Quality Sleep Matters
Greatness is on the other side of sleep and if you're looking to get a jump start on some big goals this year, it all begins with a quality night of rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of 8 hours of sleep per night for adults, but research indicates that too many people are falling short of that mark. Human beings are the only species who deliberately deprive themselves of sleep, culminating in minimal gains. Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it. Lack of sleep — defined as 6 hours or fewer — can have serious consequences, producing problems in concentration, a decline in memory, degradation of the immune system, and may even shorten the life span.
There are two essential kinds of sleep: non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM). NREM sleephelps the body wind down and fall into a deep sleep, enabling the feeling of a more rested morning. NREM sleep helps the body physically heal, recover from illness, and deal with stress. NREM sleep can also help boost the immune system.Alternatively, REM sleep affects mood, memory, and learning efficiency. Getting enough REM sleepcan improve recall and memory consolidation and help the brain regulate the synapses associated with some types of motor learning. REM sleep is the sleep phase closest to wakefulness and where dreaming occurs.
Sleep is not uniform. Instead, over the course of the night, your total sleep is made up of several rounds of the sleep cycle, which is composed of four individual stages. In a typical night, a person goes through four to six sleep cycles1. Not all sleep cycles are the same length, but on average they last about 90 minutes each.
Notable Negative impacts that affect quality sleep:
· High levels of stress
· Lack of movement and exercise
· Indulgence in processed foods
· A high caffeine intake
· Blue lights (i.e., computers, cell phones, tablets) an hour before bed
· Alcohol consumption
· Naping after 3 pm
Notable Positive actions that affect quality sleep:
· Sticking to a sleep schedule
· Leaving time to relax before getting in bed
· Taking a hot bath
· Sleeping in a cool (around 65 F)/darkroom (or eye mask)
· Sunlight exposure or Vitamin D supplements during the day
Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity. It is your life support system, and it is Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality. And with that, I will simply say good night, good luck, and above all, I do hope you sleep well.