achievements of your past that brought you to this moment. They were your building blocks. Sure you made mistakes and sure life has dealt you some blows but it is still your life to own and respect. When you really think about it, you have achieved more in your life than you give yourself credit for. To help you appreciate how awesome you are, read the next rule.
  3. Become Your Own Hero. By this time next year, you need to look back with joy on your achievements for the whole year. So please give yourself the important exercise of keeping a hero file of every email, every text, every card, every photo that somebody has sent you telling you how much they thank you or appreciate you. Start today by writing the first note to yourself listing the 8 things you love about you. Don’t think this is strange. YOU need to love YOU because ‘love goes to where love is’ – Ben Okri. You will never attract good things, good people and wealth if you do not love yourself and take the time to appreciate how much you do and how much you have.
  4. Making an impact is a better measure of your success than money.
  5. Be generous. Be polite. Be punctual. Be impeccable with your conduct and words. Words matter. Stick and stones may break bones, but the wrong words scar for a lifetime.
  6. Make time to sleep more. This is the secret weapon of the highest performers.
  7. Don’t hang out with toxic people. Life is too short to spend it with whiners, blamers and complainers. Your energy will crash along with your bank account. Sorry to be blunt but the company you keep is far more potent on your performance than the food you eat.
  8. Whilst others are distracted with utter dribble on media, focus on your growth. Listen to audio books. Attend seminars and workshops. To double your income and wealth, you need to double your investment in learning and growth. If you are always the smartest person in the room, find a new room.
  9. Never Ever Be Too Busy for Family, Friends and People in Need. Kindness, love and compassion has untold and immeasurable reward both material and spiritual. That is the way of the world.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life event to learn many more new rules for 2019.

Lies, So Many Lies

The last two centuries has seen the biggest cons perpetrated by mankind on mankind. As a result, health is deteriorating, relationships are breaking, conscious parenting is declining, time is accelerating, sleep is a luxury, socialising is erratic, anxiety and depression are skyrocketing. It makes no sense because we live in the most affluent time in human history. IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF THE LIES.

Here is a list of all the lies that are destroying our society and your personal happiness. And where to find the truth.

Lie: Men are more powerful than women: Truth: Any father with a daughter knows the truth.
Lie: The good old days were so much better. Truth: Really? Slavery? Surgery without anaesthetic? Stoning? Superstitions? No plumbing? Personal hygiene? Do I need to go on? Modern times are so much better and keep getting better.
Lie: The smartest people are the most successful. Truth: It’s the most energetic and enthusiastic.
Lie: You need a university degree to succeed. Truth: All you need is a growth mindset and a compelling vision. As Einstein famously said, “the only thing that interferes with my learning is my education”.
Lie: Study hard. Work hard. Make Money. Get Married. Buy a house. Live happily ever after. Truth: Deferring your happiness to the future will destroy your life in the present.
Lie: Wealth and ‘success’ is about having lots of money. Truth: The rich get richer but the wise get wealthier. Its time society expands its definition of wealth to health, love, friendship, growth, peace of mind, emotional resilience and inner value.
Lie: Extroverts make the best leaders. Truth: Those who grow other leaders make the best leaders.
Lie: Private schools are better than public schools. Truth: Parents have the biggest impact on child development. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
Lie: Business must grow revenue to be successful. Truth: Business must grow people to be successful.
Lie: Technology and social media is bad for you. Truth: Technology is part of our evolution. You just need to know how to use it wisely.
Lie: Diet and exercise is the key to long life. Truth: Your mental, emotional and spiritual health have a far greater impact on your wellbeing.
Lie: You must be religious to be spiritual. Truth: There are many paths to enlightenment. It’s an internal and personal odyssey.
Lie: ‘You are meant for each other’. Truth: Even ‘soul-mates’ madly in love can fail. You must put in the work to last.
Lie: Generous people come last. Truth: Generous people attract the most abundance and happiness in their life.

Find out the truth and much more at Upgrade Your Life, 2019. Learn a unique framework for living the life you deserve. Never before released to the public. Highly personalised, prescriptive and proprietary, there is nothing like it on the planet.

This event will cause an outright revolution of transformation in your personal life and work performance. Book Now.

Are You Ignoring Your Inner Instinct?

Your instinct is one of five super powers that you have to help you grow, evolve and survive. Ignore it at your peril.

We live in an age of constant distraction where mindfulness of our inner instinct is failing us. This can make us feel lost, uncertain and confused. Out of this comes indecision, which is the one of the most debilitating afflictions. We can become rudderless with no instinct at all.

Have you ever walked into a restaurant or shop and felt uncomfortable or uneasy? Did you shake aside that inner instinct as nonsense and stay, or did you listen to it and leave? If you stayed, you were probably subjected to a sensory discomfort and a feeling of being out of place. That’s because every positive has a negative, so like positive and negative charges in electricity, people and places also emit either positive (empowering) or negative (discomforting) energy.

As we are energy, we can sense it straight away but often ignore this inner instinct because we cannot explain why we are feeling that way. However, the problem with this is that if the red flags are ignored at the beginning, they can turn into problems later on. For example, if you felt uneasy when entering a shop and stayed, you may have discovered that the sales representative was ripping you off. So you’ve just spent your energy on a negative experience. Or, have you ever walked into a restaurant and felt a negative vibe, ignored it, and felt sick afterwards? Maybe your meal was over-salted, over cooked or prepared by someone who cares more for money than serving good food. This may sound silly, but I never eat in a restaurant where I sense that the focus is solely on your ‘share of wallet’ and getting you in and out quickly. When it comes to food, I like to eat at places that focus on passion before profit.

Our inner instinct also has a way of pointing us in the right direction with relationships, friendships and work. People radiate an aura of energy and we can usually instinctively sense if this aura is good, kind and empowering or toxic, negative and draining. We can either listen to this instinct or ignore it.

I would love to hear your personal experiences on this topic. Have you ever ignored your inner instinct? What was the result? Alternatively, did you ever listen to your instinct? Where did that choice lead? Please feel free to email me This is a topic we will be covering at Upgrade Your Life 2019, along with multi-sensory accelerated learning.