Sleep Secrets We ALL Need

Sleep is such a powerful topic in the world of health and wellness but with so much information out in the world, I wanted to share the enlightening takeaways from a recent podcast I listened to with Stephanie Romiszewski on The Diary of a CEO podcast. For reference, Stephanie is a sleep psychologist and has worked for NASA to prepare astronauts for space travel.

To start, I want to share a few sleep misconceptions that Stephanie shared:

Misconception #1: You must get exactly 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night to be your best.

As I am sure you can attest to, it is difficult to always get the exact sleep that you want. Stephanie urges us not to get wrapped up in chasing perfection over the ability to reach the good. Instead, look at your sleep over a week or a month. Are you getting the 7-8 hours of sleep that you need most of the time? If so, don’t worry yourself to the point of missing sleep by not being perfect.

Misconception #2: Sleep deprivation is an eye for an eye.

We often think that if we failed to get the adequate sleep that we want then we must make up for that exact amount of time the next night or next possible moment. For example, if I want 8 hours and I only get 6 I often think that I now have to get 10 hours of sleep the next night to be caught up. Stephanie points out that this is simply not true, our bodies and minds are smarter than we think and are able to prioritize our recovery and sleep cycles that we missed without requiring all of the make-up time that we think we need.

The bigger issues begin when we think we need more sleep and we begin to become stressed and anxious over our lack of sleep.

Misconception #3: Fatigue and sleepiness are the same.

Our bodies and minds can feel both fatigued and sleepy, but they are not the same. Fatigue comes from being worked, think of your legs being fatigued after a long day or your mind feeling drained after a meeting that took way too long. But sleepiness is your body actually falling asleep because it needs rest. Think about a time when you were falling asleep while trying to read or stay awake during a movie. These are very different feelings and should be treated differently. Rest your body and mind when it needs it and go to sleep when you need sleep.

Now on to my favorite sleep takeaways from the show:

Takeaway #1: Quality over quantity of sleep

Focus on providing yourself the appropriate amount of time you need as a sleep window. If you are sleepy in this window, say from 9:30 – 5:30, then go to sleep. But, if you are inside of your window and you aren’t sleepy, do not try and force yourself to sleep and waste your time and comfort rolling around being frustrated that you can’t fall asleep. Instead, I recommend that you read a book, listen to your body, and allow yourself the grace to fall asleep when you are ready. Stay away from your screens, don’t allow yourself to become frustrated, and know that 6 good hours of sleep are better than 8 poor hours.

Takeaway #2: “You can dictate to your body when you don’t sleep, not when you do.”

Stephanie made a great point here that most of sleeping poorly versus sleeping well comes down to brain training and habits. If we aren’t getting the sleep that we want or need we need to restructure our habits. She points out that the first step to making this change is to control when you get up instead of trying to control when you go to sleep. If you build a routine of waking at the same time, and not snoozing, then your body will begin to learn and adjust to being sleepy at the appropriate time in the evening. 

Takeaway #3: Your mood impacts your day more than a night of poor sleep.

We have all had a night where we didn’t sleep well and we take that poor night’s sleep as an excuse to be grumpy and not have a great day. Instead, Stephanie recommends acknowledging that you had a less than ideal night and then going on to have an epic day. Your body will adjust and you will be sleepy tonight and ready for a night of great rest. Don’t let your mood impact you more than less than great sleep.

This was a great episode and I highly recommend you listen to the full show, linked below, and start having great nights of sleep. Lastly, I can’t let you go without pointing out that the more we take care of ourselves, eat right, exercise, and practice mental fitness, the easier it will be to achieve the great night’s sleep we all want.

Advocate Podcast Summary

Diary of a CEO Full Episode on YouTube

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