Sleep Cycles: How to Ensure You Get Enough Sleep

Sleep – we all need it yet so many people go through their days, weeks, and months, feeling sleep-deprived and exhausted.  We reach for coffee cups and energy-boosting supplements because it is simply not possible to get the full 8 hours of sleep; which has previously been considered the optimal amount of sleep for thriving adults.

If you struggle to get enough sleep, there is a new method on the market which may be the perfect match for you: counting your sleep cycles.  

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One sleep cycle lasts for approximately 90 minutes and moves through the phases of sleep from a light sleep, to a deep sleep, to the dream phase (also known as REM), and then back to the light sleep phase.  The ideal number of sleep cycles required for a good night’s sleep has been calculated to be 5 or 6 sleep cycles.

The reason counting sleep cycles is important is because waking up in the middle of one 90 minute sleep cycle is the culprit for our exhaustion filled days.  

When we wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, our bodies are interrupted which leaves us feeling groggy, grumpy, and struggling to crawl out of bed (let alone spring out of bed with a smile across our faces).  

However, if we wake up once one sleep cycle has finished, and before the other begins, we are guaranteed to start the day feeling refreshed and ready to work to the best of our ability.

I want you to think of the mornings when you have had a full, uninterrupted, 8 hours of sleep and yet have still felt terrible vs the mornings when you have had a few hours of sleep and yet you feel great – this is the difference between hours of sleep and number of sleep cycles.  

This may sound complicated, but do not despair!  There are simple ways to find out what time you should be going to sleep, or what time you should wake up.  

There are numerous sleep calculators available online where you can input the time you need to wake up to find out what time you should go to sleep – and vice versa.  These calculators help you to get the correct amount of sleep that your body really needs.

Do you struggle to fall asleep?  Here are a few solutions to ensure you are able to fall asleep at your ideal bedtime:

1.) Switch Off All Screens:

And I mean all of them!  Electronic devices should be switched off at least 1 hour before bedtime.  I know this is incredibly difficult in today’s world, which glorifies working into the night or falling asleep while watching your favourite movie.  

But the brain is incredibly active while it takes in all of the information you’re looking into on your electronic devices, which influences its ability to shut down at the end of the day.  Imagine a small child is given a lot of candy and then he is asked to sit down and be still; it is simply not possible.  

2.) Ensure Your Hormone Levels Are Stable:

Did you know that your hormone levels can have an effect on your sleeping patterns?

In women, low oestrogen levels can have a significant effect on their ability to sleep (or lack thereof).  Hormonal medication, such as the birth control pill, can be responsible for hormonal imbalances in women and can cause restlessness and disturbed sleep.

In men, low testosterone levels can have the same effect.  Men can use testosterone boosters to ensure the maintenance of good hormone levels in the body.  

Testosterone boosters stimulate the body to produce more testosterone, which improves muscle growth; strength; bone density; and sleep.  There are numerous testosterone boosters available online which are an inexpensive way to ensure the body is functioning at its optimal level.

There are also natural ways to improve your testosterone levels which can be viewed in this article.

3.) Do Not Sleep In:

Sleeping in on the weekends only disturbs the sleeping patterns which you have worked so hard to maintain during the workweek.

Ditch the idea that you have to sleep in on the weekends and get out of bed, prepare yourself a nice breakfast, and wake up slowly to a day of relaxation – getting out of bed does not mean that you have to be busy.  

Do not forget, our bodies thrive when in a routine.  The constant breaking of a routine is the reason it can be so difficult to maintain a decent sleep pattern.

4.) Only Use Your Bed For Sleep:

Do not eat in bed, do not watch TV in bed, and do not work in bed!  Your bed must be a place of total relaxation.  The only two things which may take place in bed are: sleep and sex.  There should not be other associations with the bed which may turn it into a stress inducing environment.

Sleep is a wonderful thing which can lead to weight-loss; fight anxiety and depression; help you to function at your optimum level of efficiency; and improve your sex life.  Therefore, it is important to have everything set up for a good night of uninterrupted rest.

The busy lives we lead gets in the way of our sleep, which is why the sleep calculator is the ideal method to ensure that our busy lives do not impact negatively on our health.

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Catherine Grant is an Editor-in-Chief of TopTestosteroneBoosters.org

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