“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night‟s sleep.” – E. Joseph Cossman
While we sit to ponder our thoughts upon the criticality of „good sleep‟, wondering how do we define our sleep cycle? And what‟s the idea behind waking up early and how do we practice it? We shall first understand what happens to our body when we are asleep, to realize further its impact on our lifestyle and strategies to manage getting enough sleep.
As a matter of fact, apart from rejuvenation and relaxation, sleep helps strengthen and nourish the muscles, replenish and repair damaged tissues of the body, and synthesizes hormones. That’s how our body is said to revive and heal itself naturally, on the other hand, our brain tends to retain and process information better.
A „good enough sleep‟ is likely to range for about 6-8 hours of continuous (deep) sleep for adults and 8-10 hours for kids. That is when the body gradually unwinds from its stress and thoughts during the first three hours and begins to heal itself during the period between the fourth and sixth hour, usually while were in deep sleep. Thus quite some time we forget what we had been dreaming of, that‟s exactly the state of being deeply asleep.
Going by the statistics, 90% of successful executives wake up during the period between 3:45 A.M to 8:00 A.M, preferably before 6:00 A.M thus aligning their sleep cycle to nature’s clock and thereby rising along with the sunrise. Indeed ,waking up early optimizes health and well-being, but more essentially, the aim is to wake up energized, empowered, focused, enthusiastic and enlivened.
Strategies to get up at the crack of dawn:
- Having the right ‘Morning Routine’ and ‘Evening Routine’ in place- An ideal morning routine aims at waking up three hours before we begin with our work-day (i.e. daily tasks that include daily chores, work, etc.). This period shall be invested in exercise & fitness, meditation and spending time in solitude. Coming to the evening routine, we shall have our affirmations, reminders and to-do lists set over an evening in prior instead of practicing them as our morning schedule, just as how we get our automobiles refueled an evening in prior, rather than rushing our car to the fuel station on the very morning of our meetings or work-days.
- Lead-up time to sleep- Drinking enough water, set up the atmosphere of complete darkness and stillness before you retire to bed, ensuring the absence of sound that affects your sleep and refraining from using electronic gadgets right before sleeping.
- Fight over and let go of all pains before falling asleep- Most importantly, penning down in a book or diary- three things that happened to us throughout the day for which we are grateful, and three things that kept us disturbed that we shall let go of.
- Being aware of our sleep cycle and the purpose of waking up the next day- Each of our body responds differently, as some of us catch enough sleep within 6-7 hours, while others might take about 8-8.5 hours or so, thus marking our sleep patterns helps us plan our lifestyle accordingly. Motivation comes through a purpose, for instance, I happen to run two kilometers more today than I ran yesterday, since I wanted to balance the intensity of my work-out with the additional in-take I‟ve had over a couple of days. Thus, we would work-harder and perform better if we have our goal crystallized. We could wake up early and energized if we have a purpose or a goal set for the following day that we ought to accomplish.
- Give up on your phones and laptops during the lead-up time to sleep- Usage of phones in darkness emits harmful rays which not just pierce into our retina and damage the sensitive optic tissues, but also lead to the release of endorphin(stress hormone) by our brain. It is advisable to stay away from them during the last hour before you sleep and the very first hour after you wake up.
An important thing to remember while putting these to practice is that, our body takes time to adjust to our behavioral changes, therefore a gradual start shall lead to a positive change and growth in our health, lifestyle and well-being.