Episode 3 - Sleep
We are in the business of convincing and motivating you to adopt lifestyle changes that will positively affect your health without breaking the bank. There might be no better bang for your buck than a great nights sleep. It’s free, and the health benefits are plentiful. But a good nights sleep isn’t just as simple as laying down and turning the lights off. It begins the second you wake up that morning and hinges on your ability to down-regulate before calling it a night. In this episode of The Misfit Project we drop some horrifying or satisfying information depending on your outlook, and in turn, tackle what we consider to be the action items you need to start off on the right foot.
Before we commit to spending a significant portion of our lives in bed, we need to make sure it’s worth our time in the first place. Addressing sleep quality ensures that vital processes that occur during sleep take place, setting you up for a much higher level of success the following day. Before we even step foot into the bedroom, the down-regulation process must be well underway. A couple of hours should be dedicated to turning your 21st century scatter brain off, and your ability to relax on. From there we can audit our sleep sanctuary to ensure external forces won’t disrupt our sleep cycles. A relatively cold, entirely dark room with proper air circulation combined with a readiness to sleep is the key to optimizing your time at rest.
There’s no getting over the data backing a solid eight hours in bed a night. For the more hard headed I demand that the starting point is at least four actual sleep cycles which equal out to about six and a half hours in bed (Four ninety-minute cycles + thirty-minute buffer = six and a half hours). From there the hope is that they’re motivated to step it up to five cycles after seeing what the first improvements did for them. Anyone genuinely relying on mental and physical abilities being top notch multiple times a day needs to explore the benefits of six full sleep cycles.
At the beginning of this post, we claim your good night's sleep begins in the morning, and that has to do with the excellent powers of our circadian rhythm. The more we adhere to this pattern the healthier we become in an astounding amount of ways. To get this started, we must rocket out of bed as soon as we wake up and signal the flood of cortisol needed to wake up by exposing yourself to direct sunlight or artificial blue light in the absence of sun. Throughout the day your cortisol levels will naturally drop, and your down-regulation process will feel natural in the evening if you let go of the stressors of the day, explicitly including exposure to bright lights. The relaxation and lack of blue light exposure combine to begin the natural release of endogenous melatonin, setting you up to repeat the process all over again the next day when you wake up.
The initial order, and then synchronicity of these three ideas will lead to improvements in your health and wellbeing you would pay anything to have when they’ve been free for the taking the whole time.