A few weeks back, I had a really horrible night’s sleep. I felt like I tossed and turned all night, thrashing in the sheets and pillows, seemingly unable to creep to the edge of sweet slumber. When I woke up, I was thinking about how poorly I had slept, and I remembered that I sleep with my Fitbit (my watch) on. The Fitbit has a sleep tracker, and it had been months and months since I had checked in on my numbers and evaluated my sleep score.
I loaded the app and synched my device. I was shocked to see the graph of my night’s sleep. I started looking at the trends, and the charts reflected that I had been getting a worse night’s sleep more regularly than I had realized… for months actually. As I scanned the data, I could clearly see that I was getting only 5.5-6.5 hours of sleep each night. AND I was waking between 17-23 times each night, some times staying awake. In additon, I wasn’t getting any quality deep sleep either.
The watch I wear monitors my heart rate, and breathing to determine the depth of my sleep, REM cycles, and time awake. Although the charts represent that I am waking up 15+ a night, I would tell you that I generally feel like I wake up 3-4 times each night. But I do turn over a lot, and adjust my pillows., and get up to use the bathroom once or twice each night.
The average adult needs between 1-2 hours each night. This is the time when our organs detoxify, and our central nervous systems reboot. Deep sleep is essential for long term health and vitality. At the time, my deep sleep numbers were also in the tank! I was getting between 8 and 23 minutes of deep sleep most nights (YIKES) No matter what it felt like I was experiencing, I could see by the numbers that my sleep quality was suffering–and unbeknownst to me it had been poor for some time.
I have to admit, I felt a little dumb-founded, after all I’m a Mastery Certified Health Coach. I coach people on how to enhance their sleep hygiene, and get a Better Night’s Sleep. I also know that IF I continued to ignore my sleep quality, that I could potentially be setting myself for potential illness. I was likely putting a toll on my immune systems resilience. I don’t have to tell you that, Immune Resilience is on everyone’s minds during a worldwide pandemic!
The good news is that I knew just what actions I could take. And honestly, I only made two significant shifts. I made the decision to simply get ready for bed sooner. Instead of leaving the television on until 11p, I turn the television off at 10p. Second, I consciously get off computer screens by 8p. Just by reducing my screen time, and turning off the world by 10p I have enhanced my sleep quality significantly. In just a week, I was hitting my sleep goal of 7.5+ hours of sleep each night. My deep sleep improved and in less than 30 days I began regularly getting between 1-2 hours of deep sleep each night. I’ll be super honest, I do a host of other things to enhance my sleep hygiene on a regular basis.
In general, I have regular bed time routines. I don’t drink caffeine. I turn my phone to airplane mode, and turn off my wi-fi at night. My room is super darker nd my curtains are thick. I sleep with a small cloth over my eyes. I also eat an anti-inflammatory protocol, and exercise over an hour each day. The other key is that I had already been tracking my sleep numbers, with a device and an app, and all I had to do was to look at the numbers and track my trends.
I’m excited to say that I had a positive effect on my sleep quality in a very short period of time, and making the shift was simple. IF you are interested in tracking your numbers and seeing what you can do to make a positive impact of your sleep quality, I’ve got a checklist that I created for clients that I love to share!
Click here for a free PDF Download “A Better Night’s Sleep Checklist.”
There are apps you can load on your phone, that allow you to set the phone right on the bed to track your sleep. I advocate that the phone NOT be in the bedroom–in general. I recommend that you consider getting a watch that has a sleep tracker built into it. I personally choose the Fitbit, not a smart watch. The one I have tracks my heart rate, activity, and sleep patterns. I don’t need or want my watch to connect to my email or texts… IF I had one, I’d want to turn the smart watch to airplane mode at night as well.
I am sure there are pros and cons of each activity tracker. I have the Fitbit Charge2, it is waterproof, and has the features I want. Feel free to reach out IF you want help setting up your activity tracker and learning to track your sleep numbers.
Remember the power here is in learning what your sleep quietly looks like, and then taking steps to have a positive impact on your longterm health!