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5 Minutes to Better Sleep – Let’s talk about Timing

Adult Sleep

5 Minutes to Better Sleep – Let’s talk about Timing

Today we are talking about Timing, and how that affects sleep.

Our body is one big collection of systems, that is looking for queues from an internal clock on when to do their job. This internal clock is called the Circadian Rhythm. And it gets it input from these internal signals as well as external stimuli like the sun.

The sun rises each morning on that 24-hour cycle and tells our bodies it’s time to get up and play. Regardless of if your eyes are open or closed, they sense that light and its go time.

Our modern world has made many advances to try and work against this natural body clock. The invention of electricity and the light bulb probably being one of the biggest ones. The industrial revolutions and the introduction of shift work. That big American dream to work hard, never rest, and buy all the things. All of these work against our body and its biological processes for sleep.

WIth the circadian rhythm, there are points at which our bodies are at their most alert peaks as well as those low sluggish valleys where we just want to crawl under the desk and take a nap.

Usually between 1 and 4 pm and 1 and 4 am we experience our lowest points of the day. Where the drive for sleep is the strongest.

This is actually backed up with historical data of car accidents and when they are most likely to occur.

We also have our sleep hormones like melatonin and adenosine that signal to our body that it’s time to slow down and sleep.

Adenosine builds up in our body and puts sleep pressure on us. When we sleep it is cleared from our receptors and helps us wake with a feeling of freshness.

Little not here caffeine actually blocks those receptors, giving us the false impression that we are not as tired.

If our timing doesn’t line up with the body’s timing, this can lead to a clash of the clans. We wage an internal war where we are fighting to stay awake, or on the flip side fighting insomnia to go to sleep.

We need the timing to line up so that we can get the most quantity and quality sleep for our time investment.

And here is a big one to think about… If you need an alarm to wake you up in the morning… You are not getting enough sleep.

So let’s review a bit around what are the basic sleep needs..

Straight home from the hospital about 16-18 hours a day
3-6 months – about 15 hours
6-12 months – about 14 hours
1-3 years old – 12-14 hours
3-5 years old – 11-12 hours
5-10 years old -10-11 hours
11-20 – around 9 hours
And from there we range from 7-9 for the rest of life

There is a common misconception that our sleep needs reduce once we hit later stages of life, but this is actually not true. We still need it, it can just become more difficult to make it happen.

And that timing we mentioned earlier may not be lining up.

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