Good morning! In last week’s blog we started talking about getting a good night’s sleep, which is, in my opinion, the first item that needs to be checked off your wellness routine list if you want to be prepared to make any real transformations or changes to your life. If you are not prepared with a good night’s sleep these simple tasks will seem like chores, your mindset will suffer, and eventually the goals or commitments you have made to and for yourself will become less of a priority. Like me, you may feel guilty, like you’ve failed. I failed a lot. However, everything changed when I decided on a sleep schedule that I stuck to every single day. By doing this I developed healthy sleep patterns, had regular sleep cycles, and woke up feeling rested, energized and motivated to get things done. I had the energy and time to show up and be committed to making beneficial changes to my daily routines for ME. Sleeping well was the first step to putting myself first.
When it comes to sleep, both quantity and quality matter. In regards to quantity most adults feel and function best with 7-9 hours per night. When we talk about quality of sleep we are referring to sleep cycles, the stages of sleep, and the time we spend in each of these stages. “Humans have four distinct stages of sleep: 1, 2, 3, and REM (rapid eye movement). We pass through this cycle four or five times a night, typically in a 1, 2, 3, 2, REM pattern. The whole cycle takes a total of about 90 minutes, at which point it starts over.”
Let’s take a deeper look into the 4 stages of sleep:
- Stage 1 is the lightest phase, a transition zone between fully conscious and sleeping (you’re easily awakened during this stage, and will swear that you never fell asleep—but you did).
- In stage 2, brain waves slow and body temperature drops to prepare for deeper sleep.
- Stage 3, “deep sleep,” is characterized by very slow brain waves (so slow that if you wake during this stage—which is hard to do—you’ll feel groggy and disoriented). This stage is when most tissue growth/repair and hormone secretion occurs. About 75% of sleep time is spent in stages 1-3.