As we roll into February, a month all about self-care, let’s chat about how sleep is essential and the ripple effect it has on what we eat, daily movement, and how important it is for our mindset.
When it comes to sleep quantity is important, but quality is also key for a restorative and restful outcome. A full sleep cycle takes approximately 90 minutes and it is ideal to get five full cycles of sleep a night for optimal health which is 7.5 hours. When I began focusing on getting full sleep cycles it was literally a game changer for feeling rested, alert, and patient throughout the day.
Some simple tips to sleep more soundly are:
Protect your last hour – during the last hour before bed stay away from all screens(yes, that means your phone). Light reading (not work related) can calm the mind and activate parts of the brain that will help you fall asleep. If an hour of no screen is too long begin with 30 minutes, and work your way up to one hour.
Save your coffee for the early part of the day. Once you decide your bedtime make sure to stop having caffeine 8 hours before the time you fall asleep.
A cool and dark space is ideal for the quality sleep WIN! Sleeping in a cool dark room not only helps you fall asleep, but it helps you stay sleeping during the night.
Aim for 5 solid sleep cycles each night which is 7.5hours total. Each cycle is 90minutes, and 5 cycles of sleep is ideal, so getting 7.5 hours every night is huge for quality of rest. When life is hectic and you feel low on time, you need to aim for the bare minimum which is 6hrs of sleep(4 full cycles). If you are sick, run down, or doing extra training getting 9 hours of sleep is ideal, which is 6 full cycles.
Wake up naturally, ideally at the end of a full sleep cycle. If you wake up naturally, and you need to get up within the next 30minutes get up right away. If you go back to sleep your alarm will go off right when you are in a deeper sleep cycle, and you will wake groggy and sluggish for the first hours of your day. You may recall this experience when you wake up feeling refreshed, realize you have more time to sleep before alarm, and then when alarm goes off you wake feeling like a zombie(this is waking up mid-sleep cycle).
My personal hands down favourite tip is remembering that naps are life! The most important tip is to know there are different types of naps which I have shared below so you can use them to your benefit!
Micro-nap(2-5min) – less sleepiness and increase cognitive performtnce
Mini-nap(10min) – improve mental and physical performance, decrease fatigue
Power nap(20min) – increase energy, alertness, and memory.
I-feel-like-crap-nap(30min) – makes you feel groggy and foggy, and you just want to go back to sleep. You know why it’s called this if you have ever had this nap. You have woken up in the deep part of a sleep cycle….so never ever do the 30minute nap.
Full-cycle nap(90min) – improves memory and creativity. This nap includes all sleep stages so it’s like a mini full-night sleep. It is reparative and restorative and perfect for someone sick or had a extra long hard workout that day.
If you incorporate some or all of these tips over time your sleep quality will improve, which will ripple into all other areas of your life. If you want to dive deeper into these benefits I highly recommend the book, “The Ripple Effect,” by Dr. Greg Wells.
Source for this post is from the book
“The Ripple Effect,” Dr. Greg Wells