The right sleep can transform your life and business. Sleep is imperative for clarity, consistency, energy, and positivity.
When you get the right type and amount of sleep you will achieve more goals and have more success.
Sleep is a foundation that supports everything else in our life and business.
When you have a bad sleep, how likely are you to show up in your business, or exercise, and how irritable are you?
The complications from a lack of sleep
Without sleep, your brain doesn’t fully recover during the night. The science behind sleep is that you have spinal fluid that will give your brain a bath and clean out the metabolites and toxins you don’t need. When you wake up foggy, you most likely didn’t get enough brain restorative time. That happens during deep sleep.
The other end of the spectrum is time spent dreaming. This phase is the mental restoration needed for mental health. This gives us a balance check for our emotional state.
When you have good sleep, you have better clarity, are more creative, can problem-solve, and can read expressions and body language better. These things factor into being a good entrepreneur. Without good sleep, you aren’t as productive.
Sleep helps you show up and make good decisions to achieve a successful life and business.
You may not be getting as much sleep as you think you are
There are four different awake times during the night. When you turn the lights out, your brain doesn’t sleep on command. Depending on how busy your brain is, the time to fall asleep varies.
The time it takes you to fall asleep is called your sleep latency.
People generally wake up every 60 to 90 minutes between sleep cycles. Most of the time, people are unaware of this because they quickly put themselves back to sleep.
Sleep is also interrupted by a noise in the night, or having to use the bathroom.
Or, you could have an adrenaline surge resulting from stress throughout the day.
Lastly, the brain pulls you out of sleep in the morning.
It is important to recognize how quickly you are able to fall back to sleep once you wake up.
How to get better, less interrupted sleep
Identify why you are waking up. Evaluate how you can make your soundscape in your room and adjust.
If you wake up because you have to go to the bathroom multiple times, evaluate how much water you are drinking and how close to bed you are drinking it.
Also evaluate whether you are a human being, being present, or a human doing. If you are going from to-do item to to-do item you become hypervigilant and your cortisol levels remain higher. This can wake you up.
How to fall asleep faster
One of the worst things you can do when you wake up during the night is pick up your phone. The spectrum of blue light on your phone influences your melatonin levels. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Blue light from your phone causes melatonin to drop near zero.
Keep your phone face down.
The second thing you can do is breathe. When you inhale your heart rate increases and speeds up. when you exhale your heart rate decreases or slows down. This influences the fight or flight mechanism.
The Physiological Sigh
If you are feeling anxious or on edge in the middle of the night, you can use the physicological sigh to slow your heart rate. Breathe in and then take a second breath in. Inhale through the nose, sneak in a little more air, then exhale through the mouth. Repeat this two to three times and it will begin to lower your heart rate. This exercise will take you out of flight or fight mode. Extend the exhale compared to the inhale.
What to do to ensure good sleep
During the daytime, you can nap but only for 10 to 30 minutes. More than 30 minutes of nap time can eliminate sleep pressure. Sleep pressure is how you feel most alert in the morning when you wake up. During the day, adenosine accumulates in the brain. Sleep removes adenosine. So when you nap, it can make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you don’t have trouble falling asleep at night, a nap can be a good way to have a mid-day recovery session. Naps should be before 3 pm and short.
Light is the most potent stimulator for our brain. Not only the amount but the color and the brightness. Tanessa recommends the sunset simulator. Imagine a nice sunny day. In the evening, the sun begins to set and is lower in the sky and yellow and pink, very lovely. The change in light intensity, color, and level in the sky tells your brain it is nighttime. Your brain then knows to release melatonin and decrease cortisol. Biologically, this is how we’ve evolved. But now there is electricity and devices. Blue light stimulates our brain and therefore it doesn’t know to calm down, release melatonin, and relax. Even if you are able to fall asleep, it will take hours to reach restorative sleep and you will feel poorly the next day.
Sleep and Mental Health and Anxiety
Our ability to manage our mental health is determined by our rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM is the only time our body doesn’t produce adrenalin and cortisol. It is therapy for the brain. Dr. Mathew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep, is a good resource for additional information on this topic. People who don’t have enough REM sleep tend to have more dramatic reactions. They have less control over the pendulum swing of emotions. If you don’t get enough REM sleep you are more likely to feel anxious, and lack calm and clarity, capability, and competence. Getting enough REM sleep allows you to have emotional control.
When people remember dreams, they woke up in the middle of a dream or had a dream during light sleep.
About Tanessa Shears
Tanessa Shears is a kinesiologist, certified sleep science coach, health consultant, and host of the Becoming Limitless Podcast. She helps entrepreneurs scale their businesses by optimizing their health, focus, and productivity with science and biohacking. Tanessa works closely with business owners to implement effective sleep, nutrition, movement, and out-of-the-box stress management strategies so they can eliminate brain fog and wake up feeling well-rested, energized, and focused.