Sep 27, 2021
For the longest part of Marina's life, she embodied the "I'll sleep when I'm dead" mantra and struggled to let go of the day. But even after one day of insufficient sleep, that's where problems start. For example, the stress hormone Cortisol rises by 37% after just one night of inadequate sleep! That's not to say you can't make up for a night or so of bad sleep, but the short-term effects are just as significant as the long-term.
97% of the population needs between 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and genetics dictates how much sleep a person needs. If you're getting over 9 hours, that's considered too much sleep and also increases the risk of mood disorders, obesity, and other issues similar to adequate sleep. When we lack sleep, one of the main areas impacted is the frontal lobe, responsible for decision-making and judgment. We don't detect how tired or slow to react we are, and we think we're reacting normally.
Slow-wave sleep is by far the most important because of the production of growth hormones. That hormone spearheads cellular regeneration, which is so important to normal function. REM sleep is the dream state and is super important for memory consolidation, encoding, and emotional regulation. This is when memories move from short to long term and come to terms with our emotions.
Sleep also gives our bodies time to regenerate dopamine and serotonin (the happiness hormones) to use the next day, which is why we often feel depressed or drained after a bad night's sleep. Insomniacs are 10x more likely to be depressed and 17x more likely to have an anxiety disorder. If you're struggling with the wind-down at night, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a sleep disorder. Light (such as blue light, TV, ceiling fans), stress, and caffeine are all "sleep sabotagers," which not only make it harder for you to fall asleep but stay asleep.
To maximize the benefits of sleep and wake up feeling energized, the best time to wake is when you're in a shallow sleep stage- either Stage 1 or 2 and not REM. Waking up from REM sleep will make you feel groggy. There are a few apps where you set a window of time, and it will detect when you're in a lighter stage of sleep to alert you instead of a traditional alarm. Waking up with the sun or using a smart lamp set to gradual light can also be helpful. We also need to ensure we're giving ourselves space throughout the day to digest and process so that we're not bringing it with us to bed.
Olivia has seven recommended steps for getting a better night's sleep. First, block out light. Lavender can help reduce anxiety, so any type of aromatherapy using lavender can be helpful. Set the alarm an hour before bed to kick you off your phone (and blue light) for the night. Have a shower and a magnesium-based sleep supplement, meditate or read, and use an eye mask. A bedtime routine is essential, but you can implement many more techniques to optimize your sleep further, which Olivia explores in her book.
What You Will Learn: