Sleeping Smarter

In our culture, sleep isn’t respected very much at all. In fact, we are often programmed to believe that to be successful, we need to work harder, we need to sleep less and we can catch up on sleep when we’re dead. The truth is that when we don’t get enough sleep or don’t sleep well, we get slower, less creative, more stressed and ultimately underperform. There isn’t one facet of our mental, emotional or physical performance that is not affected by the quality of our sleep. High-quality sleep fortifies your immune system, balances your hormones, boosts your metabolism, increases your physical energy and improves the function of your brain.  A pretty compelling argument to start giving some serious consideration to how well you’re sleeping!

Whilst there are many things we can do to improve the quality of our sleep, one thing to start working on straight away is sleeping smarter, not necessarily longer.

Adjust your alarm 

During normal sleep at night, your body follows a pattern of moving back and forth between deep restorative sleep (deep sleep) and more alert stages (non-REM) and dreaming (REM sleep). These stages combined, form a complete sleep cycle. Sleep cycles typically last for 90 minutes and repeat four to six times a night. Ever wondered why you’ve woken upon groggy after what you thought was a full night’s sleep? This could be because you’ve woken up in the middle of one of your sleep cycles.

To make your mornings better, start setting your alarm so it goes off as you are naturally coming out of one of your sleep cycles. For example, if you go to sleep at 10pm, set your alarm for 5.30am, rather than 6am, which is a total of 7 ½ hours’ sleep. You will likely find that you feel more refreshed when you wake up, than if you set your alarm for 6am and interrupted another sleep cycle.

Give it a try, you may be surprised how much easier it is to get out of bed and just think what you could do with that extra 30 minutes in the morning – mood & metabolism boosting workout maybe? Just a thought…