Sleep experts claim that to function optimally, we need to spend one third of our lives sleeping, which equates to about 24 years of total sleep over the average lifetime.
Since we aspire to live the Superhero lifestyle, sleep is an necessary component. There is a good chance you may be lacking sleep if you've chosen to be a night time vigilante (just joking) and even if you're not out fighting crime, it's often tempting to stay up late on the computer, watching TV, or reading. I recommend keeping your superhero activities confined to the normal hours of the day if possible.
A sleep cycle generally lasts from 90 to 110 minutes, and the average person experiences 4 to 5 sleep cycles during the night.
In the book Power Sleep, Dr. James Maas identifies 5 different stages in the sleep cycle. I'd like to just briefly describe two of the most important ones. Slow wave deep sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM).
Slow wave sleep is when we are completely disengaged with our environment and in a deep sleep. Everything slows down, including our heart rate and our breathing. It is when complete muscle relaxation is attained and we are at our most vulnerable. We accrue the greatest physical health benefits during this stage which include:
Helps with muscle recovery, tissue growth and repair.
Allows for the greatest secretion of growth hormone.
Improves the function of the immune system.
The REM stage of sleep is simply a bridge between the full sleep cycles and it's where dreams occur. Our sympathetic nervous system becomes very active and we have increases in pulse, breathing, and temperature. It is in this stage that we accumulate a lot of benefits for the brain which include:
Allows memories to be stored and retained.
Memories are organized and the most important ones are put into long term storage.
Neurotransmitters are replenished for continued learning and retention.
Not getting enough sleep can lower our immune system, increase our risk for cardiovascular disease, increase inflammation, and elevate the risk of mortality.
Here are some things we can do to improve our sleep and our health.
Shoot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep and get to bed by 10 pm.
Have a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekend.
It's best to sleep in one continuous block of time. It's more likely that you will get stage 4 deep sleep.
Try to make up for lost sleep as soon as possible and do not make "playing catch up" a habit.
Reduce your exposure to bright lights and electronics at night.
Many people don't get enough sleep and convince themselves that they don't need much, but in most cases we are acquiring a sleep debt that we can never pay back. According to an article at Fatigue Science, due to the concept known as renorming, we actually believe we are performing our best when we are not. Renorming means that we compare how we feel today, to yesterday, and maybe the day before that, but don’t really remember beyond that. A gradual decline goes unnoticed by us.
Remember, we are superheroes and we want to be performing at our best, so get some sleep. Follow a few of these sleep tips and you'll be waking up feeling "super."
Apply now for Uncanny Online Superhero Training and "unleash your inner superhero."