Most mornings I wake up feeling as if I haven’t slept at all. Sound familiar? Your alarm wakes you – either in the form of escalating chimes or in the form of a little person making hostage crisis type demands – and your first steps out of bed make you feel like a retired linebacker that’s been eating cotton balls all night. No? Just me? I feel as if I haven’t slept well in years. I know this isn’t actually true because, of course I’d be dead. But between being married to a pager that beeps relentlessly, two little monsters and workouts that leave me feeling sore in 14 different spots each day, plus regular old middle class worries, good sleep isn’t happening. This sleep article has been in draft mode for about 3 weeks but honestly, where do I even begin with this shit?
We know drinking too much black cocaine is bad for sleep, so is too much sugar, soda, alcohol and I assume, actual cocaine but I can’t be totally sure on that one. You’ve got to turn off the screens, keep the room dark and cool (but not too cool), and of course, keep a Navy SEAL level of regularity in your sleep and wake cycles. Translation: extract all joy from your life and you will sleep better. But it’s more than that. It’s the badge of honor of sleep deprivation that I find exhausting.
One of my favorite Greeks has made it her life’s work to lead a sleep revolution.
In The Sleep Revolution, through rigorous research, Arianna shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health…
If Arianna Huffington thinks this is a problem, then it’s a problem. I know better than to argue with a Greek mother.
I know my sleep is patchy at best and since I live an evidence-based life, I downloaded an app called Sleep Cycle. It uses your phone’s microphone to monitor your breathing which then generates a graph of your wake ups and deep sleep rhythms. Here is what my sleep looked like on day 1:
How much time we spend in deep sleep, or REM, varies on so many factors – Psychology Today has a great breakdown. But any dum-dum can see that the graph reflects some low quality sleep. 1am wake ups are the worst.
Because I’m a super big bragger, here’s how much better my sleep got after a few little tweaks.
Other than that 1am wake up again, (eff me) what did I do to reach this textbook-level graph? I made sure I was well hydrated (water, not wine), I didn’t read any NYT headlines before bed (#resist) and also, my alpine-style pyjammas were making me sweaty (ew).
So there it is. My article to support that getting better sleep should be as big a priority as your squat form.