Knowing how to improve your sleep cycles is important because it will make a difference to your quality of sleep.
We don’t function at our best if we don’t get enough rest. If we learn more about sleep cycles, we can take appropriate steps to ensure we get a better night’s sleep.
What is a Sleep Cycle?
A sleep cycle is like a stage we go through every time we sleep. There are five cycles we can go through if we give ourselves enough time for sleep.
Each cycle or stage takes around 90 minutes. To get through all the cycles, it’s beneficial to get a minimum of seven and a half hours sleep every night. If we can give ourselves nine hours of sleep, that’s highly beneficial because we’ll get through six sleep cycles.
Benefits of Improving Your Sleep Cycles
Improving our sleep cycle will lead to better quality sleep, however there are additional benefits. These include:
- Waking up feeling rested and relaxed.
- Maintaining a positive mood which means having a healthy attitude throughout the day.
- Feeling more energised and alert.
- Having greater levels of focus or concentration.
- Staying more present which means higher productivity.
By giving more attention to what we can do to improve our sleep cycles, we can have highly productive days.
Getting enough sleep is a big priority for me. As I get up before 5.00am most days, I have to ensure I go to bed by 9.30pm every night.
A change I made recently to improve my quality of sleep is to use a different pillow. I now use an adjustable pillow, which helps improve my posture for a better night’s sleep.
Most pillows don’t adjust well to different body shapes and sizes, which can cause discomfort in the neck and shoulders. Since using the adjustable pillow, I feel I’m getting better rest now. I also don’t experience stiffness in my neck, which I often did when I used a non-adjustable pillow.
5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep Cycles
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to improve our sleep cycles. A few simple changes can make a big difference. Here are five things you can do to improve your sleep cycles to get better quality sleep every night.
- Make sleep a priority. This means committing to getting enough sleep, ideally at least seven and a half hours, every night. Depending on when we want to get up in the morning, that’ll determine what time we should go to sleep. Sleep has to become an essential part of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
- Have a bedtime routine. This means doing specific things before going to bed. Most things we do are habitual, therefore it’s helpful to have habits that will support us in getting better sleep. A critical thing about creating a bedtime routine is to have wind down time. This means relaxing and switching off before going to bed so our brain isn’t highly active.
- Watch what and when you eat. Having a heavy meal just before going to bed isn’t smart because it will affect our sleep. Similarly, we must avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before bed. Paying more attention to nutrition and learning about what’s suitable for our bodies and lifestyle is valuable.
- Create an optimal sleep environment. This can include having a comfortable mattress and pillow, and having the right temperature in the bedroom. Also, ensuring there isn’t any artificial lights by making the room as dark will help. The book, “The Sleep Revolution,” by Arianna Huffington offers many practical things we can do to improve our sleep.
- Learn to listen to your body. We’re all different so something that may work well for one person may not work as well for someone else. Knowing how to listen to signals from our bodies will help us make better choices. For example, if we’re feeling tired, knowing what “feeling tired” means to us can help us decide if we need more sleep or if it’s something else.
The belief, “If you snooze, you lose” doesn’t serve us because we all need adequate sleep to be at our best. Improved sleep will lead to better mental, emotional and physical health. The better we feel, the more intelligent choices we’ll make, which will support us in living a better quality life.
Action Step: Commit to making a sleep a priority. Based on what time you want to get up each morning, work out when you’ll go to sleep so you can get at least seven and a half hours sleep.
Question: What are other things that can do done to improve your sleep cycles?