Understand your sleep cycles and learn how to wake up feeling refreshed.

After recently getting a Garmin Smartwatch, I noticed my sleep patterns were off so I started to do some research. Was I getting enough good quality sleep?

According to HelpGuide, you may be sleep deprived if you…

  • Need an alarm clock to wake up on time.
  • Rely on the snooze button.
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon.
  • Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms.
  • Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving.
  • Need to nap to get through the day.
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening.
  • Feel the need to sleep in on weekends.
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed.

I don’t know about you but a lot of those things are true for me, especially since I started doing 5 AM workouts, and it’s alarming. Sleep is tricky, We know it’s important but it’s often the first thing we sacrifice to get our to-do list completed. I’ve always made sleep a priority but with some new anxiety creeping in, I’m working to understand how much sleep I need to feel refreshed, alert and ready to combat my daily tasks. 

How much sleep do I need? 

This question is hard because it varies based on age, gender, activity levels and so much more. We all have a unique sleep requirement but the average answer is 7-9 hours for an adult. 

Quality over Quantity

Although 7-8 hours is ideal, it’s all about quality sleep over how many hours you need. There are two basic types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (which has three different stages) and research shows productive sleep requires completion of the cycles. 

Five Stages of Sleep Cycle

Stage 1 is the sleep phase you experience within the first 5 to 10 minutes of falling asleep.

Stage 2 prepares the body for deep sleep. The heart rate slows, body temperature drops, and muscles relax.

Stages 3 and 4 are when deep sleep occurs. This is when it’s hardest to wake people up, and if they do wake up, they often feel confused and disoriented.

Stage 5 is when rapid eye movement (REM) occurs in which the brain is reenergized.

If you wake up in the middle of any of these stages, sometimes unknowingly, the sleep cycle is disturbed and can cause you to feel fatigued throughout the day.

Here are some tips to help combat restlessness and increase the amount of sleep you get:

  1. Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine, especially in the evening.
  2. Limit lights from screens 2+ hours before bedtime.
  3. Eat a meal plan filled with nutrient dense foods to promote sleep production.
  4. Develop a sleep ritual, such as taking a warm bath or reading a book to relax before bed.
  5. Regulate your sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. 
  6. Exercise daily to promote deep sleep.

More Insight: Check out this insightful article on the 8 hormones to keep under control as you age.

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