Weekly Wednesday Blog – July 6, 2022
Every Wednesday moving forward our team of professional coaches will be releasing a longer forum blog post to hopefully pass along some health information that will be valuable to our community. This will include topics like nutrition, sleep, exercise selection, recovery, athlete mindset and many more!
This week’s topic is on SLEEP!
Before I get into some of the information on sleep and its importance to health, recovery, and mood, ask yourself… How many hours of quality sleep am I getting each night??
Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm. What that means is that in the morning (when sunlight starts to show through your blinds) your body will naturally start to increase cortisol levels to help give you energy throughout the day. Usually this is at it’s highest between 8-10am. On the flip side as it starts to get darker out your body will start to release melatonin to naturally allow you to slow down and fall asleep. Over the whole night your body will also go into different stages of sleep!
Stage 1: Falling Asleep
This stage is sometimes the literal “falling” asleep stage. It generally lasts a few minutes while your heart rate and breathing slows. Your muscles will also start to relax.
Stage 2: Light Sleep
This is like a continuation of stage 1 where your heart rate/breathing rate will continue to drop and your core body temperature will also start to drop more rapidly. This is a stage where it will still be quite easy for you to be woken up. This stage usually lasts about 25-30minutes.This stage you can still be woken up with more ease and results in the perfect amount of sleep for a nap! Will allow you to wake up without feeling groggy!
Stage 3: DEEP Sleep
This is your slow wave sleep! At this point heart rate and breathing is at its lowest level. Arousal from sleep will be difficult in this stage. Your body is completely relaxed and important tissue repair, growth and cell regeneration occurs. This is the most important phase of sleep to help you recover from a physically active day! If you have been ill, this stage will strengthen that immune system to help you recover quicker.
Stage 4: R.E.M Sleep
This stands for Rapid Eye Movement Sleep! Yes, your eyes are moving under your eyelids during this phase. This stage you will also experience some”dreaming” as you start to get closer to being awake. This stage is primarily beneficial for recovery of brain activity. Your muscles will almost be paralyzed during this phase of sleep.
In total it will take you about 90 minutes to cycle through your first 4 phases of sleep. Each cycle to follow will end up being slightly longer in duration due to an increase in REM each time.
Maximize your SLEEP GAME
To maximize both quantity and quality of sleep you want to use this rhythm to your advantage! You also want to do your best to stay on this cycle daily. With it being the summer months right now it is generally easier to get daylight each day.. We recommend trying to get at least 15-30mins of daylight before 9:00am. Where the real challenge is during these months is the evenings! Like I mentioned, you want to keep this natural rhythm going so trying to minimize any sort of bright light during the evening will keep you on track.
A few strategies to help yourself stick to your body’s natural circadian rhythm:
- Lights off in the house at 8pm
- No electronics 2hrs before bed
- Cool, Dark Bedroom
- Morning Exercise “Ideally Outdoors”
If you implement all or just a few of these tools we know you will start to see great improvements in your sleep.
Let us know if any of these strategies help or if you have any other questions around sleep!
Until next Wednesday.
– Coach Riley