Slumber Strategy: Deep Sleep toward Goal Achievement
You eat right. You exercise regularly. But, you're still not hitting all your health goals. What's the issue? It may be your sleep. From chronic tiredness to insomnia to sleep apnea, about 60% of adults don't get a deep, restful sleep each day (Chester, 2024). Aside from the decrease in energy, a lack of quality sleep has adverse mental, physical, and emotional effects. Below, we'll discuss the importance of sleep cycles; routines for optimizing sleep; diet's role in fostering deep, restful sleep; sleep's pivotal role in goal achievement; and other topics that help you to leverage your best sleep towards your best self. You'll be sleeping like a baby and crushing it like the goat.

Importance of Sleep Cycles
The sleep cycle is comprised of four primary stages—N1 (non-REM); N2 (non-REM); N3 (deep sleep, non-REM); and REM (Suni & Singh, 2023). N1, when you initially fall asleep, customarily last from one to seven minutes; N2 customarily last from 10 to 25 minutes; N3 customarily lasts between 20 and 40 minutes; while REM often lasts from 10 to 60 minutes (Krauss et al., 2021; Suni & Singh, 2023). REM is considered the "vivid-dreaming" stage—during which your mind synthesizes new and existing insights, clears the "dross" that may be hindering progress, and lays the foundation for heightened problem-solving and creativity—N3 is considered the "deep-sleep" phase, while N1 and N2 are regarded as the light-sleeping phases (Suni & Singh, 2023).  Circadian rhythms—the 24-hour internal clock in the brain that controls periods of alertness and sleepiness (National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 2023)are rooted in sleep cycles, regulating when you're at peak alertness, the durability of your energy, and how easily you can wind down.

Routines for Optimizing Sleep
There are a number of routines you can follow to optimize your sleep. Keep a consistent routine, including when you eat, go to bed, and wake up—even on weekends or holidays. Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Especially if you are neurodivergent, avoid bright lights—particularly, white lights, like those in shops or eateries, or blue lights, emanating from devices—at least 90 minutes before bedtime. If you, or are a close contact, are neurodivergent, bright lights should be minimized, and coordinate with workplace, vacation, or leisure sites to so the proper accommodations can be made. Abstain from longer naps—in excess of 20 minutes—later in the day, as these can disrupt sleep. Have "power naps"—20 minutes or less—in the middle of the day (e.g., during your lunch break) as your schedule allows to boost your energy, without interfering with your productivity. Becoming reliant on power naps (having several of them daily) can interfere with sleep later in the day and may signal deeper health issues (Cleveland Clinic, 2023). Please consult a medical professional if you feel you need multiple naps during the day or are feeling chronically tired. Alternatively, engage in relaxing activitiesstretching, reading, listening to relaxing music or audiobooks, painting, drawing, etc.60 to 90 minutes before bed toward optimizing your sleep cycle and getting the rest you need. You want to be in your "zen," your calm space, so you can best turn in so you can always turn it up. Though adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep daily, these routines will allow you to maximize your sleep time, getting a deep and restful sleep, even with just a few hours.

young woman, sleeping soundly, in a living room with a majestic landscape as the backgroundHowever, you can't effectively implement any other of the above routines if there's a physiological condition, such as a sleep disorder, or psychological illness, looming. If you're unable to sleep well, or cannot quickly fall back asleep after waking up; experience chest tightness or difficulty breathing; find it hard to relax or quiet your mind; or are burdened by unusual tiredness for at most a month, contact your medical provider.

Exercises for Better Sleep
Along with the healthy habits mentioned above, you can also regularly engage in particular exercises to promote deep, restful sleep. Moderate-intensity cardio workouts (including brisk walking, jogging, cycling, water aerobics, and bike rides (on modest hills) can help you power down, easing you into a restful sleep. Additionally, resistance training (Ellis, 2022) especially power lifting), abdominal breathing, also known as "belly breathing" or "diaphragmatic breathing"in which one takes deep breaths, from the stomach, the bottom of the lungs, up through the throat (Cuncic, 2023)box breathingduring which you inhale, hold your breath, then exhale, repeating the sequence eight to 10 timesalternate nostril breathing, yoga, pilates. aerobics (or any form), and low lunges can also stave off sleepless nights. The above, and similar exercises, help you fall asleep faster and for longer, release endorphins (hormones that make you feel happier and raise well-being), raise your core body temperature, and reduce the risk of insomnia (Johns Hopkins Medicine, n.d.), helping you get a good night's sleep while promoting your wellness.

Diet for a Restful Sleep
The following foods have been demonstrated to promote deeper and more restful sleep:
  • Nuts (once you're not allergic)
  • Cherries
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Leafy greens
  • Chickpeas
  • Oily Fish
  • Lean meats (e.g., turkey)
  • Yogurt
  • Whole grains
  • Gluten-free grains (such as millet, oats, and quinoa)
                                                              (Bruce, 2022; Elliott, 2024; Petre & Ajmera, 2023)                         

Studies of indicated a combination of magnesium, melatonin, and vitamin B (Petra & Ajmera, 2023)--specifically, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12--allow better sleep and rest. Valerian root may also reduce anxiety and insomnia (Bruce, 2022). Minimizing alcohol and caffeine intake, and consuming the majority of your calories early in the day--i.e., a hearty breakfast and a lighter dinner--will promote your digestion and sleep (Jansen, 2024). Overall, diets high in fiber and low in saturated fat will help you get the sleep you need.

Benefits of Restful Sleep
Benefits of restful sleep include a more robust memory, a strengthened immune system, enhanced mood, improved heart health, an optimized metabolism, repaired muscles and tissues, reduced inflammation, normalized hormonal levels, and increased energy (Johnson, 2023). Quality sleep also promotes concentration, focus, and learning while facilitating the release of toxins (Wiginton, 2022). The benefits of a restful sleep go beyond minimizing tiredness; they extend to emotional, mental, and physiological benefits.

Health Impacts of Poor Sleep
Poor sleep can contributes to a number of health conditions including diabetes; obesity; dementia; cancer; heart disease; difficulty concentrating; hypertension; mental health disorders, including depression; poor balance and coordination, including chronic trips and falls; and other chronic conditions (Hillman & Lack, 2013). Poor sleepers, without coronary heart disease, lost, on average, 1.8 years and 2.31 years. relative to their restful-sleeping peers, among females and males, respectively, while average-sleeping peers, without coronary heart disease, lost, on average, .48 of a year and .55 of a year, relative to their restful-sleeping peers, among females and males respectively (Huang et al., 2023). Among men, those with clinical insomnia or sleep-related breathing disorders, without coronary heart disease, lost, on average, 3.84 years and 6.73 years, respectively (Huang et al., 2023). Among women, those with sleep-related breathing disorder or other sleep disorders lost, on average, 7.32 years and 1.43 years, respectively (Huang et al., 2023). Moreover, sleep disorders were correlated with diminished quality of life, depression, and anxiety among coronary-heart-disease patients, with those suffering from the condition facing a nearly 47% chance of developing a sleep disorders (Zheng et al., 2023). Poor sleep is more than an inconvenience; it is potentially deadly.

Sleep is the 1st Step in Goal Achievement
To be your best, you must sleep your best. As sleep building the foundation for problem-solving, creativity, insight, and overall brain health, deep, restful sleep is really the first step in goal achievement. Yes, a lack of resources or time pressures often get in the way of fulfilling objectives; but insights and different perspectives--readily at hand with a good night's sleep--can make goal achievement more efficient, revealing "shortcuts" and quicker, yet still prudent, techniques for accomplishment. Therefore, the surest path to success may be sleeping on of colleagues getting the work done, happily


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Giuliana Ambrosio

Date 4/8/2024

Seminal Wellness Team

Date 4/8/2024

Kayce Musbrook

Date 4/8/2024

Julian Chen

Date 4/9/2024

Sharya Leakes

Date 4/10/2024

Seminal Wellness Team

Date 4/10/2024

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