Tweak Your Week: Catch More ZZZZs
Tips, tricks and tweaks to help founders each week. You’ll be surprised what a difference these tiny experiments can make.
Good morning Upsiders!
Or is it? Did you get enough sleep last night?
This week we’re looking at tweaking your sleep habits, exploring why sleep is so important and helping you work towards getting a good eight hours of sleep every day.
Let’s face it, as busy founders with a million things racing through your heads at any given moment, most of you are at least a little bit sleep deprived. And you might be so used to being sleep deprived that you don’t even notice the effects it has on your cognitive, emotional and physical wellbeing.
In a brilliant TED talk, brain and sleep scientist Matthew Walker explains how sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on our abilities to learn and remember. In one experiment, people who had missed a single night’s sleep had a 40% deficit in memory-making abilities. It was, he says, as if “sleep deprivation had shut down [their] memory inbox, and any new incoming files - they were just being bounced. [They] couldn't effectively commit new experiences to memory.”
Walker also points out that even small amounts of sleep deprivation can have a huge effect on our physical health, explaining that every year, when the clocks spring forward for Daylight Saving, there is a 24% increase in heart attacks the following day. And every year when they fall back, there is a 21% reduction in heart attacks.
But that’s not all.
Our immune systems also suffer enormously when we don’t get enough sleep, with immune activity dropping by up to 70% when we get just 4 hours a night.
It’s pretty clear that sleep is fundamental to our mental and physical wellbeing. But how much is enough, and how can you ensure you get more of it?
Typically, we need to go through 4-5 full sleep cycles to be well rested. That means around 8 hours of sleep a night for adults. Depending on your lifestyle and commitments, this might seem impossible at the moment, but we’d like to encourage you this week to start finessing your sleep routine to work towards getting your eight in.
Set regular times for going to sleep and waking up, for example, 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., seven days a week. Regularity is key to good sleep patterns and quality rest.
Establish and follow a wind-down routine that starts around 30 to 60 minutes before you want to sleep. Switch off from the day and prepare your brain and body for rest by doing something relaxing. You can meditate, breath, shower, read - anything that helps your mind settle and your muscles relax.
Lights off. Our sleep cycles are dominated by the light-dark cycle, so it’s really important to lower the lights and switch screens off about an hour before bedtime. If you can’t switch off, use the strongest yellow-light screen setting you have - blue light is very stimulating and will fool your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up, not sleep.
Cool it. Our bodies naturally cool down when we sleep. Trying to sleep in a hot bed or room that is too warm can disrupt that natural cooling and cause us to toss and turn, ruining our sleep.
Start this week and work towards establishing healthy sleep habits to optimise your cognitive functions and physical wellbeing. You’ll thank yourself for it in the long run!
Notice a difference?
Tell us how you go. Share your experiences - ‘mazing or meh - with the Upside community.
We’re all a work in progress.
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