Your Sleep Cycle Duration

Instead of forcing yourself to wake up at a certain time (like 5:00 am), observe your sleep pattern for a few days and find out your ideal wake up time. Ensure that your energy levels are on a high side.

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Health

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  • Push your sleep reset button and look at this activity from a new light, as if you are now trying this for the first time in your life.
  • Keep a time window of 30 minutes in your bedtime and wake up time.
  • Engage in relaxing activities like meditating, reading or cloth folding.
  • Catch your sleep cycle and if you miss it, be attentive for the next one.
  • Perform a moderate activity one hour before bedtime, to avoid jamming your body.

There can be numerous reasons that derail us from a good night’s sleep, as our lifestyle is not geared towards sleep by default. While tackling this is hard, it helps to make a list of all the things that make you lose your sleep, like time spent with family or a night out with friends, and try to move or reschedule it a few hours earlier or at a different time.

It pays to limit the impact of these external elements in your sleep.

  • Maintain sleep hygiene by making your bed a sleep-only spot, not to be used for eating and other non-sleep activities. Use aromatic diffusers to enhance the mood, and invest in a proper pillow/mattress/bedding sheets.
  • Declutter your room and ensure that the lighting promotes sleep. Room temperature should be assistive to sleep. For noisy environments, use some white noise or complete silence, depending on your preference.
  • Record your thoughts in a notepad or voice recorder in case you are bugged by something and need to ‘park’ it aside and get to sleep.
  • Limit caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which are sleep disruptors.

It isn’t a good idea to have a full stomach when going to sleep. The ideal time for dinner needs to be three to four hours before bedtime. Also, certain types of food promote sleep while others don’t, and you can use your sleep tracker input to determine which type is good for you.

Moderate amount of low-intensity exercise is desirable for a sound sleep.

Certain rituals and activities can be done prior to sleeping, like dimming the lights, having chamomile and banana tea (rich in magnesium) and playing a relaxing game (not on a screen).

TV and phone screens are not a good idea right before sleeping.

  • Certain breathing techniques are great activities that promote sleep.

  • It is good to stretch and drink a lot of water in the morning.

  • Daytime napping, in case you need to replenish your energy, is a healthy practice, provided it is a short nap before 3:00 pm

Your Relationship With Sleep

Many of us have a broken relationship with sleep. It’s rare for most people to wake up refreshed, rejuvenated, and full of energy.

We need to look into something we always overlooked or neglected when we opted for the late-night party or movie binge, instead of a night of sound sleep.

A night of sleep is made of five cycles, making us go through various sleep stages. This can be light sleep, deep sleep and REM stage of sleep when we dream and have eye movement.

During sleep, our body produces Melatonin and Growth Hormones, which are required by your bodies for regulating our internal clock and to restore our muscles, bone and metabolism.

  1. We all don’t need a standard eight hours of sleep, as it varies according to our age, genetics and level of activity.
  2. Insomnia is actually of various types, from Onset (unable to fall asleep) to Maintenance(struggling to stay asleep) and other types like chronic and acute insomnia.
  3. We all do not have to wake up at 5 a.m., and the wake up time depends on our chronotype.
  4. Sleeping pills, like the types of insomnia, are different too. Benadryl helps you fall asleep, while melatonin pills regulate our internal clock.

Having a sleep journal on Google Sheets or Excel is a great way to keep tabs on your sleeping. If you have trouble keeping a sleep journal and recording all activities like time, and number of hours slept, among other things, appears tedious, then you can always opt for a sleep tracker.

A sound and successful sleep can be measured using the following goals:

  • Sleeping well within the 30 minute timeframe.
  • Waking up with high-energy.
  • Minimum interruptions during the night.
  • Sleep quality and sleep regularity rating on a high side.

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Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

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Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.
  • It is essentially hard to keep track of a routine during times like these; screen time has risen more than usual, meals are often late, and a lot of midnights snacking.
  • By practicing mindfulness it's easier to keep track of day-to-day habits. Mindfulness helps us by guiding us into making a choice on taking better care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  • Practice mindfulness through breathing exercises or meditation. Recognize your thoughts and listen to what your body says.

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