The bi-weekly reset: A gateway to improving sleep and recovery
Over the past 10 years, there has been a steep increase in sleep research. This has been coupled lately with a huge surge in media coverage about the importance of sleep for your health and your performance. With this bombardment of information, you would think the problem has been solved, but we have found the opposite to be true. In fact, all of this information has often led to a clear understanding and judgment about how important sleep is but a complete disconnect in how to achieve it. This isn't surprising since sleep is a multi-dimensional and complex phenomenon.
Much of what is reported by the media on sleep are averages based on population-specific research. Unfortunately, none of us are represented specifically by those averages. Your individual sleep requirements and patterns are influenced by your chronotype (your unique circadian rhythm), your contributing sleep killers (anticipatory stress about things to come, critical incident processing on things that have happened, self-judgment, ruminating thoughts, etc.), your sleep debt (the amount of physical fatigue you have created during your wakeful state), your nutrition, your immune function, your pain, your daily habits (alcohol use, work to rest ratios, etc.), and so much more. At the same time, you are trying to fit the perfect sleep approach into the imperfect and highly challenging world you live in.
Recently, a client shared the common problem of feeling that mid-week slump because her sleep was so inconsistent. While the real work and life demands may make consistent sleep a real challenge, a simple quick fix is to use a bi-weekly reset approach. This approach selects two days per week where you make sleep your number one priority.
The most practical way to do this is by leveraging Sunday and Wednesday. Sunday is a great day because it tends to wind down earlier which frees you up to optimize your sleep and ensure you start the week off strong. Wednesday is the perfect day for a mid-week reset. Wednesday is still a normal workday; however, if you could make sleep your number one priority again, you could finish the week strong and carry some energy into your weekend.
Here are some suggestions on what you can do on your reset days:
_get movement in but be careful not to overdo it with too much intensity.
_keep your blood glucose balanced throughout the day; avoid alcohol and large meals before bed.
_stay hydrated throughout the day.
_write down the first thing you need to do the next day so you don't ruminate on it in bed.
_get into bed before 10 pm, and wake up at your usual time.
_do a sleep ritual by minimizing light, setting a cool room temperature (60-67 degrees F, 15-19 C), taking a warm shower, doing some light stretching, reflect on what you did well that day, drinking herbal tea (chamomile, lavender, etc.), using essential oils, reading something for pleasure, etc.
Getting two reset days of sleep is a great way to start your journey towards a better week. Over time, the benefits you gain from these two days will creep into many of your other nights, and before you know it, you'll be sleeping and performing much better.
We hope this helps you, and as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
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