The key aspects to a healthy lifestyle, as most of us know, include a healthy diet, daily exercise, and getting enough sleep so that your body is able to recover and restore itself effectively. Sleep is one of those things that many of us use as a crutch or even as an excuse, especially when it comes to our lives as entrepreneurs and/or as parents.
Having a late start to your day because you stayed up until 2am to complete some work on your desk? Taking the day off of work because your toddler had a nightmare and you didn’t get enough sleep? We’ve all been there, but it’s important to make sure that you consider your sleep habits to be as important as your positive eating, working, and healthy living habits.
Thanks to Elite Mompreneur member Madelaine Golec of ECO Physio, we’re happy to share these 10 things you need to know about sleep:
No one’s sleep is broken. Unless you have a tumour in a very specific spot in the brain, everyone has the potential to improve their sleep
Treating sleep apnea is of utmost importance. If left untreated, it can result in an enlarged heart. When the airways close during the night, this causes your heart rate to slow down to conserve oxygen. The brain eventually detects a decrease in oxygen and causes your heart rate to increase. It is this increasing and decreasing of heart rate over time that causes the heart to enlarge. Why is this bad? Because it can cause irregular heartbeats resulting in heart attack, stroke or death.
How much sleep do we really need? About 7-9 hours daily. Each person can accumulate a certain amount of sleep debt, meaning the amount of sleep you can lose while remaining functional at the level you want. The amount of debt will depend on age, gender, genetics and medical conditions. It is important to note here that debts must be paid in order to maintain that optimal function.
What are the consequences of not sleeping? Decreased decision making, decreased memory, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased stress, increased pain, slow reaction time, decreased sexual function, weight gain and more. All of this can be reversed by improving sleep.
Not a morning person? Exposing yourself to 15-20 minutes of sunlight in the morning will help wake you up. No sun, no problem – there is a special light you can purchase that has the same effect, called Go-Lite by Philips.
What are the Stages of Sleep? We need about 5 cycles of sleep. Each cycle is 90-120 minutes.
- Light Sleep is stage 1 and 2
- Deep Sleep is stage 3 and 4
- REM Sleep is stage 5
Want a wake up and feel great sleep? Get to bed by 11pm and have good pre-sleep strategies to reduce tossing and turning. Physically rejuvenating sleep occurs in the first 1/3 of the night and may be related to the release of human growth hormone. Optimal release of this hormone occurs from 11pm-7am.
How do naps work?
- A nap with more REM sleep can inspire creativity and heightened perceptions (approx. 70-minute to 90-minute nap)
- A nap with more time in Stage 2 increases alertness and motor skills (approx. 20-minute nap)
- A nap with more slow wave improves memory and learning (approx. 60-minute nap)
What is the perfect nap? Napping at 1 pm for 90 minutes gives you the perfect blend of the stages of sleep and is in line with our circadian rhythm.
10 Things Effective Sleepers Do
- Stick to a schedule – there are lots of sleep apps available.
- Stop working at the same time every day.
- Get ready for the next day before bed.
- Electronic curfew or special screen to block the blue light from iphones, ipads, etc.
- Exercise daily.
- Get sunlight every morning.
- Journal: good and bad.
- Use bed only for sleep or sex.
Madelaine Golec is based out of Mississauga, Ontario, and as a Registered Physiotherapist, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, and owner of ECO Physiotherapy, she is passionate about helping others find their optimal health!
A version of this article was previously published at www.ecophysio.com
Information for this article came from a talk by Dr. Michael Breus, a certified sleep specialist, also known as, “The Sleep Doctor” which can be access from the I Love Marketing Podcast episode 274.
Featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com