What I’m Learning About My Sleep Cycles

What I’m Learning About My Sleep Cycles

Oct 08, 2021

I’ve had my eye on the Oura Ring for years and finally on the bandwagon! I am loving it. Have you heard of the Oura Ring? It’s a ring that you wear day and night and it tracks:

During the day ☀️ :

  • Activity levels 🏃🏻‍♀️
  • Calories burned 🔥
  • Steps 🦶
  • Inactive times 🧘‍♀️
  • Naps 😴

During the night 🌙:

  • Resting heart rate ❤️
  • Nighttime movement 🛏
  • Light, deep and REM sleep 💤
  • Heart rate variability (HRV) 🫀
  • Respiratory rate 🫁
  • Body temperature 🌡
  • Sleep timing and quality ⏰

I’m learning more about my body and its daily and nightly rhythms than ever before. I am also noticing clear evidence that I will not sleep well when I have eaten less than 3 hours before bed. I usually don’t eat after dinner, but on weeks that are more stressful or if I have a late meal (due to mom life) I notice that my heart rate takes longer to come down and my body doesn’t stay in Deep Restorative sleep as long. This makes sense because food stimulate the metabolism which essentially is stimulating our nervous system and disrupting sleep.

This ring is also helping me shift my bedtime to between 9 and 9:30 versus 10 or 10:30 p.m. When I am asleep earlier my numbers are much better and show overall improved recovery from the day before. Going to sleep earlier has overall been less exciting but I’m intrigued by all this information and its helping me establish healthier habits for the long haul.

5 Daily Habits to Help You Improve Sleep

Did you know that the start of your day will determine how well you sleep at night? It all starts when you wake up. Here are some things to help you sleep that you can incorporate into your daily routine:

1. Wake at the same time each day

Your sleep cycles are governed by your body’s circadian rhythm, and you can set it by waking up at the same time every morning. Also, increasing your exposure to morning sunlight also helps communicate to your body that it’s time to be awake.

2. Get out in the sun

Did you know that more exposure to more sunlight during the day are shown to have higher levels of serotonin? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the body produce melatonin, which is the hormone that helps regulate sleep. Take breaks through the day to soak up sun or sit by a window if possible.

3. Make time to move

According to studies, physical activity increases the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. This doesn’t mean you have to exercise vigorously all the time; walking is the perfect exercise. You do however, need to get between 20-25 minutes each day of sustained elevated heart rate.

4. Cut down on caffeine

Studies suggest caffeine makes it harder to fall sleep, reduces total sleep time, and interferes with quality sleep. It makes sense, considering caffeine is a powerful stimulant. Limit caffeine intake after noon, however if you struggle with insomnia or frequently have trouble sleeping, consider eliminating it altogether.

5. Block the blue light

Blue light—the light emitted by our phones, computers, and other tech devices—is known to stimulate the brain in a way that inhibits sleep. It has been shown that people who are exposed to blue light before bed experienced increased stress levels, increased body temperature and slower release of melatonin. Consider using blue-light blocking glasses, use dimming apps for your smartphone, or best of all through your phone in a draw and keep it put away in the evening.

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