|It is common to read that the expert recommendation for the amount of sleep we need is anywhere from 6 to 8 hours or maybe even 9 hours a night.|
I find this interesting because of the way sleep is actually calculated. For example, you go to bed at 11 and wake up at 7. So then you think, well I believe I slept all night and I fell asleep quickly so must have got almost 8 hours sleep. But did you?
We have 4 Stages of sleep: Wake, Light, Deep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement – our dream state). The wake stage can happen many times in the night as we cycle in and out of the other stages. The wake cycles do not necessarily mean you become wide awake or even notice that you woke up.
I often monitor my own sleep at night with a device. Now I realize that these devices are not totally accurate but they do give you an idea of what went on during your sleep. Certainly more information than you are consciously aware. In reviewing my own wake cycles I range anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours of wake ups a night, all without my awareness.
This means you could be in bed thinking you slept 7 to 8 hours when you really only maybe had 5 to 6 hours of sleep. This is because wake up cycle does not count as sleep. This also means it is not time to panic over it. Instead go by how you feel when you wake up. Do you feel great when you wake up? Do you have energy? Or do you feel like you need more sleep? Do you have energy all day? Or do you need a nap at some point in the day?
Despite years of research, science still has much more to learn about sleep. What it can tell us though is that without sufficient sleep, we leave ourselves susceptible to a variety of physical or psychological health conditions. Pinpointing how much sleep we need, however, is still really guess work, based on that a lack of sufficient sleep can result in symptoms or health conditions.
And if you are not sleeping and not getting at least 6 hours sleep a night, this hardly matters because you are not getting the minimum amount of sleep. I remember when I felt like I never slept and when I started to get a solid 4 hours sleep a night I was really elated and felt fantastic, at least in the short term.
So maybe the focus should not be on the hours you sleep but how you feel when you wake up. Stop focussing on how much you got or how little sleep you got and more on how you feel. Watching the clock or agonzing on how little sleep you think you got just might be adding to your sleeplessness.
Perhaps you might like to experiment. When you wake up and you feel like you did not get a great night’s sleep, how about saying to yourself, wow I did manage to get some great sleep. See how that feels in your body.
Think of what went right, not what went wrong.
And if it is not working for you, maybe you might want to have a conversation with me on how to change that.
Here is a link to book that call: https://calendly.com/hearttoheartnutrition/appointment-call