Optimize Your Sleep Schedule, Which Sleep Animal Are You?

Updated: Sep 29

Sleep is one of the most important factors in our overall well being. It helps us to maintain a healthy weight, have a better mood, and be more productive. Basically, the better we sleep, the healthier we are.

Sleep deprivation can cause many different health problems. Over time It can lead to the following:

  • obesity

  • diabetes

  • high blood pressure.

  • decreases your immune system response

  • makes you more susceptible to catching colds or the flu

  • can cause depression and mood disorders

  • anger, frustration and feeling grumpy

  • it can mean the difference of you showing up for yourself and others

And it doesn't just affect adults either; it's been shown that children who don't sleep enough or are not getting the quality of sleep they need, are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety when they grow up.

Many people don't realize how important sleep is for their health until they start having problems with it themselves or with their loved ones. Sleep is the foundation of good health and longevity. In our opinion, the quality of sleep you get is more important than quantity as we are all different and therefore, need different things. Moreover, the time you go to sleep at can play a crucial role in the quality of sleep you get and how refreshed you feel the next day.

If you really want to get the foundation right, start by learning what type of sleep animal you are. You can take a chronotype quiz here https://thesleepdoctor.com/sleep-quizzes/chronotype-quiz/

This quiz will point you in the right direction for your ideal sleep and wake time.

Once you have figured out which type you are, you can then work on fine tuning your sleep schedule to allow a rhythm to develop. This can be counter intuitive. From my own personal experience, sleeping between 6 to 7 hours per night from 10pm to roughly 4 or 5 am is not ideal for me. This wake up time leaves me feeling groggy and slightly confused the next day. By delaying this routine by 1-1.5 hours means my own particular optimum sleep time is roughly 11:30pm to 12:00 Midnight until 06:00 to 07:00 which results in less wake ups, more deep sleep, feeling energized with a better mood throughout the next day. This took me months to figure out but the more you understand that we all require a slightly modified approach, the better off you will be as there is no one size fits all when it comes to this subject, or most things for that matter! Trial and error are important but also, being aware that sometimes you need to stick with an approach a short time before it will have an effect is good to remember.

Of course , there will be times when you need to adjust what is right for you and this is especially true for shift workers but the main thing is, whilst keeping to a routine is very healthy , having balance is equally as healthy and can be the difference in you achieving your goals. There is no point in being upset because your schedule is out of sync sometimes like when you go on holidays, just accept that it is the case, move on and re-correct it again when you are back in your normal routine.

The Key Condensed Points to remember in order to optimize your sleep are as follows:

  • Take the Chronotype Quiz https://thesleepdoctor.com/sleep-quizzes/chronotype-quiz/

  • Try to adapt your bedtime routine to match which type of sleep animal you are

  • note any differences in mood and well being when trying different sleep schedules

  • keep your new routine going until you're feeling confident in your sleep again but remember not to get upset when your routine is upset

  • maintain a balanced outlook and if you need to adjust your sleep schedule due to holidays, etc.....that's ok , just correct it when you get home

Watch Dr. Michael Breus give a Ted Talk on the importance of timing in your life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmbv7yZ2buE

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