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Know The 5 Stages Of Sleep For Better Rest

Know The 5 Stages Of Sleep For Better Rest

We get it. There’s nothing better than an extra 30 minutes of sleep on a warm, cozy bed.

But did you know that it could actually make you more tired?

I know, it sounds counterintuitive. More sleep = more tired doesn’t seem like an equation that makes sense, but hear me out.

After launching my language learning company, Rype, my sleep was completely out of wack. Some nights I would only get 2-3 hours of sleep, while other nights I would get 10, and still feel exhausted. If you can relate, I hope to share the 5 different stages of sleep we all experience, and some actionable tips to help you sleep better!

The 5 Stages of Sleep

It turns out that there are 5 major sleep stages that we all go through during the night. Starting with…

Stage 1 (NREM)

In this first stage, you’re in a NREM (non-rapid eye moment) stage. This is when you’re floating in and out of consciousness. It’s that moment when you feel awake but you also notice your mind is drifting away. You may also feel your muscle jerk that wakes you up into consciousness, also known as hypnic myoclonia.

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Stage 2 (NREM)

Stage 2 is when you start to enter the lighter phases of sleep. About half of our sleep time is spent during this NREM stage. This is when your muscle and heart rate begins to relax, and your brain slowly dwindles down.

Stage 3 & 4 (NREM)

These next two stages are combined as they have very similar effects on your sleep, called slow wave sleep (SWS). This is known as the deepest part of the sleep cycle, and one must not be woken up during this stage. If you’ve ever been abruptly woken up in a groggy state, you were probably experiencing slow wave sleep.

The other reason why SWS is vital is because the body rejuvenates itself during this stage. Growth hormones are released, which is used to heal muscle and tissues, and provides important oxygen and nutrients to the body.

Fun fact: these are also the stages when children (or adults) experience sleep walking and bedwetting.

Stage 5 (REM)

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This is the final stage of the sleep cycle, and the only stage where you experience REM (rapid eye moment) sleep. While we only spend 20% of our time during this stage, it’s when the brain is most active. It’s likely the most important stage as well because the brain is revitalized for daytime functioning.

The majority of our dreams are also occuring in this final stage of sleep, and the brain waves appear as if we’re awake.

How to Improve Your Sleep Quality

The real question is, how do we actually sleep better? I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and hours experimenting with different solutions, and these are the best tips I have found to be helpful.

1. Block blue light

In the digital world we live in today, the majority of poor sleep quality is due to what’s known as blue light. Studies show that we spend on average 10.5 hours a day in front of our screens (i.e. smartphones, TV, laptops) [1]. Each of these screens emit harmful blue light that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormone. In short, this tricks our brain to feel ‘awake’ when we should be in relaxed mode.

    The best way to combat this effectively is to invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) that you can wear while you work, and 90 minutes before you sleep.

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    Recommended: iGOTHAM Eyewear

    2. Adjust your room temperature

    Sleep experts have shown that room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the best sleep. A room with extreme temperatures leads to more frequent awakenings and lighter sleep.

    This can be extremely difficult if you have a sleeping partner, which is why I recommend Chilipad. It’s a heating and cooling pad that you place underneath your bedsheets. Best of all, you can place it just on your side of the bed so you can customize the best temperature for you, without disturbing your sleeping partner.

    Recommended: Chilipad

    3. Optimize for REM sleep

    Given how important REM sleep is in our sleep stage, we should optimize our sleep time around it. The best way to do that is to

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    It turns out that our sleep cycle contains a REM stage every 90 minutes. That means if you know when you want to wake up (ex. 6 am), then you want to work backwards in 90 minute increments to find out when to sleep.

    If your goal is to wake up at 6 am, then you will likely need to fall asleep at 10:30 pm or 12:00 am to meet the 90 minute rule. You can also use a sleep calculator to make this process more automated.

    Recommended: Sleepyti.me (sleep calculator)

    Next steps

    I hope this was useful for those of you that struggle with getting quality sleep in your life. As someone who has struggled with insomnia, these tips are dear to my heart.

    Like many of you, I procrastinated on taking action in improving my sleep. But I can tell you from personal experience the positive impact it has had in my life, once I put these tips into action.

    My recommendation is to try out at least one of these tips. Once you notice the positive effects in your sleep, you can try another, and so forth.

    If you are a struggling night owl, read here to learn tips on how to get more rest.

    Reference

    [1] IGOTHAM: Our Story

    More by this author

    Sean K.

    Founder and CEO of Rype and The Growth List, frequent contributor at Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Fast Company, The Next Web, and host of #SKIMLive.

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight sleep-stages Know The 5 Stages Of Sleep For Better Rest

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    1 7 Signs You’re Burnt Out and How to Bounce Back 2 7 Simple Ways to Cope with Stress at Work and Stop Worrying 3 What’s the Best Nap Length for the Biggest Brain Benefit? 4 How to Sleep for Improved Health and Productivity 5 11 Simple and Effective Ways to Manage Stress

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    Last Updated on July 4, 2019

    7 Signs You’re Burnt Out and How to Bounce Back

    7 Signs You’re Burnt Out and How to Bounce Back

    Has the possibility of becoming burned out ever came across your radar?

    Burn out can happen to any of us. It can happen as a direct result of a toxic work environment or it can creep up on us as we pour all of our energy into doing the work that we love. Either way, when signs of burnout become apparent, they tend to look the same. Furthermore, adjustments must be made to reverse burnout and to prevent it again in the future.

    Behaviors and habits that can lead to burnout include staying up long nights working on projects, saying yes to every request or opportunity, taking on extra work from co workers, and decreasing connections with your family and friends outside of work.

    Outside forces such as ineffective leadership, unclear expectations, toxic work culture, persistent high workload, and no room for growth can all add to burn out.

    When signs of burn out set in, you slowly start to do things differently. There’s a chance you may not even realize what is happening.

    Keep in my mind that burn out may mimic other conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder. Please see your trusted health care provider to rule out any of these conditions.

    Keep reading for some key signs of burnout:

    1. Poor Performance and Loss of Self Confidence

    Noticeable declines in work performance and confidence in your ability to complete previously mastered assignments are signs of burnout.

    The pace of the work environment can seem faster and more demanding than ever. The goal of you doing world-class work may diminished to hopes of you barely getting by. You may have decided that staring into space or searching for a new job seems like a better alternative to working.

    Poor work performance can become a routine and often leaves the person wondering how did this become a problem in the first place. You may even think that your boss will call you out on your performance sooner than later.

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    How to Bounce Back:

    Think back to the motivation you had when you were hired or when you were getting your job done with ease. Think about your thoughts and actions that allow you to perform well. The ability to perform at or around this level is still within reach.

    Make a plan to eliminate distractions at work. Also, prior to coming to work make sure you are well rested and are eliminating energy-draining interactions.

    2. Pessimism

    Talking about the amazing work you do has given way to negative talk. Constantly complaining over small tasks that didn’t bother you in the past is a sign of pessimism. Your co -workers may even point out that you have been increasingly negative with your communication lately.

    Your outlook on life, especially work, is in the dumps. It is harder to find positive things to say.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Even in the midst of burnout, your time should be spent on forward-moving thoughts.

    Change the way you are looking at your current situation. Your body will do everything in its power to make sure that your actions are in alignment with your mindset and thoughts.

    Therefore, thoughts that are negative and self-defeating will need to undergo a productive reframe. A high level of awareness must be initiated. Self coaching yourself through negative thinking can be the first step in awareness.

    When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, first ask yourself “How does this make me feel?” Then, decide if those feelings will push you closer towards your goals and priorities or keep you from taking action.

    If your thoughts are not forward moving, ask yourself what does thinking and feeling the opposite of this look like? It may seem awkward at first, but keep at it until positive thoughts are at the forefront of your thinking once again.

    3. Feeling Unfulfilled

    Sometimes, the workplace is known for being a fast pace, high-stress environment. Feeling like you’re part of the team and your contributions matter to your team can really help increase your level of fulfillment.

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    We all have things we’re good at or interested in. When our talents and strengths are highlighted in an environment, we will thrive as we get things done.

    When we are constantly left out of vital conversations, we will feel irrelevant and as if things are happening to us and not on behalf of us.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Talk to the person in charge and discuss your concerns. Confiding in a trusted and knowledgeable co-worker prior to meeting with your boss will help to make your communication with your boss fair and objective.

    Set goals and deadlines with your boss or team leader to help increase your fulfillment. Follow up with your plan of action on your goals.

    Keep in mind that there will be some level of compromise but making your boss aware of your viewpoint and feelings is a major step in feeling fulfilled and feeling like a contributing member of your team.

    4. Poor Sleep Quality

    Staying up late at night, tossing and turning, thinking about your day’s work can really affect your sleep quality. Studies have shown that just a few hours of missed sleep is detrimental to our performance and mental capacity.[1]

    How to Bounce Back:

    Try setting a bedtime routine and stick to it. Make sure that your bedroom environment is supportive of a good night sleep.

    Social media never sleeps and it’s best to cut back or eliminate your social media time about 1 hour before you go to bed. Blue light interferes with your ability to feel sleepy and messes with your sleep cycle.[2] Your electronics can be set to switch to a softer light prior to bedtime.

    5. Dread

    The thought of work sends you into a tailspin of negative thoughts and body sensations. You wonder will this ever end and the amount of tension in your neck is at an all-time high.

    The feeling of dread can make you retreat from your daily activities to ruminate on the idea of returning to work. Feelings of dread steals valuable time.

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    How to Bounce Back:

    Develop a routine to relax and practice deep breathing.

    Consider a small breathing exercise that you can practice at work if dread or overwhelm creeps in. Go into an empty room or the bathroom, close your eyes, and take 10 big deep breaths. Control your breathing as you inhale and fully exhale. Notice what time of the day you are needing to step away to take breath and start scheduling your routines.

    Neck massages at bedtime or therapeutic massages may also help to relax your body and prepare you for the work week ahead. Keep in mind that self care is a necessity.

    6. You Lash out More

    You notice that you are short tempered and lash out at your loved ones more than usual. When you are experiencing burn out, you may find yourself less patient about certain things and snapping at your loved ones.

    You know they don’t deserve this treatment and you want to get this behavior in check so that you can restore the loving supportive environment you are used to having.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Be aware that your loved ones may not understand how your work environment is affecting you.

    Consider how you would feel if you were the recipient of irritable interactions when you didn’t have the whole picture of what was happening.

    Take time to explain your situation with your support system. Also, seek services through your work or independently in order to preserve the relationships within your support system.

    Your love ones are there to support you. They should not be the expert to get your thoughts and feelings in check- neither should they be expected to fulfill this role.

    7. Exhaustion

    Does the phrase this job is “sucking the life out of me” ring a bell? Mental exhaustion is totally apparent when work has taken its toll on you.

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    Being too tired to do simple house chores or attend events that you once loved is a sign of exhaustion.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Set small goals to take action daily on your priorities. If your priorities include keeping a clean living area or hanging out with your friends once a week, stick to your plans.

    You will find that your mood is improved and you are not as drained once you are doing things in alignment with your goals and priorities.

    The Bottom Line

    Burn out can creep up on you. It can be caused by personal behaviors, habits, or toxic work environments. Regardless of the factors that lead to burnout, the signs of burnout are the same.

    Awareness is the first step of knowing what is happening. The next step is taking action based on the specific signs you are displaying.

    Recovery from burnout may look like identifying the culprit that caused you to burn out so that you can continue making progress in your work.

    Recovery can also require you to make a strategic exit from your current situation to restore your peace of mind and fully recover—and never look back.

    More for Restoring Energy

    Featured photo credit: Niklas Hamann via unsplash.com

    Reference

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