The August Challenge is to sleep 7+ hours for 5 or more nights a week. Hopefully with some extra attention you have been able to catch a few more z’s. In case you need more convincing, read on!
How Sleep Much Sleep Do You Need?
How many hours do you need to thrive? Eight hours is the best. Sleep cycles average 90 minutes each. Five sleep cycles per night satisfy most of our needs. This totals about 7 hours and 30 minutes per night. Chances are, you will require a few minutes to fall asleep and may wake up once or twice in the night. Hence the prescription of 8 hours rest per night. For many, this will leave you feeling rested and ready for the day, but some will need another sleep cycle or 9 hours per night.
Take-away: try to get 8 hours in bed with lights out for a week and see how you feel.
Why to prioritize Sleep
Sleep is when we recover from the previous day, and prepare for the next. On the surface it is simple; to express much energy as you move through life, you must accumulate energy as you sleep. You simply cannot be your best without optimal sleep.
Sleep helps us feel better, regulates our mood, regulates blood sugar, reduces stress, helps build muscle and burn fat. It also helps us be more productive at work or school.
A common analogy to sleep would be finances. If you regularly spend more than your income, you are out of money and not set up for success. If you can earn a bit more than you spend, you can improve your future. I’m sure you see the connection.
Tip #1: Strive to be in bed for 8 hours per night.
Tip #2: Turn down the lights a couple hours before you plan to go to bed. Light is a powerful cue telling the brain to stay awake. Try turning off half the lights in your living space to calm the mind and start to relax. It takes a couple hours of low light to turn the brain down. The dimmer, the better.
Tip #3: Develop your own night time ritual. This helps to regulate your mind and body and prepare you for sleep. This could include brushing your teeth, journaling or planning your tomorrow, stretching or meditation or prayer. Reading a book can also help the sleepiness arrive.
-TED Talk on sleep: https://youtu.be/5MuIMqhT8DM
-Book on sleep: “Why We Sleep” by Dr. Matthew Walker