We have all heard that we need more sleep. Everyone from general physicians and magazines to your partner and mother have told us “GET MORE SLEEP”! But is more actually the problem? Let’s find out:
The average adult gets 7 hours of sleep a night. According to the sleep foundation the ideal recommendation for the average adult 26-64 years old is 7-9 hours per night with 6-10 hours a night being possibly appropriate. So how do you tell?
You can follow a few easy steps to perform your own self-evaluation. First find 4 consecutive weekends or days where you do not have to stay out late or wake up early. Next try to create an ideal sleep situation (see below). Finally sleep. Go to bed at your normal bed time and allow yourself to naturally wake up. Record the number of hours you slept as well as how you felt. Target the 3 days you felt your best when you woke up and create an average of those hours of sleep. You may find that you only need 6 hours to feel your best or you may find that you need to try to get a few more Z’s. So why is sleep so important? Aside from feeling great, energetic and more focused sleep has many links to your health. Here are some of our favorites:
--Sleeping a shorter number of hours has been linked to increasing the likelihood of obesity. Sleep deprivation could disrupt hormones that regulate appetite, decrease growth hormone(GH), thyroid stimulating hormone(TSH) and increase evening cortisol.
--Lack of sleep can lower your body’s ability to utilize glucose and lower your metabolic rate. Your body’s ability to restore your mind and body greatly increases as you go through full sleep cycles. ----Normal sleep cycles cue your body’s natural daily rhythm of hormones such as GH, TSH, luteinizing hormone, melatonin and testosterone.
12% of People dream only in black and white - Sleeping on your front can aid digestion
1 in 4 married couples sleep in separate beds - 15% of the population are sleepwalkers
Humans are the only mammals that wilingly delay sleep -41% of British sleep in fetal position
Record for the longest Period without sleep is 11 days -You forget 50% of your dreams within 5 minutes
5 Things to do before bed to add value to your Z’s
Before you hit the sack, setting up a night time routine can help to cue your mind and body that is time for sleep. This has been shown to greatly improve the quality of sleep allowing your body to naturally cycle in and out of deep sleep giving you the most out of your sleeping investment. Here are our top 5 things you should be doing before bed to get the most bang for your buck:
-Reduce caffeine and alcohol 7-10 hours before bed: Monitor your food and drink consumption could greatly increase your body’s ability to get into deep sleep patterns. Having a late caffeine boost or a few extra drinks might not hold you back from getting 7 hours of sleep but you might not be getting the full benefits of falling into deep sleep.Reduce your exposure to lights
-1-3 hours before bed: Most of homes are flooded with lights and video screens. TV’s and phones are now more common in the bedroom. These visible light waves are absorbed through our eyes and skin signal our brain that our bodies should remain awake. Try using Blue Light blocking glasses, reducing the amount of lights and lowering the brightness on your screens to help eliminate these waves so your body knows when it is time for bed. If you need more light to see, try using lavender scented candles to calm your eyes and nose!
-Gentle Movement: Many of us feel tight and sore on a regular basis. Find a few yoga or Pilates moves to loosen up your tight hips, shoulders or backs. You can head over to the blog section on our website www.idealcorepilates.com for some videos on how to target your tight areas.
-Journal: Listing things such as tasks that need finishing tomorrow, a recap of your day and remembering something you did well that day can not only help your mind shut down, but it also helps to finish the day on a positive note. This will greatly increase your chances of getting restful sleep and a great start to tomorrow.
-1 hour before bed: Set up your night time routine: We do this with our kids but somehow lost the importance as we get older. Create a series of events that will prime your body for a great night of sleep. After dinner when you are ready to unplug from work think about taking a night time walk followed by a warm shower or bath, do some stretches or meditation, write down your final thoughts of the day and grab some calm reading and your favorite glass of non-caffeinated tea and slip into bed. If it works for our kids, why wouldn’t it work for us?
Investing in your sleep palace
We have all had the debate with ourselves or with our partners; how much do we spend on our mattress or pillows? I’m here to put that debate to rest. The answer as much as it takes to get a good night sleep! A good mattress should hold up for about 10 years. If you are getting your 7hs of sleep a night that means you will spend 25,550 hours in your bed over the next 10 years; that’s 1,064 days or almost 3 years! Many of us would not bat an eye at spending $25,000 on a car, but if I asked you to invest that much in your sleep that becomes a major decision.
-Mattress and Pillows: finding the right mattress for you is a very individual process. What might feel great to me, will feel terrible for you. Many stores now offer free personalized recommendations based on how you sleep and your body’s different pressure points. I highly recommend doing this evaluation. Even an expensive mattress will set you back around three to five thousand dollars.
-Black out the room: making sure your room is as dark as possible can be done in 3 easy steps and is very low cost. First get black out curtains. This can help to reduce the amount of light coming into your room. Even a small amount of exposure to your eyes or skin and have a drastic change in when you wake up. Next eliminate extra LED lights. Many devices such as TV’s, fans, humidifiers and chargers have tiny lights. If you can purchase devices that don’t have them on. If they do, consider putting a piece of electrical tape over to block all the extras out. Finally find the right setting for your phone. If you can, keep it in a separate room or far away from your bed. If you must keep it by your bedside try changing your setting to airplane mode. This will eliminate any late-night texts or notices that may bring some unwanted light into your sleep environment.
-Keep it cool: The ideal sleeping temperature is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re like us and you sleep on the upper floors of your building, have an old house or don’t want to cool your entire house that low, we’ve got some tips. Your head is the most important thing to keep cool. When purchasing your pillow or mattress pad with cooling technology is something to consider. An in-room air conditioner can make a big difference. Smaller units are now available and can be done with little to no instillation. Cooling a single room is much more cost effective than trying to cool the entire house. If an in-room AC is not in your plan, try keeping your fan on, not only will you move the hotter air off your body, but you also create some calming pink noise!
So, remember the next time you plan on investing in your sleep; go all in! (It will still be less expensive than your car!)
You can’t control your actual sleep. But you can control your sleep behaviors and environment. Take charge of your actions and surroundings, be consistent, and enjoy the Zs.