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What Do Your Sleep Patterns Say About You?

What Do Your Sleep Patterns Say About You?

Tell me what time you wake up and I will reveal what type of person you are! No, I am not a fortune teller but there is now evidence to show your sleep patterns reveal a lot about your lifestyle and personality. How much sleep you manage to get is essential to your physical and mental health, according to all the sleep experts out there. It can affect your mood, weight control and productivity at work. It seems there is a genetic element in determining how much sleep we need. This is the conclusion reached by Dr. Ying-Hui Fu of the Department of Neurology at the University of California. Although everybody has different sleep needs and patterns, the following facts are worth bearing in mind:

  • About 25% of Americans feel they are not getting enough sleep half of the time.
  • A quarter of teens are only getting 6.5 hours sleep a night when they should be getting nine hours.
  • Forty-one million Americans are getting less than six hours sleep every night.

Here are five different types of sleep patterns. Which one do you fit into?

1. Are you a morning person?

If you like waking and getting up early, you are more likely to shine in the morning and get lots of things done. Your bedtimes are regular and do not vary wildly on the weekends. You like to have a decent breakfast which sets you up for the day. Evenings are less productive for you and you may feel like going to bed very early.

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2. Are you a napper?

Some people love a nap in the afternoon. Italian and Spanish timetables have taken this into account, since time immemorial. It is also due to climatic reasons. However, things are changing and there is a proposed labor reform in Spain to shorten the working day by eliminating the siesta! Even if you do not want or need a full siesta of an hour or so, a nap may benefit you.

If you work for an enlightened company, they now provide nap rooms for you to have a snooze, because experts say this can increase productivity, reduce stress and fatigue and lessen the risk of heart disease. Watch the video to learn more.

3. Are you an evening person?

If you are in this category, you may like to burn the midnight oil and party, study or work into the early hours because that is when you feel much more energetic. You prefer to work out in the evenings and you almost always need an alarm clock to wake you up. You do not go in for hearty breakfasts and you are pretty relaxed in regard to mealtimes.

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If you are not sure whether you are a morning or evening person, why not take the quiz here?

4. Do you sleep most during the weekend?

Many people struggle through the week on about 4-6 hours a sleep a night because of work pressure, long commutes and late nights. To make up your sleep deficit, you may sleep very late on the weekends or spend an afternoon in bed. The good news is this can partially help you to recover. The bad news is this is not a valid long-term strategy and does not always work to get you back to normal. This irregular type of sleep pattern can negatively impact:

  • Your immune system
  • Mood swings
  • Attention span and focus
  • Increase food cravings which will lead to obesity

This was the result of some research carried out by the Penn State University College of Medicine.

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5. Do you find it difficult to wake up?

There could be many reasons for this. It may be you are going to bed too late or you have a disturbed sleep pattern, caused by barking dogs or a snoring partner. There may be issues with insomnia, restless legs or sleep apnea. Your problem now is you have a very short time to get up, dressed and out of the house. This can be very stressful.

If you are fed up with loud alarm clocks, try a dawn simulator or a clock fitted with aromatherapy beads which can range from coffee to lavender. Some sadistic inventors have come up with a flying clock which takes off from the bedside table once it rings. Then, you have to chase it round the room and catch it before it stops bleeping. Not my ideal alarm clock!

Whatever type of sleep pattern you match, there is still the problem in getting up as painlessly as possible. Here are suggestions to make it less traumatic. If you are one of those rare types who can jump out of bed, ready to go, then skip this bit!

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  • Buy an alarm clock with a pleasant sound or with one of the new features mentioned above.
  • Forget the snooze button – the sleep quality is rubbish.
  • Set the alarm to go off at the latest practical moment.
  • Try stretching exercises before actually getting up.
  • Exercise if you feel like it – it works for some people in giving them an energy boost.

How do you deal with getting the right amount of sleep and also with getting up? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Lose your sleep/Scott McLeod via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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