Are you having issues with your sleep? This series will assist you in catching more zzzzzs!
Have you noticed that almost everyone suddenly thinks they’re a sleep expert now? Do a little research and you've become an expert. I'm not going to tell you that I'm a sleep expert, nope, I'm simply going to share some of the hacks that I've learned and successfully used with my clients and myself.
If you haven’t noticed, or are living under a rock, which could be possible, our bodies have not evolved as quickly as our technology. Our world around us has evolved, notice the 24 hours of sound, noise makers, blue light emitting from every corner of the house. Our physiology, the inner wisdom of our amygdala, is always going to try and win. Yes, your body is always going to protect itself, it is always going to try to find a solution even if it's through a glass of wine or Tylenol PM, you need your sleep, and that ancient brain will find a way to put you to rest... even if it's not the best idea!
Let me break this sleep issue into bite size pieces. Sleep is the most important element needed for us to survive, well, that and water, notice I didn’t say thrive, although we need it to thrive as well! One of the first areas I question and put under review with a new client is their current sleep cycle and needs; what exactly do they need? Remember EVERY BODY is unique. Some people only need 6 hours while others need 9, in asking a series of questions we can find out what that number really should be for the specific individual.
Often, I have had to put on my sleep hacker hat and test what we are doing, but before we do that we need to review our days and really understand how many hours we’re putting into each day.
Is it possible to achieve the proper amount of sleep for your body with the demands that you have placed on yourself?
Let’s look at the record. What are you doing every day? What time are you waking up and what time are you putting your head down on the pillow? How many hours are you working? Here are some of the questions I ask in my sleep reset guide. >>> Grab the entire guide here.
SLEEP reset questionnaire (sample of some of the questions)
- What time would you normally wake if you had no alarm clock?
- If you did not have to wake at a certain time are you a night owl or a morning lark?
- Do you prefer to stay up late or wake up early?
What does your day demand?
- Hours of work --
- Gym time
- Grocery/food shopping
- Meal prep
- Eating time
- Kid time /homework
- Bath and shower time
- Study time
- Other time
- Relaxation time
- Account for every hour in your day.
After you do this you can then find or assess what a reasonable hour is to put your head to the pillow. For example, I’m going to use my client, Sarah a full-time employee at a well-funded startup and a mom of two. She begins her day at 6:50 am rushing to get the boys off to school, and her husband out the door, she herself goes hard all day. What she and I discovered through the sleep reset was in order for her to be running at optimal performance and have enough hours to complete her daily tasks, she had to be in bed by 9:30 pm. Before working with me she was passing out around 11:30pm-12am after two glasses of wine, she forced herself into folding laundry, making lunches and hanging out with her husband every night. After a few sessions, we came to find out that she’s actually a Lark, and gets way more done in the early hours of her life rather than the later evening hours like her husband does. She took a drastic step and told her husband that she was changing her bedtime. Her husband gave a little pushback, “What am I going to do, now?” was his big concern. I had her stand strong on this and explain more about her sleep cycle when he heard more about her needs and what would happen if she slept earlier he was happy to have her go off to bed earlier. She now wakes at about 5:30am-6:00 feeling alive. She is more productive in that first part of her day than any other part of it, she even has time to work out before her kids are up and racing for breakfast.
Change is hard, but as you can see with Sarah after the initial investigation and the conversation with her husband she was able to start sleeping more deeply. We also tracked her sleep and found that when she hit the pillow at 9:45 her REM sleep cycle increased 3x. AMAZING!