Bed Peace: Sleep Does a Body Good

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One of my goals this year is to increase my productivity, setting daily goals & leaving little to no task unchecked on the ever growing to-do list. I feel like time flies so fast, I look up and a month is gone with nothing of value to show for it.  Story of life, huh?!  For the last 2 months I have been on the Dr. Eric Thomas (ET) 3 am wakeup & grind plan.  If you are trying to accomplish a goal, short term or long term, I highly recommend getting up early and tracking your progress to keep you focused & motivated.

::glances towards the mirror::

"You are a lion. You want to succeed as bad a you want to brea..." - me
"uhhh, but I'm already tired tomorrow."  - also me

Question: How do you make it through the day without being completely exhausted by 1 pm?  If there is one thing I've learned in 65 days, is the importance of a bedtime (routine).  Took 29 years to accept it, Mom would be so proud. Whether you're up at 3 am or 9 am, getting through the day is a lot harder if you're already exhausted. Sleep is vital to your overall health and productivity. 

While I cannot promise that you will ever jump out of bed with all the enthusiasm in the world, I will tell you that it gets more bearable when you know what you are going after.  

One of my favorite quotes from T.D. Jakes is " Get up out of the bed with an agenda.  When you have an agenda you don't spend time worrying about how you feel, because it doesn't make any difference how you feel, you woke up with something to do".

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Where to start?  Understand how your body functions.  Circadian rhythm is your natural, internal system that regulates your sleep/wake cycle over 24 hours.  It's highly sensitive to light, which is why you naturally feel more alert in the day time and gradually wind down closer to end of the day.  Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that controls this sleep/wake cycle, it regulates other hormones while maintaining the body's internal clock.  Having a balanced internal clock that responds to your body's natural cues will help you feel well rested and energized throughout the day, control appetite, reduce stress, and increase alertness. 

 

 

"Sleep deprivation can hinder your ability to lose weight even if you are dieting & exercising" - National Sleep Foundation : Diet, Exercise, & Sleep (GOOD READ)  
 

So, how much sleep do you need?  Well, it depends on the person & age.  Most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep to get through all 5 sleep cycles.  Infants, children, and teens require a little more depending on age. Our elderly loved ones may require less the older they get.  In today's fast past world, many people are getting less than 6 hours of sleep in the name of "productivity".  The downside to this is it can ultimately lead to sleep derivation, burnout, and increase risk for chronic diseases.  Think of sleep like a bank.  If you only make withdrawals, eventually you're going to have to replenish to sustain optimal health. 

Tools to help you sleep:  Falling asleep immediately isn't always the easiest task.  Especially when the day (or timeline) is lit.  Here are 6 things to help get you there. 

1. Have a consistent schedule.  We've heard it time and time again, consistency is vital to longevity.  Whether that be on the job, in your relationships, or in the bedroom.  What consistency will do is allow your body to adjust to waking up, working out, eating, and winding down at a certain time. Keep your schedule on the weekends as well.  Over time it will become less of a chore and more enjoyable mentally & physically.  

I'm loving the bedtime alarm feature on my Iphone.  It alerts when it's time for bed, and wakes me up gradually in the morning with soothing tunes.   

2.  Develop a bedtime or morning routine. This falls in line with consistency.  A bedtime/morning ritual will help signal to your body that its time to unwind or wake up and grind.  It doesn't have to be complicated.  Actually the simpler the better because you're more likely to be consistent if it's easy.  My nighttime routine is as simple as a reading a book before bed. I start my start my mornings off with motivation videos or a T.D. Jakes sermon found on youtube and a glass of lemon water. 

3. Limit screen time before bed.  Our screens emit a blue light that interferes with the cue to wind down.  Limiting your screen time before bed can allow you to fall asleep faster and promote quality sleep.  Try doing other activities that don't involve screens like reading, planning the next day, take a hot shower, and/or mediate. Whatever you do, unplug.  

Many phones IOS & Android have a night shift/night mode that switches the blue light to a cooler temperature.  There's not much evidence that this particular feature will help you sleep. It may or may not work for you. 

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4. Sleep in darkness.  Limit the amount of light coming into your room at night.  Sleeping in total darkness allows the body to naturally produce the hormone Melatonin.  Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that prevents disease and reduce chronic fatigue.  It is produced mostly at night and decreases during the day.  

Keep melatonin high at night by:

  • Investing in black out curtains.  You can also turn the blinds down and move your bed away from window to avoid light hitting you while asleep.
  • Turn off or cover electronics 
  • Sleep naked or with loose fitting clothes for better quality sleep.  Tight clothing tends to increases body temperature, interrupting sleep. 

4.  Wake up to light or sun.  Have you every noticed how more well rested you feel when you wake up to the sun shining vs. that blaring alarm clock?  Screaming alarms send you from a state of peace to immediate panic, causing your body to release a cocktail of stress hormones.  It's tooooo early for all that. In January I switched to a sunrise stimulating alarm clock and it has made all the difference in waking up in the mornings.  I feel less groggy and more alert.  I found this cheaper version on amazon for $40, and I'm in love.  The "sun" begins to rise approximately 10 minutes before it's time to get up, gradually getting brighter.  When it's time for the alarm to go off, it will be at its brightest accompanied by soothing tunes (10 options to pick from) or the radio.  I can't see myself going back to a regular alarm clock.  

5.  Try incorporating aromatherapy.  Aromatherapy can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.  Try incorporating relaxing/calming essential oils and sprays like lavender, chamomile, and vetiver.

 

That's it for now.  What is your go to routine for quality sleep?