Monday Challenge (August 14, 2017) Get Your Sleep Mo-Mentum!


It’s Monday! Time for your challenge of the week.  Remember….comfort and change can’t live in the same neighborhood.  To live an extraordinary life we must get used to being a little uncomfortable.  With this in mind, every Monday I will be sending out a little challenge for you.  This weeks challenge may require a few days but I guarantee you’ll like this challenge!  You’ll definitely feel better and have more energy!

What happens to our bodies when we sleep is nothing short of a miracle.  During deep sleep our bodies restore, detoxify, and regenerate cells without us even being consciously aware of it.

We all know sleep is important for our health, but unfortunately, so many of us struggle to get the solid 6-8 hours we need every night.  Not only that- but the QUALITY of sleep seems to be on the decline as well.

This week, your challenge is to aim for 7.5-9 hours of QUALITY, deep sleep each night. Read more to find out about these specific numbers, 7.5-9 hours. 

What You Need To Know About Sleep

Our sleep actually occurs in cycles consisting of non-REM sleep and REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep your eyes move rapidly in different directions. During non-REM sleep this doesn’t happen. You typically dream during REM sleep.

There are three phases of non-REM sleep, each lasting between 5 to 15 minutes. You go through all three phases before you reach REM sleep.

Stage 1: This phase is about 5 to 10 minutes. Although your eyes are closed, it’s easy to wake you up.

Stage 2: Your body is preparing for deep sleep in during this phase. You are in a light sleep. Both your heart rate and body temperature drop.

Stage 3: This is your deep sleep phase. This is the phase of NON-REM sleep in which our bodies repair tissues and regrow cells, build bone, repair muscle; it’s when brain cells are cleansed and when your immune system is strengthened.

If you wake up in the middle of this phase, by a crying baby, someone waking you up or for some other reason, it’s much more difficult to wake you up and you will feel disoriented for at lease a few minutes. If you set your alarm to go off during deep sleep you will feel groggy for the rest of the day. This is a VERY important point that I will return to shortly.

When you sleep at night, your body follows a predictable pattern moving between deep restorative sleep (deep sleep), less deep sleep (non-REM) and dreaming (REM sleep.) These stages of sleep form a complete sleep cycle, which is about 90 minutes. REM sleep occurs at the end of that 90 minutes, which is why you remembers some of your dreams. The first period of REM lasts 10 minutes and each of the following REM stages progressively get longer. Depending on how many sleep cycles you get in a night, the later REM stages can last up to an hour.

TIP: Sleep cycles repeat between four to six times each night. Six sleep cycles at 90-mintues each would equal 9 hours of sleep.

Since sleep cycles last for 90 minutes, even if you get a full nights sleep, if you wake up in the middle of your sleep cycle you will feel groggy all day. To feel alert and energetic in the mornings you actually want to get want between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night, so you wake up at the END of your sleep cycle instead of the middle of a sleep cycle! If you go to bed at 10:00 PM you’ll want to set your alarm for 7 ½ hours, leaving yourself about 15-30 minutes to fall asleep; this way you will wake up at the end of your sleep cycle instead of the middle.

For example, if you go to bed at 9:45 giving yourself 15 minutes to fall to sleep, by around 10:00PM, than you’ll want to set your alarm for 5:30AM OR 7am. That would be five sleep cycles and 7 ½ hours of sleep if you wake up at 5:30AM or 6 sleep cycles and 9 hours of sleep if you wake up at 7:00AM.

If you were to set your alarm for 6:00 AM after going to sleep at 10:00 PM you would wake up in the middle of your sleep cycle and feel groggy for the rest of the day.

Cool new trick right?!

Here are a few ways to improve the quality of your sleep:

  1. Sleep in complete darkness, no TV, hall light or phone light.  Complete darkness is important for regulating the circadian rhythm- and even small amounts of light can reduce melatonin levels and disrupt sleep.Tip:  Cover all light sources, remove any unnecessary electronics, and try blackout curtains if you have windows. 
  1. Avoid technology for at least 90 minutes before bed!  (I know this one feels almost impossible for me too….but I’m going to do this too!)This includes the computer, TV and even using your cell phone.
  2. Adjust your thermostat to around 65 degrees– that temperature has been shown to promote the highest quality of sleep in most people.  (I have been making our bedroom 69 degrees at night and I HAVE noticed a difference! So I’ll have to try 65 degrees now….WOW! ) 
  1. Reduce noise that has the potential to get into your room if possible.  Or- if you need some background, white/calming noise, There are many free apps for this.  You can turn your phone upside down so the light doesn’t disturb you if someone texts you in the middle of the night.)
  2. Choose the right mattress! Make sure you’re getting enough support.  Your mattress should be replaced at least every 5-10 years depending on the quality of the mattress and how well you sleep.  You should also flip it  (bottom to top).
  3. Keep the air inside your home clean and fresh.  Studies have directly linked indoor air pollution with some of the sleeping disorders.Tip:Keep plants inside your home or try an inexpensive air filter or purifier.

Your challenge this week is to implement 1 or more of these strategies and aim for 7.5-9 hours of quality sleep!   Are you in? Let me know in the comments section below if you’re in!

Let’s do this Monday Challenge!  Get out of your comfort zone and create your extra ordinary life today!!

Get Your Mo-Momentum and keep it going!

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Amanda Mittleman

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