Quality Over Quantity
Everyone has heard about the importance of sleep and that adults should be getting 7-8 hours every night. Quantity is important but what is even more important
is the quality of the sleep that you are getting!
What actually happens when you are asleep? Sleep is when your body rejuvenates itself. Every system is doing a sort of housekeeping; cleaning up things, setting things in order, repairing broken things, getting rid of harmful things, restoring to a reset point
where the body can operate optimally once the sleep cycle ends. I’ve known this for a long time but was amplified to me in the US Army. So much so that I developed the ability to sleep anywhere and at any time! Unconvinced? Well then, let’s geek out a bit!
According to www.sleepdoctor.com, sleep researchers have many theories for why sleep is so important but the two I want to share with you have ties to both mindset and health.
The Restorative Theory
This theory states that during sleep the body literally repairs itself at the cellular level. Studies suggest that sleep is linked to hormones and cells that impact
growth, cell repair, tissue regeneration, immune system efficiency, and the activation of stem cells. Stem cells promote healing and some believe longevity.
The Brain Plasticity Theory
This theory states that brain development and function rely heavily on quality sleep. Good sleep enables the brain to focus, remain alert, and learn new information
Now that you know why you should care about the QUALITY of your sleep, let’s dive in to how you can ensure that you are doing everything you can to optimize the
hours of sleep that you have available. Here’s a technique that you can start using tonight. I challenge you to give it a fair trial for at least 10 nights.
The 3-2-1 Sleep Formula
3 – Three hours before bedtime, STOP EATING!
Ouch, I know that may hit hard for some of you. No popcorn, cookies, chips, pretzels, nuts, fruit, ice cream…no food period. Why? If you eat within 3 hours before bedtime you’ve robbed your body of some of its restoration time. You’ve basically given it
work to do. Instead, drink water (not beer, pop, or juice).
2 – Two hours before bedtime, STOP WORKING! Oh no, this one really smacked some of you…those who can’t ‘not’ answer emails either via laptop or your cellphone…those who are going to
do some “catch up” after the kids go to bed. Why the ‘no work’ rule? Because what you think about 2 hours before bedtime is what your brain will continue to work on when you go to sleep. Instead of doing stress related things like working, consider this 2-hour
window your time to prime your brain with anabolic thoughts and activities to direct the subconscious once you do go to bed. If you are waking up in the morning now and feeling exhausted even after 6-7 hours of sleep, it’s because your brain was focused on
stressful things instead of rejuvenating with uplifting things.
1 – One hour before bedtime, NO SCREENS. No iPAD, no laptop, no cellphone, no TV. Wait, what??? Yes, you read that correctly, no screens. It’s well documented that the blue light from
screens inhibits the release of melatonin which is what signals your body to sleep. Second, most of what you are watching on those screens is stress related…again priming your brain for a night of fitful worrying. What to do instead? Establish your bedtime
routine. Reflect on what you are grateful for, read a book, listen to music, stretch; think of this time as sleep preparation.
Interestingly, the lack of sleep or the lack of quality sleep increases stress. Prolonged periods of stress negatively impact a person’s ability to sleep. See the
problem? If you are stuck in that do-loop then try the 3-2-1 Sleep Formula for 10 nights and see what happens.
www.sleepdoctor.com; Brendon Burchard, Growth Day