Here's what you're doing wrong.
You need to take a look at your sleep cycles. Zzzzzzzz boring!! I know. But helpful for those of you that wake up feeling tired and aren’t quite sure why. Understanding how sleep works can help you take control of your sleep health and reap the true rewards of a restful night's sleep. A good night’s sleep will improve your ability to cope with stress, solve problems and recover from illness. Considering we spend around one-third of our lives asleep, we should try to do it right or at least improve it if we feel there's something off.
What Are Sleep Cycles?
During the night the body and brain alternates between two different types of sleep, REM sleep and NREM sleep (non-REM). After each sleep cycle you loop into the next.
REM and NREM Explained (double Zzzzzzzz!)
When in NREM we are drifting from light sleep into a deeper state of sleep, our blood pressure drops and our heart and breathing rates slow, which makes it more difficult for us to be woken up.
The remainder of time spent asleep is spent in REM, a lighter sleep. A Lot of the characteristics of REM are the opposite of NREM. Blood pressure is higher, breathing and heart rates are quicker.
As we sleep our body cycles through NREM and REM sleep, starting usually in stage 1 of REM and passing through the other stages of NREM sleep, followed by a short period of REM sleep. Then the cycle begins all over again at Stage 1!! Each stage of the sleep cycle is important as they are responsible for the recovery, health and efficiency of different systems.
What you’re doing wrong: The snooze will not serve you!!
Your first REM sleep period is short and as the night goes on and you approach the morning, you spend more time in REM sleep and less time in a deep sleep (NREM). This is our natural body clock preparing ourselves to wake up. Often people wake before their alarm goes off because their body clock is programmed to.
What we do wrong in this case, is we are delighted to get a few more minutes of sleep, so we turn over and bury our heads in the pillow. Sending ourselves back to sleep from an awake state. This starts our cycle all over again, meaning less time is spent in the REM sleep (wake up state) and more time is spent in NREM (deep sleep). Often the body slides quickly back into deep sleep, the sleep you don’t want to be woken from. Which is not ideal 10 minutes before your morning alarm!!
The same issue occurs when you hit that snooze button!! Eventually when you do go to wake up, you are waking yourself from a deep sleep. You’re groggy, tired and despite those blissful 8 hours, you feel absolutely wrecked!! Scientifically it makes complete sense. We are not supposed to be woken from this stage of the sleep cycle. Now you are pulling your body from a state where all bodily systems are at their slowest to a full-speed pressure to jump out of bed because you’re more than likely running late.
As for those serial snooze button users who set 10 alarms in the morning spaced 5 minutes apart, how's your groggy morning treating you? You’re forcing your body to be repeatedly woken from a deep sleep 10 times in the one morning! What did your poor body do to deserve this after sleeping so perfectly and cycling towards the morning in preparation for a nice, simple wake up?
What you need to try:
If you wake up in the morning before your alarm, get up.Your body has cycled towards the morning and is ready to wake at that time. Have a shower, brush your teeth or put on your morning coffee, to change your state and distract yourself from the habit of returning to sleep. I promise, within a few minutes you will feel awake and well rested.
If your alarm goes off, do the exact same thing. Don’t think about it. Get up. Your body has naturally cycled through NREM and REM sleep and spent more time near the morning in a light sleep. You are ready to be woken. If you press snooze and drift off again you are extremely likely to be woken from a deep sleep, in 5 minutes time. Inducing that ratty, sleepy, tired, disoriented state.
I promise, it’s not worth it.
Continue reading: Sleep FAQ's
How do I choose the right pyjamas?
- Materials: Choose the right fabrics. Make sure to find something soft, light and breathable such as Cotton.
- Fit: Choose an oversized fit or style. This will help ensure that you are comfortable and not restricted while sleeping.
- Style: Choose a style that you will feel comfortable wearing. Putting on some stylish sleepwear can leaving you feeling pampered and release tones of 'feel-good' endorphins.
- Spend a little more: Luxury sleepwear, made from quality fabrics are worth the investment. After all, you spend over a third of your life asleep!
How do I improve my sleep health?
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Establishing a regular sleep schedule can help your body maintain consistent sleep patterns.
- Avoid taking naps during the day. Although naps can be beneficial in certain situations, taking them regularly can interfere with nighttime sleep.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine near bedtime. These substances can interfere with sleep.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help improve your sleep quality, but avoid exercising close to bedtime.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow.
- Try relaxation techniques. Before bed, take some time to relax and clear your mind. Try deep breathing, meditation, or journaling.
- Avoid electronics before bed. The blue light from screens can interfere with your sleep. Try to avoid using electronics at least an hour before bed.
- Talk to your doctor if you are still having trouble sleeping. If you are regularly experiencing insomnia or other sleep issues, it may be time to talk to your doctor.
Why should I stop snoozing my alarm?
- Snoozing your alarm can disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder to wake up and stay awake throughout the day.
- Being late can have serious consequences, including loss of productivity, high stress levels, increased risk of mistakes and overall reduced motivation.
- When you snooze, you’re losing out on valuable time that you could be using to get ahead on your goals and priorities.
- Snoozing can be a sign of a larger sleep issue such as insomnia or sleep apnea, so it’s important to get to the root of the problem and address it.
How do I break the habit of snoozing my alarm?
- Put your alarm clock out of reach. Having to get out of bed to turn off the alarm can make it more difficult to hit the snooze button.
- Change your alarm sound. Choose something that is unpleasant or jarring, so that it wakes you up more effectively.
- Set several alarms. Instead of relying on the snooze button, use multiple alarms with different tones and intervals.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. If you’re feeling overly tired, you may be tempted to hit the snooze button more often.
- Give yourself a reward. When you manage to get out of bed without snoozing your alarm, reward yourself with something special.
- Get an accountability partner. Ask a friend or family member to be your accountability partner, and have them check in with you in the morning.
- Stay positive. Focusing on the positive aspects of your morning routine can make it easier to get out of bed.