Plotting the Perfect Sleep Schedule to Keep You Healthy
Most of us are aware there is strength in routines. It's why we tend to follow them when we can. Whether it's an exercise routine, a work cycle, or sleep regimen, our bodies seem to respond best when they can predict what's coming next.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the rich and famous often credit their routines for giving them a jumpstart toward success; and when they share their secrets with us, we sit up and pay attention. After all, if it worked for them, it may work for us!
Whether it's actor Mark Wahlberg's ridiculous early-morning gym schedule or a corporate chairwoman planning her mornings around her most important meetings, successful people seem to have some secret the rest of us fear we might be lacking.
For Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, one of those secrets is getting enough sleep:
I get eight hours of sleep unless I'm traveling in different time zones. Sometimes it's impossible but I am very focused on it. For me, I need eight hours of sleep. I think better, I have more energy, my mood is better, all these things. (CNBC)
Which is all very well if you are Jeff Bezos and likely have a personal assistant and staff helping you out. Then there's the rest of us, just trying our best to make it. We clean our bathrooms, do our laundry, and are doing our best to get by with the time, energy, and resources available to an average person.
If we are going to get enough sleep ourselves, we are going to need to know a few key facts. First, how much sleep is enough? Second, how can we set our sleep schedule to accommodate what we need?
How much is enough?
Although opinions on this question vary, there are some foundational principles on which experts seem to agree. While the majority of healthy adults function well when they receive between seven and a half and eight and a half hours of sleep per night, there will always be outliers.
The amount of sleep that a healthy individual needs is largely determined by two factors: genetics and age. Genetics plays a role in both the amount of sleep a person needs, as well as his or her preference for waking up early (these are the so-called "larks," or morning-type individuals) or staying up late (these are the "owls," or evening-type people). Our internal biological clock, which regulates the cycling of many functions including the sleep/wake cycle, can vary slightly from individual to individual. (Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School)
People whose internal clocks run more quickly than the 24-hour cycle will tend to rise early, while those whose clocks run more slowly will stay up later at night. Either way, both groups must find a way to carve out the time to sleep between seven and eight hours per night regardless of their idiosyncrasies.
How can we set our sleep schedules?
Since our bodies tend to crave routines, it's generally not difficult to follow through with them. For many people, the forethought and follow through required to establish a method often prove their downfall.
Don't let that be true of you.
If you're going to establish a good sleep routine, you must begin by creating a consistent wake-up time. In this instance, consistency is critical. Rather than letting each day of the week set a separate pace, find a wake-up time that can remain more-or-less consistent throughout the week (including weekends!). That way your body can establish a steady routine.
After you have a set wake-up time, work backward from that to determine what time you need to go to bed to achieve the optimum hours of sleep.
If setting a consistent bedtime is new to you (or, unique to your adult life), there are a few things you can do to make the change easier.
First, establish an evening relaxation routine planned around your bedtime. Have a nightly bath or a glass of wine. Keep a favorite, juicy novel to read in the evenings just before bed.
Looking forward to these little treats will make your new, earlier bedtime feel like a reward rather than a punishment.
Second, consider shifting your bedtime gradually. If you are currently going to bed after midnight and would like to roll that back a few hours to 10:00 pm, adjust your schedule by thirty-minute increments until you've reached the desired bedtime. Whether you make the change monthly, weekly, or daily is up to you. Progress is progress. Unless you plan to make the switch cold turkey, taking gradual steps is your best bet toward adjusting your bedtime.
How you decide to implement changes to your sleep cycle is much less important than the fact that you follow through; and, sadly, follow-through is more challenging to achieve than most of us might think.
Consider this: although 41 percent of all Americans make New Year's resolutions every January, only 9 percent of them will follow through. That's a gap of 32 percent! Even more alarming, the older someone is, the less likely they may be to keep up with their goals. While nearly 38 percent of people in their 20s complete their resolutions every year, only 16 percent of people over 50 achieve their goals.
Don't be one of those statistics.
You deserve more sleep. You're worth the effort. We believe you can do it!
We Can Help
We are so confident you will achieve the sleep goals that we have committed ourselves to provide you with the tools you need to accomplish them. After all, if you are on a quest for the right amount of sleep, it helps to have a comfy mattress.
Here at Nest Bedding, we carry premium mattresses at affordable rates. If you would like to hear more about the wide varieties we offer, or if you would like to chat about anything else, feel free to stop by one of our showrooms or contact us any time.
We're friendly, knowledgeable, and looking to help you find your best night's sleep. We can answer questions, offer recommendations, and point you toward the best deals.
We can't wait to meet you.