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SLEEP - Master Your Zzz's with Metrics and Pro Tips

Sleep isn't just a time-out from our busy lives; it's the ultimate tune-up for our brain and body.

Let's break down the sleep cycle, find out what "good" really looks like, and explore how to nudge your nightly rest into the "great" category.

Understanding Sleep Metrics

REM Sleep: This is your dream stage, folks. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and it's crucial for processing emotions and consolidating memories. Adults should aim for about 20-25% of their sleep in this phase. That's roughly 1.5-2 hours if you're clocking the standard 8 hours.

Deep Sleep: The restoration phase. Deep sleep is where your body repairs itself, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. You'll want to spend about 13-23% of your sleep here. Falling short? You might wake up feeling like you've wrestled a bear.

Light Sleep: Not just filler time. Light sleep makes up the majority of our night and plays a role in memory and learning. While there's no "goal" percentage, ensuring you're not dipping too much into light sleep at the expense of REM and deep stages is key.

Factors That Mess With Your Sleep

Blue Light Brigade: Yep, screens are the enemy of sleep. The blue light emitted tricks your brain into thinking it's daylight, messing with your melatonin levels.

Caffeine and Alcohol: The dynamic duo of sleep disruption. Caffeine can linger in your body for up to 8 hours, while alcohol might knock you out but robs you of REM sleep.

Stress: Ever tried to sleep with your brain running a marathon? Stress is a major sleep quality killer, keeping you from entering those deeper, restorative stages.

Boosting Your Sleep Quality

Routine Reigns Supreme: Stick to a sleep schedule.(!!!!) Consistency strengthens your body's sleep-wake cycle.

Create a Sleep Sanctuary: Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a good mattress and pillows that support a restful night.

Mindful of Meals and Movement: Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. Regular exercise can promote better sleep but try not to rev up your heart rate too close to lights out.

Wind Down to Rise Up: Develop a pre-sleep routine that helps you relax. Reading, gentle stretching, or meditation can signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

ATTENTION: That one has helped me personally the most of all tips and tricks. My pre-sleep routine is a 10-minute yoga nidra session followed by a 5-minute breathwork session. It acts like an anchor that is thrown into the deep seas of sleep pulling me in deeper and deeper. I also implemented this with a lot of clients and it has shown immediate effects on REM and Deep Sleep as well as the time required to fall asleep.

Screen Time Shutdown: An hour before bed, start a screen ban. Swap scrolling for soothing activities that don't emit blue light.

Wrapping Up

Improving your sleep is a marathon, not a sprint. (as everything we are aiming for) Small, consistent changes can lead to significant improvements in sleep quality and, by extension, your overall health and well-being.

Remember, tracking your sleep metrics can be enlightening, but don't let numbers dictate your relationship with sleep. Listen to your body, adjust as needed, and have sweet dreams!

Further Resources:

  1. "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker, PhD - Explores the vital importance of sleep, backed by science, and offers advice on enhancing sleep quality.

  2. "The Sleep Solution" by W. Chris Winter, M.D. - Provides insights into sleep disorders and practical steps to achieve better sleep.

  3. "Sleep Smarter" by Shawn Stevenson - Offers 21 strategies to improve sleep, focusing on its impact on health, weight loss, and success.

  4. "The Circadian Code" by Satchin Panda, PhD - Discusses the science of our internal clocks and how timing affects health, including sleep.

  5. "Dreamland" by David K. Randall - An exploration of the science of sleep, covering everything from sleep disorders to the societal impacts of sleep.

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