Today, I’m going to share with you how to get the most optimized, refreshing sleep that you can get, every night. This is really critical for optimizing your overall wellness and enhancing your anti-aging process. Getting your best sleep consistently is essential for you optimizing your overall hormone balance and your rejuvenation process of every cell and gland, and it will help you overall.
These five tips are going to help you sleep, get to sleep better. They will help you sleep longer in a more fulfilled way, and help you maximize REM sleep so you wake up totally refreshed and not tired. So, these five tips are super easy, and I’m going to share these with you today.
Number One: Limit Alcohol & Caffeine Consumption
And this is really important. I know a lot of you consume coffee, keto coffee – and even, hopefully, you are adding our Organixx Collagen to your coffee. You want to make sure you consume that 13 to 14 hours before you go to bed. So make sure you are limiting your caffeine consumption. This will greatly decrease the enhancement of your central nervous system, that invigoration that we sometimes get, that caffeine hit, and caffeine and even alcohol can skew our circadian rhythm. So that’s one of the best ways to really optimize your sleep.
Number Two: Power Down Before Bedtime
Make sure you power down two to three hours before bedtime, meaning power down on consuming things on your phone, or your laptop, or TVs at home, limiting blue light. And that also means limiting the natural daylight coming from a lot of our LED lights in our home, sometimes changing out the lights so that you’re not so much exposed to natural light that’s artificial. And I always recommend wearing blue light blocking glasses. Those are so good to help power down your body’s natural rhythm to get to sleep.
Number Three: Support Your Circadian Rhythm
Now, number three has a lot to do with your circadian rhythm support. And this is all about the body’s sleep clock. We want to ideally be reaching a peak point of “awakeness” when we wake up in the morning, and then we’re slowly dipping to where we’re at our lowest point, where we are ready to go to sleep. I actually evaluate certain levels in your saliva, in your blood serum, on a daily basis that can tell us where there are some imbalances. What I have found is that when we can level out some of these hormones and other micronutrients, we can actually achieve the best circadian rhythm. So, I’m going to share with you a few ways to do that.
Here at Organixx, we have Magnesium, and this is one of the most powerful ways to help support your body’s natural circadian rhythm by helping your body extract excess fluids throughout the day. So, consuming magnesium in the morning and right around dinner time will help minimize the need to wake up and urinate at night, which is a very common reason why a lot of people wake up at night. Magnesium also helps to calm our central nervous system, which helps to correct our circadian rhythm and ultimately support that natural sleep cycle.
Another compound that is highly beneficial is adding melatonin about one to two hours before your desired bedtime. Melatonin is the circadian rhythm cycle hormone. It’s what sets our natural day clock. And if you are being exposed to blue light therapy or blue light, or maybe you’re a shift worker, or are awake because you have an infant, melatonin is going to help offset some of those environmental factors that might be working against us for optimal sleep.
Lower Your Stress Levels Naturally
Now, another really important thing to address is to lower your stress levels. Enhancing your central nervous system calming is going to be one of the best ways to get the right circadian rhythm.
And there are a few herbs that I recommend. I love to add herbs like this tulsi that might also have some passionflower, some valerian, and kava. You can grab sleepytime teas that are beneficial. You can add CBD. And another thing that’s highly beneficial is adding the 7 Mushrooms. You can add 7 Mushrooms. These are mushroom blends of adaptogenic herbs that directly support lowering and balancing our stress response mechanism, which ultimately calms your central nervous system. Those are really good ways to, again, lower stress so that we have a better balanced circadian rhythm.
Number Four: Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Now, the fourth tip is creating the most comfortable sleeping environment. Environment is everything when it comes to optimizing your sleep. And even though we might not think about it, having the best mattress, sheets that are comfortable, jammies that are breathable, having the right cooling temperature, clean air, and even aromatherapy can be beneficial for optimizing your sleep.
I’m going to share with you a trio of aromatherapy blends that are some of the best aromatherapy blends for sleep enhancement. Chamomile, plus lavender, plus valerian aromatherapy oils are great for enhancing that natural sleep effect. So, you can diffuse that trio in a diffuser as you’re getting ready to sleep, and then that can continue to diffuse while you’re in sleep. So, that will help support that calming effect that we’re looking for that is going to optimize your sleep and help you get REM sleep. When we are refreshed when we wake up, it’s because we get the most REM sleep at night. Thorough, deep, rejuvenative sleep.
Number Five: Timing of Hydration
Last and final is to make sure you hydrate during the day and in the right way. I find that even myself, sometimes I’ll get to dinner time and think, oh gosh, I didn’t really hydrate well today. And then I’ll try and kind of max my hydration. And ultimately that ends up plaguing some of our core elimination organs, and we might end up having bladder or liver imbalances from excess of fluids that are too close to bedtime. So ensuring, and honestly, one of my best things is to plot it on my phone as reminders or write it in your planner, just to make sure you’re hydrating appropriately through the day. Getting up to urinate, or peeing at night, is the number-one reason why most people end up getting up at night. It’s the most common complaint I hear with my patients – men and women alike.
So, make sure you’re getting hydration appropriately throughout the day. And if you are taking any diuretics or any medication that might cause frequent urination, make sure you take that in the morning or around lunchtime. Make sure you’re not taking it before bedtime, as guess what, it’s going to wake you up to empty your bladder. And that’s also where magnesium comes into play.
If you have a need where you’re taking magnesium maybe two or three times a day, therapeutically, for excess fluid or edema, or you’re just really trying to enhance the kind of flush of the bowels, what I recommend is to make sure you take your magnesium at minimum three to four hours before bedtime. That allows the body enough time to process any fluid flushing that will allow your bladder and your liver and your whole body to get restful sleep.
So, these are five tips that will really ensure you’re waking up refreshed and getting the most optimized sleep at night.
Magnesium deficiency is linked to stress, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, sore muscles, migraines, and many more debilitating health conditions.
If your body needs magnesium, you want the most beneficial kind your body can actually absorb. Organixx Magnesium 7 gives you seven (7) of the very best, most bioavailable types of elemental magnesium available.
How do you typically operate during a working day? Do you start on a task and then power your way through it from start to finish – no matter how much you struggle?
Or do you work for a certain length of time and then take a break, returning to the task at hand when you’re feeling more refreshed? If you choose to do the latter, you might find that you are more effective, more focused, and capable of completing the task at hand. What you probably aren’t aware of though, is that the reason for this comes down to ultradian rhythms.
Understanding Your Chronobiology and Biological Rhythms
In our modern world, we’ve become disconnected from the rhythm of life. We forget that our lives are shaped by light and darkness, lunar cycles, and seasonal cycles… and they have been since the beginning of mankind.
Deep within us are genetically driven timers that control our body’s biological rhythms. These rhythms underscore our days and lives, in both small and seemingly insignificant ways, as well as in large and noticeable ways. This field of study is called chronobiology, and there are three main types of rhythms identified:
- Circadian Rhythms – completing a cycle in an approximately 24-hour span of time, circadian rhythms include the sleep/wake cycle, the body temperature cycle, appetite, etc.
- Infradian Rhythms – lasting more than 24 hours, but repeated only every few days, or weeks, or months, or even just once per year. Infradian rhythms include the female menstrual cycle, seasonal affective disorder (caused by lack of light during the winter months), and other hormonal or seasonal changes.
- Ultradian Rhythms – having a duration shorter than a day, but longer than an hour, ultradian rhythms include the 90-120 minute cycling of sleep stages during human sleep, hormonal secretions, heart rate, digestion, and so on.
In this article, you’re going to discover how understanding your own personal ultradian rhythms can help you use them to your advantage – especially at work.
Your Body Craves a Rest Every 80-90 Minutes
It starts with understanding that the conventional workday (e.g., 9 to 5) was not designed with optimal productivity in mind, nor the activity of ultradian rhythms. It was simply designed to keep employees at work for a certain period of time, under the misguided assumption they would be productive the entire time.
As we all know, that just doesn’t happen. But if you are better able to understand your body’s natural rhythms a little better then you can optimize your performance, no matter the task at hand.
Ultradian rhythms help to explain how our energy, focus, and attention ebbs and flows throughout the day. For instance, it has been found that hormonal levels, heart rate, brain-wave activity and even muscle tension all increase during the first part of the ultradian cycle, along with alertness and mental focus.
After an hour or so, however, each of these begins to decline. At about the 80-90 minute mark, the brain and body begin to crave a rest period.
The Basic Rest-Activity Cycle (BRAC)
Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinsky were pioneers in the field of sleep research. They were responsible for the discovery in 1953 of the various stages of sleep, now known as REM and non-REM sleep.
For example, during sleep, on average our brains go through a 90-minute cycle of rest known as non-REM sleep. This is followed by around 20 minutes of activity, known as REM sleep.
The pair later discovered that the brain also cycles through periods of activity and rest when awake. Calling it the Basic Rest-Activity Cycle (or BRAC), they found that our brains cycle through alternating periods of activity and rest, with each cycle lasting approximately 80 to 120 minutes, depending on the individual.
In contrast to the sleep cycle, during BRAC our brains appear to go through around 90 minutes of intense activity and focus, followed by 20 minutes of rest, and this cycle occurs repeatedly throughout the day [1, 2].
Why Ultradian Rhythm Productivity Is Better Than “Powering Through”
When we ignore these rhythms and force ourselves to power through a project until it’s completed (or time to go home), problems arise.
If you have ever been working on a project for a protracted period of time, and then felt overcome by weariness, lethargy, or mental fading, this is exactly why. Our brains actually need to take breaks after an intense period of activity to be optimally focused and perform at a higher level.
During this 20-minute break, if done properly, a lot is happening in the mind and body, and it’s similar to what occurs during sleep. Initially, it might feel as though taking a 20-minute break will be a waste of your precious time, but it really isn’t. Quite the opposite. The break is essential for recharging your batteries so that you can operate at peak levels of performance.
According to Ernest Rossi, PhD, psychologist, researcher, and author of several books on mind-body healing, the mind and body are busy resynchronizing during this break in activity.
Free radicals and oxidative waste products that have been building up in the tissues during the previous period of high brain activity are cleared out of the cells. Neurotransmitters required for good mind-body communication are replenished, and cellular energy is being restored . As you can see, your brain and body will benefit greatly from taking rest breaks.
4 Steps for Making Your Ultradian Rhythm Work for You
The goal is to make the most of an intense period of brain activity by actually taking that rest period afterward and making it work optimally for you. Here are 5 tips on how to accomplish that:
#1. Determine the Length of Your Own Personal Basic Rest-Activity Cycle.
By understanding your own activity-rest cycle, you can learn how to put ultradian rhythms to good use. Get yourself a timer or use the timer on your phone. Set it for 45 minutes and get to work. Pay close attention to how you feel during this 45-minute period. Are you able to work the full 45 minutes and be focused on the task at hand? Or does your attention begin to wander after only 30 minutes?
Write down the length of time you were able to stay on task, how you felt while working, and how you felt afterward. In this step, you are just getting a handle on your particular pattern.
#2. Start Where You Are.
If you found that you were only able to achieve 30 minutes of focused attention, start with that. Work for 30 minutes and then take a five-minute rest break.
During these five minutes, you are not checking your phone or email or making phone calls. You are simply sitting in your chair with your eyes closed, or taking a short walk around your office, or lying on the floor of your office if you are able to do so without exciting comment. Some people may need to go and hide in the restroom to get a break without anyone noticing or commenting.
#3. Keep Notes on How You Feel.
It’s vital to take notes about how you are feeling during and after your session of activity/work, as well as how you felt before and after the rest break.
Were you able to make it the full 90 minutes or did you run out of brainpower 20 minutes early? Was the rest period sufficient, or did you feel like you needed more? You might find that you do better during the first half of your day than you do with the second half, while it may be just the opposite for others.
By taking notes, you will be better able to chart your personal patterns. If you felt sharp and focused for 30 minutes, begin there.
#4. Work Up to a Full Cycle of 80-90 Minutes.
Each time you return to your desk to focus on work, time how long you were able to work where your brain is able to focus intently on the task. Work for that period of time, then take a rest break. Next time, increase the work cycle by 5-10 minutes. Work cycles may vary on some days, depending on stress levels and the amount of sleep you got the night before. Always follow the activity period with at least a five-minute rest period.
Slowly, over a period of days or weeks, you should be able to work up to a full 90-minute active work cycle, followed by a full 20 minutes of rest. Also, it’s important to know that you don’t have to take a full 20-minute break if you don’t wish to (or can’t). You should be able to gauge when you feel you’ve had adequate rest. For some, only a 10-minute rest break is required.
Making Your Rest Break the Best it Can Be
First of all, some people will simply not have the opportunity to take a 20-minute break, especially if they are employees. No matter how long the break that you get, however, whether it’s five minutes or 20, do your best to really relax in the time that you have.
Also, if you miss your break altogether, you don’t need to wait another 90 minutes to take a break. Take the break whenever you can and then work for a shorter period next time.
Here are some tips for maximizing your rest break:
• Set a timer on your phone for the time period you’ve set aside for this break, whether it be five minutes, or the full 20, then put your phone in airplane mode.
• Don’t engage with Facebook, email, or non-urgent text messages.
• Try not to sleep; that isn’t the point of this break. However, if you are so tired and really want a nap and can do that, by all means, take that nap, and just return to the BRAC when you are refreshed. There’s a lot to be said for the power nap.
• If you have a job where you sit a lot, feel free to take a short walk somewhere quiet and free from distractions. Allow your mind to drift or daydream, or engage in some positive affirmations.
• If you wish to sit or lay down, find a quiet place (hopefully away from your desk). Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath, taking a few deep breaths, nice and easy. Allow your mind to drift. This is a good time for daydreaming. Try to stay away from stressful or negative thoughts, promise to deal with them another time. Drift and dream, with your eyes shut. Breathe and just be present.
• Just prior to the end of your session, engage in some alternate nostril breathing (find a YouTube video that will teach you). This ancient method of breathing helps to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, infuses your body and brain with fresh oxygen, wakes up your brain, and gives you loads more energy.
• Remember to take your phone off airplane mode as you return to work if you need to receive incoming messages or alerts.
Unlock Your Productivity & Creativity
The best part about understanding and utilizing ultradian rest and activity cycles is that it helps you optimize your time at work, helps you manage your work better, makes you more productive and resistant to stress, and avoids burnout.
By understanding that the more you try to fight against your body’s ultradian rhythms, the less productive you are likely to be, and the more burned out you may become. Working with these rhythms can unlock productivity and creativity you didn’t know you had. If you are an employee, you might even want to bring this article to your boss’s attention, and see if they would be willing to let you and other employees work this way.
What are your thoughts on taking ultradian rhythm breaks? If you already do this or try it, please share your observations in the comments section below!