Sleep Cycles, Health and Meditation

Sleep is the Most Important Factor for a Healthy Lifestyle

 Sometimes it seems like life is a never ending to-do list. We need to work out and focus on our job. We need to eat right and meditate. And we also need to find time to relax and enjoy ourselves. Often times the first thing to go on that list is sleep. It’s just too easy to avoid the good foam mattress. While it’s understandable, it turns out that sleep could be the most important component of anything on that list. A recent article in the Guardian by Max Lowery, a former-wall-street-trader-turned-personal-trainer, explains how he came to that realization.

Sleep Debt leads to Life Choices

“I was as a stockbroker, which meant waking at 5am, starting work at 7am, and then often staying out in the evenings to entertain clients,” says Lowery. “I had the benefit of youth on my side, but it took its toll. After a few years I was feeling constantly terrible.” This realization led Lowery to quit his job and become a personal trainer. While he says dieting and exercise were important, he quickly realized that neglecting his sleep actually had the biggest effect on his personal fitness. The time he spent on the treadmill could only be beneficial if he spent much more time on a good foam mattress. “The brutal truth is that if you don’t sleep enough, and you don’t sleep well enough, all your hard work will basically go wasted.”

Tracking Sleep Like a Trainer

To best understand why he was feeling the way he was, Lowery did what any personal trainer does: he tracked and charted his progress. He found that the average person cycles through sleep five times a night at about 90 minute intervals. Lowery  broke that down further into three sections: Non Rapid Eye Movement Stage I, Stage II, and Deep REM sleep. Each part was crucial to a different aspect of recovery and rejuvenation. He doubled down on his findings and began to preach the gospel of a good foam mattress (think Nectar) and plenty of sleep time. “Each stage is just as important as the next; you need to spend adequate time in each one to get a good night’s sleep,” Lowery says. “It’s best to wake during the lightest sleep phases (stages 1 or 2) if you want to feel refreshed and ready for the day.”

Sleep Training 101

Lowery says there are a number of natural ways to get your best sleep (many of which we’ve covered in previous Nectar blogs) like waking up at the same time, avoiding alcohol, and exercising well before bed, but he also lists some external ways to aid that sleep time.) “These are not sleeping pills,” Lowery emphasizes. “They are natural supplements that can assist in regulating sleep hormones.” Those supplements include magnesium for soothing sleep, valerian root to quickly nod off, and melatonin to combat jet lag. All of these combined with traditional sleeping methods will surely get you to your best health in no time. Don’t take our word for it — ask a trainer.