I often talk about the importance of sleep because it the easiest, cheapest method to extend your life, slow aging, lower your risk of disease, and maintain your overall health. Getting quality sleep every night is crucial to a longer, stronger life. Following a good night’s sleep – you need a good morning routine to keep those benefits going all day long.
When You Snooze…You Lose!
How you start your morning can impact the rest of your day! In fact, that “snooze button” problem could be tanking your productivity and energy levels.
In the United States, more than half of the population hits the snooze button every day!
No big deal, right? After all, nothing feels better than snagging a little “extra” time in bed when your alarm goes off. A few more minutes on your pillow doesn’t hurt anything!
Except for the fact that alarm clocks already disrupt brain activity – preventing you from natural wakefulness – and the snooze button repeats this process over and over!
The Rhythm of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can damage your memory, decision-making skills, ability to focus, and how you process information. In your body, there are three “rhythms” that regulate your system functions. You’re born with these “clocks” and they work throughout your life.
- Ultradian rhythms last less than twenty-four hours. Your heartbeat, digestive system, and the functions of your endocrine system – and its’ release of hormones – are all governed by ultradian rhythms.
- Circadian rhythms are cycles that last approximately twenty-four hours. The most well-known example of this type of rhythm is your sleep cycle.
- Infradian rhythms are those that last for longer than a day. A good example of the infradian rhythm is the female menstrual cycle.
If any of these rhythms are interrupted, the result can be body-wide chaos. A good signifier of this is how susceptible overnight workers are to weight gain and major depression.
REM sleep is crucial to your health. It is the deepest level of sleep, when your body repairs itself. When your alarm sounds, your body releases “fight or flight” hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that jar you from peaceful sleep suddenly.
If you’re already depriving your body of sleep, the snooze habit makes it worse! Your mental clarity suffers and you may feel sluggish or confused until you “fully” wake up.
To make matters exponentially worse, you probably supplement those feelings of exhaustion with coffee or sweets to give yourself a jolt.
You keep “fooling” your body with the snooze button (you’re getting more sleep) and coffee or energy drinks (artificial stimulation) – when the answer is very simple. A good morning routine starts with getting enough sleep in the first place!
3 Tips for Ditching Your Snooze Habit
1. Put your alarm clock (or phone) across the room so you must get out of bed to turn it off. You shouldn’t have your phone beside your bed anyway…that’s been proven to disturb your ability to sleep deeply.
2. Set it for when you “really” need to get up so you begin breaking the habit of using it.
3. Use a peaceful method – such as music – that steadily increases in volume to bring you gently out of sleep.
A century ago, our ancestors didn’t have the option to “snooze” getting up. They didn’t even have alarm clocks! You can get your mind and body back to that natural method of sleeping and waking with practice.
The biggest part of that is forming a habit. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. Over time, your body will become accustomed to the good morning routine and you’ll be able to wake without an alarm clock at all.
This could take anywhere from a few days to a few months (set a backup alarm just in case) but you can train your own rhythms to the sleep pattern that’s best for you.
5 Keys to Getting Quality Sleep Every Night
- Exercise for half an hour every day! Nothing makes your body experience an incredible nights’ sleep like a brisk walk. No matter whether you do yoga, swimming, or take your pet around the block…get moving for the best sleep you’ve ever had!
- Unplug from the digital world! Whether your “drug” of choice is your television, computer, or smartphone, it causes your brain to be overstimulated right before sleep – making it harder to sleep and achieve that all-important REM sleep. At least an hour before you’re ready to sleep, shut it all down and allow your waking mind to rest.
- Pay attention to everything you eat and drink. Cut back on coffee, alcohol, sugary treats, and especially cigarettes near bedtime since they cause inflammation. Make sure you stop eating solid foods a couple of hours before bed to keep from feeling overly full while trying to rest.
- Make your sleep space wonderful! Consider a soothing shower before bed to wash away the grime of your day (even dead skin cells you’ve been shedding). When you climb into bed, make sure everything about your sleep space transmits “calm” feelings. From your sheets to your pillow to the color of your walls…environment matters!
- Give yourself “permission” to get the sleep you need! You aren’t a slacker if you allow your body to have the eight hours every night that it needs to serve you well. A good sleep every night leaves you feeling energized and ready to face your day with a clear head. Make no apologies for that (not even to yourself).
The human need for sleep has been proven repeatedly. Everyone seems more concerned with how to wake up in the morning…rather than getting to sleep the night before!
Make sleep a priority in your life – starting right now. By giving yourself this particular “nutrient,” you’re taking the first, most important step to a stronger, healthier you.
Then implement your good morning routine – the one that works just right for you – and you’re going to be amazed at the energy, focus, and calm you feel throughout your day!