Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Okay, I will admit, I am going to make a few goals. I will purposely set a deadline for one week instead of trying to change my ways forever. I will give these two goals one week and if I can make it then I will go for two. So, here you go:

Resolution number one: Do not push snooze button for one week.

I emailed my brother Mark this past week with a link to a watch that Cory had recommended checking into that has an alarm that supposedly wakes you up within a certain time frame at the best time for you to wake up. Since I have a real problem with pushing snooze I emailed Mark to ask him about the watch and my problem with the snooze. I told him that I want to wake up at 5:00 to start working out, but often times push snooze 3-5 times each morning and then don't work out most days. My brother Mark manages two sleep clinics in Phoenix and I would consider him an expert on sleep. Here is his response (remember this is an email to his brother and not a research article!):

I've never heard about this watch, but a couple of years ago I did a
bunch of research on a device that would fit on a patient's arm and two
fingers. Basically these things just work on body movement and heart
rate, which change all the time throughout sleep and aren't necessarily
associated with between sleep/wake cycles. Without seeing brain
activity there's really nothing that can measure if you are asleep.

Most of the reason people have such a hard time waking up at 5 is that most people enter their last and longest REM period right before they wake up, which on average takes about 6 hours to get into. What’s happening is that you’re waking yourself up toward the last 3rd (30-45min) of your last REM period. Well that pisses off your brain and your body because REM is your most restorative sleep, and messing it up can cause a number of issues from simply day time tiredness to chronic injuries. And that’s why you constantly hit your snooze and have a really hard time getting out of bed.

A word about snoozing: This is a horrible habit to have when it comes to sleep. Now everyone snoozes some, but to continually do it you’re robbing yourself of uninterrupted REM sleep. Even though you go to bed with every intention to wake up at 5am, if you’re not going to get up it’s far healthier to just sleep until you REALLY need to get out of bed. You probably would tell a difference in energy level instantly after getting yourself trained not to snooze for 30 min or in your case an hour

There are ways to get yourself to enter your REM period sooner upon waking up so to maximize your REM sleep:
- Try to cut back on caffeine as best you can. Though caffeine is a wonder stimulant a lot research shows that it causes your REM latency to be increased. Best thing is to not drink any caffeine 3 hours before going to bed.

- Go to bed an hour earlier. Obvious I know

- Exercise, but you already have that down.

- Don’t use your snooze. Wake up when you want to wake up and you can slowly train your body to change its sleep cycles appropriately

- Have an orgasm. Yep that’s right!!! It helps you relax and that in turn helps you get started on your REM cycles faster. Research proves it!!

- Some meditation will work too. I have been doing this during the day and it seems to help with me. Just take ten minutes during the day and shut your eyes. This causes your brain to give off strong alpha waves, which are super good for your brain and your disposition.

Resolution number two:

Off the internet no later than 8:00 pm. This will be good for me. I usually am getting on around 10 or so when my daughter is going to bed and then I just surf away until 11 or later. Not good if I am wanting to get up at 5:00!

I will let you know how it goes.


Huevos con Salsa said...

Orgasm huh? "But honey, I'm just trying to get some quality REM sleep!" I'll have to try it.

Paul said...

Hey, don't hurt the bad doing some crazy stuff! %^)

Paul said...

Opps. I meant back instead of bad. Sorry.

Reflector Collector said...

Paul, thanks for posting so much good information. I too am a problematic snoozer. Today I was up right at 5am. No snooze. Makes a huge difference in jump-starting the day. Need to focus on that positive aspect, not the couple minutes of "sleep" between snooze buttons.

Paul said...

Ken, honestly, after reading your blog I knew that we were both snooze pushers! I have been good the last several days. I just need to continue it once I get back to work on Thursday!