I feel like a zombie, I just need to sleep!
There are many life circumstances that can interrupt our sleep patterns. Especially those with really young children… it’s okay momma, this will eventually get better. Sleep when they sleep, and do the best you can, you’re already a superstar! For the rest of you though, these circumstances should be temporary, returning to good sleep when a certain situation has passed. We know for most people though it just doesn’t work that way. That’s tough because lacking sleep has such massive impacts on your waking life.
But what is good sleep?
What do we actually mean by saying ‘good sleep’? It means that you are able to fall asleep quickly when you go to bed, that you stay asleep all night, or if you have to get up for some reason you are able to fall right back to sleep, and that you feel rested when you wake up in the morning.
Then why are you tired when your alarm goes off?
Notice I didn’t say it’s a certain number of hours per night as that will vary for everyone. Generally, it works with your sleep cycle, which for most people is around 90 minutes, making up a longer cycle of 3 hours, with variations of sleep depth at 45 minutes. This is why “8 hours” doesn’t always work for everyone. In fact, often we will see more people that do well with 6hr, 7.5hr, or 9 hours of sleep.
Saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is actually going to lead you there early.
Sleep is so important because the time when you are sleeping, and deeply sleeping, is when your body does its healing processes. It is also when your digestion regulates itself from the day, your immune system regulates itself, and your brain processes all of the things you saw and heard that day, as well as cleans up the biproducts of its cellular metabolism. In fact, the time when you are deeply asleep is the only time that your brain will do its clean up and processing. So, lack of sleep not only impacts energy, it will also impact your mood, your digestion, your hormone regulation, your immune system function, and your memory.
3 simple ways to improve sleep
Begin with setting a regular bedtime and wake up time, that remains the same every day, regardless of being a work day or weekend. Wind down before bed by turning off all screens (tv, phone, or tablet) at least 1 hour before bed. And exercise at some point in the day, the best time being in the morning, but any time is good as long as you don’t feel too stimulated afterwards if it is just before bed. This helps to regulate your sleep wake cycle and will improve sleep, as well as mood and digestion.