Would you like the motivation to wake up the first time your alarm goes off and have more time for the things you love, without fighting the feeling you need more sleep? Well good news, this problem may be unnecessary and easily remedied. With a little bit of sleep science, you can start maximizing your productivity and start enjoying more of your day.
The Trick to Starting Your Day Right
Not long ago, I was fortunate enough to sit in on a Kwik Learning event, an excellent learning summit dedicated to the mind. If you don’t know, this event has hosted respected thought leaders such as Dr. Daniel Amen who popularized the SPECT scan, Dave Asprey creator of Bulletproof Coffee, and Mark Hymen of Ultra Wellness, just to name a few.
This time Dr. Breus was on the bill, whom you’ve probably seen as a regular consultant on The Dr Oz Show with a specialty in sleep disorders. Among his interesting information on chronotypes and understanding how to utilize our unique inner clocks best, Breus also laid out some information about REM sleep:
- The average sleep cycle is 90 minutes
- The average person needs 5 of these sleep cycles to be at an optimal state
- This equals an average need of 450 minutes of sleep or 7.5 hours (not the 8 hours commonly proliferated).
- Depending on your sleep cycle length, you may need more or less than the average.
Okay, so what does this mean for waking up. Well the reason these cycles are so important is that they engage our REM cycle, the cycle of sleep that is mentally restorative and related to a healthy memory (both immediately and in relation to Alzheimer), but it takes time to reach this stage. Those 10 extra minutes you steal, only to wake up and hit snooze again ad infinitum do you little to no good. If you are actually serious about extra sleep, shoot for 90 minutes.
But what about if you force yourself out of bed only to become tired later?
How to Sneak in that Extra Edge Late in the Day
An interesting concept Breus introduced that may help you is called a nap-a-latte. It’s simple, you drink coffee and then take a nap. Yeah, it’s not a groundbreaking concept, but the science behind it reveals exactly how strategic this is for a midday revival.
In the brain is a molecule called adenosine which promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. So if you’re tired, you probably have a lot of adenosine present. Coffee works so well to keep us awake because it’s just 1 molecule different than adenosine, and as such can bind to and block the adenosine receptors, preventing the build up of tiredness. That’s why you have such a horrible time falling asleep if you’ve been consuming caffeine, because the adenosine has nowhere to lay their weary heads.
The nap-a-latte works off science so that you get a brief rest via the nap, but also due to the caffeine taking effect in the background, you don’t have such a build of adenine that you feel groggy when you wake. Sounds like a good way to wrap up the work day and get a kick start to go surfing (or whatever your lifestyle is), doesn’t it?
Here’s Dr. Breus’ trusted formula:
- 6 oz cup of drip coffee
- 25 minute-nap
- Reduced adenosine build-up
- Caffeine kicks in
- You are good for 4 hours
If you’ve been listening, you might be wondering how this short nap is any better than the chided snooze of the alarm clock, after all, you won’t make it into REM phase in such a short amount of time. Well in short, naps can help with fatigue and make you feel more alert – after waking up from full on sleep, there is no additional benefit to be gained from 10 more minutes, as you have already run the gamut of normal sleep phases. By no means will naps replace real sleep, but it will keep you feeling a little more lively during the day.
No Snooze + Nap-a-latte = Great Day
Getting rid of the snooze button and drinking Nap-a-Lattes not only will prevent you from wasting time in the light phase of sleep and feeling groggy, but will allow you to spend time doing the things you love – whether it be killing it at work of spending quality time with family (if sleep is one of those things, then save this information for one of those days when you don’t have that liberty).
Comment below and let us know what you think of Dr. Breus’ methods and if you have any other sleep hacks you use yourself.