Self-Care: Sleep

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alone-bed-bedroom-blur-271897Inadequate sleep is considered one of the big modifiable risk factors for chronic disease and sleep deprivation can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Most of us sleep for shorter periods of time through the week and then try to “catch up” on weekends. Unfortunately, it seems that we can’t catch up on our sleep debt and the habits of changing your bedtime and wake up times can actually make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.

Most new smart phones and activity watches come with a sleep tracking algorithm that can provide you some insights into your sleep quality:

  • Spend at least 85% of your time in bed asleep
  • Fall asleep within 30 minutes of turning the lights out
  • Waking up briefly and falling back to sleep quickly.

You can also take this quiz to find out how well you’re sleeping!

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a practice of good habits that can help you maximize your sleep and wake up feeling well-rested. Good sleep hygiene includes:

  • Maintaining a constant bedtime/wake up time (within 30 minutes, and yes, even on weekends)
  • Keeping your bedroom dark and cool
  • Unplugging from screens at least 30 minutes before you go to bed
  • Not doing work in bed

My Current Routine

I’ve always been pretty good at sleeping – I had a self-imposed bedtime of 8:30pm for all of high school. My sister (who was in middle school at the time) was going to bed closer to midnight. Right now, I am balancing 3 jobs – I work remotely from home and teach some fitness classes. I usually wake up around 7 and am working by 7:30. On Mondays, I teach fitness until 10pm, so I am not home until 10:30. My usual bedtime is 10:30 so I’m usually not in bed until 11:30 by the time I’ve unwound from work – I’ve been finding that day really throws me off. I have a sunrise alarm clock that I use and have been trying to keep the lights dim in my apartment after 7pm. I  have been napping most days in the afternoon for approximately 30 minutes but am still finding myself to be pretty fatigued on most days.

Oura Ring & Scores

I got myself an Oura Ring for Christmas and have been using it measure my baseline patterns for the last month. It gives 3 “global scores” out of 100: sleep, readiness, and activity which are a composite of a bunch of different metrics (which you can check out here). My readiness and activity scores are overlayed with my sleep scores for the last month below. A score above 85 for each of these is considered above average (i.e. the target). My readiness score is quite a bit lower than my sleep and activity scores -a higher readiness score suggests my activity/sleep patterns are in balance and my body is more ready for me to push it physically. A lower readiness score suggests I should target more recovery, improve sleep, etc.

Comparison of my sleep and readiness scores for February.

sleep & activity

New Strategies:

Over the next month I will be implementing one new sleep strategy a week in hopes the cumulative effect will improve my sleep score! Each of these strategies are from The Ripple Effect.

  1. Saving my caffeine for the morning
  2. Defending my last hour
  3. Keeping my room dark and cool
  4. Sleeping 7-8 hours a night
  5. Napping guilt free
  6. Waking up Naturally

Stay tuned for an update on how I’m feeling at the end of the month!

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/sleep

https://www.sleep.org/articles/sleep-trackers-information-matters/

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