High Performance Thread
MemberMarch 28, 2020 at 4:46 pm
I’m starting this thread to share what has helped me along this journey to upgrade my daily performance in any field of life, including poker.
Consistent high quality sleep is probably the single biggest nominator for human performance. Especially when you’re younger (early twenties) you might underestimate how much a well optimized sleep schedule can help you to grow up to you potential. The best hacks I’ve found so far are
1) Go to bed at the same hour every single day (including weekends)
2) Track your sleep as good as you can. I use an “oura ring”, which makes this job much easier.
https://ouraring.com This product is pricey, but worth every penny for me.
3) I use magnesium before going to bed, which has proven, positive effect for sleep quality. I use a special magnesium that is optimized for night intake.
4) Sleep enough! I need at least 7.5 hours of sleep to on top of my abilities the next day.
5) I use a pillow with neck support. Since I’ve started using it, a few years ago, I won’t sleep w/o it anymore.
6) Shower before sleep. Whenever it makes sense I take a shower before going to bed. Feeling clean has also positive effect on sleep quality.
7) Lower body temperature. Go outside for a few minutes to cool down your body temperature. I do this sometimes, but not always.
8) Use a sleep app like “calm”. Their audio sleep stories will knock you out in 5 minutes. I should actually use it more often.
I’m leaving it at sleep right now. But I’m sure the list will expand in the nearest future. Looking forward to your suggestions and ideas around improving human performance.
MemberMay 30, 2020 at 7:23 pm
I want to add a couple of things to the sleeping advice. I’ve been very aware of how important sleep is to my performace over the years and how crucial it is to maintain healthy sleep. I would say that only 7.5 hours after a full day of heavy grind+study is not even enough – going to a regular job or going about your day doing anything else besides poker yeah 7.5 hrs might be enough but for your brain maintaining high performance when playing poker I would say 9hrs+
Quality of sleep is also super important. If you sleep during the day try to make your room pitch black – get a sleeping mask or try to cover windows with black garbage bags if neccesary to block out the light coming in. Sound is also very important when sleeping – try to make the room quieter or wear ear plugs in case your location is really noisy like hearing neighbours all the time going in and out or making noise above you .
leave your phone outside your bedroom – turn it off . turn off the bell at the door – don’t let these things mess with your sleep
if you had a really long session and stayed up really late your body might have released adrenaline and this is going to make your sleep quality go down tremendously and even though you should be more tired than usual because you stayed up for longer you will notice that you couldn’t sleep very much and you have the impression that you’re rested when you’re actually completely tired mentally
if you had a swingy session with a lot of focus and emotions involved – running really hot or having an intense HU match then there’s a good chance your body has released adrenaline into the system and you can spot this out easily when you just can’t fall asleep and end up staying longer
whenever you have a bad day in terms of sleeping – always take a break. Your brain cannot recover without sleep – it won’t help if you keep throwing coffee and stimulants at it either – you will maybe able to function well for 2-3 hours and then crash even harder when effect runs out.
when you take a break it’s highly recommended that you do something else completely different from poker or your usual intense activities. go walk the dog, pay some bills, go do some shopping, have a long workout just listening to music or whatever – try to not use the same muscles of your brain in the day-off .
Food is very important to have a good sleep as well. If you go to sleep hungry you won’t be able to have a deep and well-resting sleep. Consuming complex carbohydrates ~1hour before sleep is the best way to go – Pasta, rice, potatoes and other foods like these as the staple food have been proven to be the best help when it comes to sleep, to provide a slow release of energy and easy to digest during your sleep making you able to have a well-resting sleep.
coffee is also extremely important when it comes to sleep in general and your brain’s long term performance. Don’t drink the heavy stuff like energy drinks redbulls etc and don’t drink too much coffee either – it will burn you out in the long term and it can sometimes mess you up really good. Always drink coffee after you’ve eaten and before you start playing – it will take about 30 minutes to go into effect. drinking more coffee than you need will just over-stimulate your brain and make you burn out faster, could even completely trash your winrate by making your autopilot all the way. it’s very hard to realize when your brain is tired because it’s not like a muscle that feels sore but there are indicators such as autopiloting sessions, not paying attention, taking decisions way too fast etc etc
MemberJune 3, 2020 at 6:04 pm
Great post! Lots of helpful advice. I’ve quit coffee almost 3-weeks ago and it completely changed my sleep quality. Way better! I track it with an oura ring. I’m able to sleep longer without waking up and have a way easier time sticking to a sleep schedule.
That being said, I will reintroduce coffee into my life in about 1-2 weeks, but only up to 2pm (10 hours before going to bed). Anything after, won’t enter my system anymore.
Just wanted to leave this here, as it had such a big impact on the quality of sleep on my end.
MemberJune 26, 2020 at 12:59 am
I just finished reading a NY Times bestseller called “Why We Sleep : Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams”, by Matthew Walker.
He writes about many of the positive effects of QUALITY 7.5 – 9 hours of sleep daily. Also stresses going to bed at the same time EVERY day, as well as not being subjected by blue or LED light close to bedtime. So for many of those that play online, do not try to go to bed directly after playing a long online session. And when done playing, and getting ready for bed do not watch TV or stare at your cell phone.
Another interesting tidbit was how the US, where I reside, is well beyond the rest of the developed countries in the world in terms of getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night. For example, comparing the residency program of the US doctors compared to some of Europe’s doctors. US residencies generally have their doctors working long, consecutive hours. Many of them tired and not getting enough sleep, therefore making more errors during surgeries, assessing patients, etc. etc. Where as in European countries, where the doctors residency programs are working fewer hours, therefore getting more sleep, and their hospitals are consistently ranked higher than the US and making less errors.
Anyways, just an interesting read for anyone looking to gain more knowledge on sleep and why it is so important to memory, obtaining and retaining new knowledge, and living a more happy, healthy life.
Hope this was helpful