How to track your sleep cycles and wake up feeling refreshed every day!
Do you ever just feel tired, totally worn out and exhausted? Chances are if you’re reading this post you answered yes! Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret, you could feel more refreshed waking up each day by merely tracking your sleep cycles.
I have suffered from insomnia for several years; I’m lucky if I get 6 hours and often wake up feeling like I ran into a wall. However, as part of my new “get healthy” regime I have vowed to get at least 8 hours each night. (I will keep you posted!).
Sleep is the best medicine
We know sleep is essential for survival and health. In general, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Life is often hectic, and it seems there are never enough hours in the day. As a responsible adult, we like to make sure our family are getting enough of the stuff but overlook the importance when it comes to ourselves.
Looking after yourself and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is just as important as looking after everybody else.
Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise!
Revelation! People who don’t get enough sleep are likely to have larger appetites. Two hormones that help regulate hunger, ghrelin and leptin, are directly affected. Horror! Let me explain.
Ghrelin stimulates appetite and Leptin decrease it. When the body is sleep deprived the level of ghrelin spikes, while the level of leptin falls leading to an increase in hunger; Therefore overeating and weight gain occur.
“This explains a lot!”
So what happens when we hit the pillow at night?
Even our best efforts at sleeping well can fail; With early morning meetings, last minute projects, late night social gatherings, children who need night time attention and Insomnia.
However, I have recently discovered the secret to waking up feeling refreshed regardless. It is all about sleep cycles and timing.
A sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, and during this time we move through different stages.
The first phase of a cycle is light sleep, followed by deep sleep and a dream state. A full 90-minute cycle is typically repeated several times each night.
We tend to assume that by getting more hours of sleep we’ll be more refreshed come the morning – but that is not always the case. The trick is to time your cycles, waking at just the right time having completed a full 90 minutes.
Fortunately (for me anyway!) you do not have to be a mathematician to work out the exact time. Using a formula based on the body’s natural rhythms, this calculator will work out the best time for you to wake or go to sleep.
Tracking sleep patterns
There’s an app for that!
This sleep cycle alarm clock will do it for you. The app offers a smart solution to that “yanked out of a sleep coma” feeling and wakes you up during light sleep stage. Waking up during this phase feels like waking up naturally rested. You can download the app from the apple or android app store for free.
Resetting your habits
The best sleep habits are consistent with healthy routines and resetting any practice is never easy, it takes perseverance and focus. The simplest way, when trying to form a new habit, is preparation.
To avoid setting yourself up for failure, try these simple steps to ensure you’re ready.
- Create a cosy environment – Make your bed every day, ensure your bedroom is dark and a comfortable temperature
- Avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch
- Turn off electronic devices at least half an hour before bedtime
- Download meditative or ambient sound apps
Every day starts the night before. Be sure to prioritise your sleep habits and your health with these simple tips you should be well on your way to feeling a lot more productive and a little less grumpy!
Further reading: Helen over at HealthAmbision.com has some excellent resources when it comes to looking after your overall health. You can read Helens comprehensive guide for putting together your optimal sleeping schedule right here.
Do you struggle to get yourself motivate in the morning? This post has some great suggestions how you can give your mornings a makeover and start your day the right way.
Do you have any tried and tested methods? Let us know in the comments below.