Are you getting enough quality SLEEP each night?

I know this past year has been a little bit odd to say the least, but it has also been an opportunity to work on our SELF CARE while are spending more time at home. 

The WHOLESTIC Method eight elements all work together to help us be FIT and HEALTHY from the inside out.  When one element is not in balance- then it throws of the balance of the rest of the body.

For example, SLEEP.

How often have you woke up feeling exhausted then felt grumpy, short tempered, irritable and impatient the rest of the day?

When were you sleep deprived- how often did you have the motivation to choose good, healthy nutrient dense food to eat over the processed, empty calorie packaged food?

Those days when you felt tired, irritable and grumpy- did you have the motivated and energy to do a quality workout …or was it a garbage workout that you pushed through and it was probably not worth your time- and you were better off going for an easy walk or even taking a NAP?

SLEEP impacts the WHOLE you

Including your ability to burn fat, optimize your health and improve your performance in daily life activities.

  • How does sleep impact our ability to burn fat?
  • How does sleep make us healthy from the inside out?
  • How does sleep impact our ability to recover and repair from a workout?

We do have so much information and research we can dive into for many podcast episodes, videos and blogs but let’s start today with how the sleep cycle works and how much sleep is optimal for us to be FIT and HEALTHY from the inside out?

I am excited to share that Neal and I finally invested in an OURA ring for our Valentine’s gift – self-care is self-love!  We will be able to track our recovery, repair and readiness for our workouts.

How Oura Measures Your Sleep

Oura measures sleep using sensors that gauge body signals, including your resting heart rate (RHR), heart rate variability (HRV), body temperature, respiratory rate, and movement, to determine your sleep patterns. These sensors include a photoplethysmogram (PPG), a 3D accelerometer, and a temperature sensor.

Each of your body’s signals shift during the four different stages of sleep.

For example, respiration and RHR rise to near-waking levels during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, while they fall to their lowest levels during deep sleep.

These shifts allow Oura to decipher your sleep patterns, such as how much time you spent in each sleep stage, how restorative your sleep was, and whether you went to sleep on time.

Overall, your body spends the majority of the night in light sleep.

How much time you spend in REM or deep can vary widely by individual but below are the averages you can expect for each stage in a single night

Tools like the Oura Ring can help you monitor your sleep patterns

…and generate a Sleep Score each night to help you improve your sleep.

Check out these patterns to see if your sleep is being disrupted:

  • Increase in deep sleep after a hard workout: Exercise can increase your body’s prioritization of deep sleep the night after an intensive workout.1
  • Higher REM rebound after sleep deprivation: When you recover from a period of sleep deprivation, your body prioritizes deep sleep for the first few nights to repair your body and prepare for action. After several nights of sufficient deep sleep, REM sleep rebounds to focus on your brain.
  • Interrupted sleep cycles after caffeine: Caffeine can increase the time it takes for you to fall asleep, cutting your sleep period short. Shorter sleep periods disproportionately cut down on your total REM sleep, as REM cycles are more likely to occur in later sleep cycles.

We can take a look at your nightly patterns (e.g., heart rate, body temperature) and acting on your desire to improve your sleep can help you face those days well rested.

Let’s review the stages of sleep.

Sleep stages 1, 2, and REM consist of light sleep, while 3 and 4 comprise deep sleep.

Stage 1

  • We drift from being awake to being asleep.
  • This is a light, non-REM sleep that is short in duration.
  • You begin to relax and dream
  • Muscles may twitch as we transition into the next sleep stage.

Stage 2

  • Another light sleep stage but now we begin to drift into a steadier sleep stage
  • Our breathing and heartbeat slow down
  • The muscles relax.
  • The body temperature decreases
  • Our brain waves are less active.

Stages 3 and 4

  • Now we enter into deep sleep and even deeper sleep-in stage four
  • While we are in deep sleep- our breathing, heartbeat, body temperature and brain waves reach their lowest levels
  • Our muscles are extremely relaxed
  • We are more difficult to wake
  • We body repairs and rebuilds more in Stage 4- this is where we heal, tissue growth and repair take place at a cellular level
  • Growth hormones are at work
  • Detoxification – internal cellular housekeeping services arrives
  • Our cellular energy is restored

REM sleep- “Stage 5”

  • We begin our first cycle of REM sleep approximately 90 minutes after we fall asleep
  • REM sleep occurs every 90-minutes
  • During REM sleep, our eyes move around more quickly behind our eyelids
  • The brainwaves during REM sleep are more similar to our brainwaves during our awake stage.
  • Our breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure rise to near-waking levels during the REM cycle.
  • We tend to do most of our dream here -REM cycle and dreaming.
  • Interesting fact- To keep us from acting out our dreams – our arms and legs are temporarily “paralyzed”! 

More on

How can you prepare your body before bed to have an improved night of sleep?

We call this creating a SLEEP HYGEINE routine at night- what are you doing before bedtime to optimize your time sleeping to improve fat loss, detoxification, cell autophagy, recovery and repair?

After my “adrenal exhaustion” started around March 2013, I have made sleep a priority!  Some people may think I am “lame” or boring, but I don’t like to stay out late on a “school night” as I rather get a good night sleep and wake up early to work out before the workday begins! 

What do I do to prepare for bedtime?

  1. Stop eating at least three hours before bedtime – typically we eat our main meal (“Lunner”) around 2 or 3pm then I stop eating by 4pm during the work week.  This makes intermittent fasting easy and unintentional! 
  2. Schedule harder workouts to earlier in the day – if I workout close to bedtime then I am too wired (cortisol elevated), and my sleep is horrible.  I do best exercise in the morning with a fasted aerobic exercise as walk, run or bike ride then harder workout in the afternoon or early evening around 4:30pm.
  3. I use the BIOMAT (far infrared heat) for 30-minutes in the evening while stretching on the floor and watching a show (no negative news at nighttime before bed!).  I have been trying to use the Queen of Thrones Castor Oil Pack over my liver during the same time as my BIOMAT session.
  4. A few nights a week, we do Yin Yoga before bed for 20-45 minutes with our Inner Dimensions Yoga TV app program or find a different Yin Yoga (sleepy time) on YouTube.  if we don’t do a yin yoga class- I try to do a few yoga stretches for even one minute or use the Hyperice foam roller, Theragun or Normatech boots before we head to bed.
  5. I use relaxing essential oils in our night light plug-in diffusers in the bedroom -especially helpful during our yoga session at nighttime (or in the morning during our power yoga I use energetic essential oils).
  6. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages early in the day.  I do best stop caffeine before 11am – 12pm the latest.  The other day I had cold brew around noon and my sleep was horrible that night!  Check your genetic reports for your reaction to caffeine- slow or fast oxidizer.
  7. We both wear blue blocking glasses if getting too much screen time in the day and evening from Swanwick and from RaOptics.  Ideally no screen time 1-2 hours before bed – especially phones, texts, emails and social media. Take the evening to disconnect and recharge!
  8. Keep the bedroom cool (62’) and dark – dim the lights.
  9. I have a face cleansing routine at night as well as a weekly mud mask facial we both do on Sunday evenings for 20-minutes. 
  10. Once in bed, I write in my GRATITUDE Journal at least three things that I am grateful for that day or that brought me JOY!  It is fun to look back over the past year and read my comments plus the left side of the journal has motivational quotes to add to my inspiration.  Positive thoughts-positive vibes-positive energy= brings a positive attitude!
  11. My goal is to read at least three pages (yes minimal goal but it works) before bedtime – I usually read more than that but I started with setting the bar low so I would read at least something before bed until I got tired and sleepy eyes!
  12. Keep the room dark by wearing a face mask.  Recently I found that my quality of sleep improved when I wear a face mask to bed all night as our bedroom has lots of light from outside and I sleep best when in a pitch-dark room. I just bought another new mask that is great to add essential oils on the outside to help relax and shift into the Parasympathetic “Rest, Digest and Detox” nervous system while I am going to sleep!
  13. We use a fan sound machine at night- which is great because we recently have these really loud frogs out our bedroom window in our fountain in the back yard (they are so loud for little frogs!).  Plus, our new neighborhood has coyotes that prowl around at nighttime and they can get very LOUD if we don’t keep our sound machine on all night.
  14. No clock or EMF in our room- we don’t have an alarm clock, watches or clock on the wall.  I find looking at the clock when I am going to bed or when I wake during the night only creates stress for me plus we don’t need an alarm clock anymore except on Mondays when I start coaching clients online at 730am.  Neal does have his iPhone near his bed turned off WIFI and in AIRPLANE mode.  Make sure you don’t have the WIFI router in your room and ideally all devices turned off.
  15. We wake up and workout outside- ideally with yoga and a walk or go for a morning bike ride or run outside.  We enjoy doing our strength workout after work plus fit in a walk or a swim (for me) at lunch time. My goal is to get more movement throughout the day – not just when we wake up!
  16. Supplements before bed top help optimize my sleep sometimes include magnesium, B6, melatonin, CBD and then I take a GI DETOX supplement two hours away from any other supplement. 
  17. Listen to “spa” like calming music or brain waves playlists. I like deep sleep playlist on Spotify and others- to play for one hour before bedtime.
  18. Meditation and breathing exercises! When I am trying to fall asleep and if I wake up during the night (bathroom break) then I often focus on breathing to help me quiet my mind and fall back asleep.
  19. Did you ever watch Ernie on Sesame Street? He would count sheep before bed. Counting my inhales and longer exhales helps me fall asleep as well as doing “box breathing” – nasal breathing, inhale, hold, exhale, hold and repeat.

What is your favorite sleep “hacks” you do at night to improve your quality of sleep? I know I didn’t share all the tips!

I found this blog post on OURA website… and this one

Let’s dive into the research next time on how sleep impacts our gut health and ability to burn fat.

Until then,

The WHOLESTIC Method Coach,

Debbie Potts

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