If you’re wondering what sleep has to do with mental strength, consider how easily your resolve deteriorates when you’re tired. Your ability to focus and persevere depends on a number of different factors, including how much sleep you’re getting. The more rested you are in the morning, the more alert you will be, and the more prepared you will be to meet the day’s challenges. Here’s a quick way to improve your sleep habits.
The Sleep Cycle
There are 5 sleep stages and it takes your body roughly 90 minutes to get through one cycle. If you’re really groggy when the alarm goes off, it’s probably because you’re in stage 4 or 5. Notice that when you wake up to go to the bathroom, it’s usually not that hard. That’s because you’re only going to wake up for something like that when you’re in one of the lighter stages.
If you want to make it easier to get up in the morning, try timing your sleep in 90 min intervals, so your alarm will go off somewhere around the time you come out of a deep sleep stage. If you keep multiplying 90 minute intervals, you’ll find that they occur at 1.5 hrs, 3 hrs, 4.5 hrs, 6 hrs, 7.5 hrs and 9 hrs. You may not hit it perfectly, but at least you’ll be closer to a light sleep stage when the alarm goes off.
My Own Experience
For example, I got only TWO full cycles tonight. That’s roughly 3 hours, but I had no problem waking up. In fact, instead of waking up with my 5 a.m. alarm, I found myself awake at 4:45, which was when I was most alert. If I had told myself that I could get away with another 15, or even 30 minutes, I would have slipped back into another cycle and found it really hard to get up. So I just took advantage of it, did a few burpees and made some coffee.
It is now 5:45 a.m., I’ve been writing for 30 minutes, and I’m feeling alright! I’ll need a nap later, of course, since I only got 3 hours of sleep. But it’ll be 90 minutes long, to coincide with another sleep cycle. I’m not saying you should sleep twice like I do, because that might not be possible for someone with a regular day job. I do it because I’m self-employed and find that it works better for me. But even if you get your sleep all at once, it can still benefit you to keep those cycles in mind when you get ready for bed and set your alarm.
I’ve been researching sleep for years, due to the difficulty I’ve always had getting enough of it. What I’m telling you here is the most helpful info I’ve been able to find on the subject. I’m not saying you’re going to feel like running a marathon this way. What I am saying is that it beats stumbling out of bed at the worst possible time, or missing the alarm and being late for work.
Remember that fighting your body’s natural rhythms is a terrible waste of energy. Save that for life’s bigger challenges. You’ll need all the mental strength you can get!
Have a good one!