I’ve always enjoyed sleeping and have had very little problem doing so over the years. Most of us lead busy lives with hectic schedules and we feel like we’re doing great if we get 6 – 7 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is very important when you’re training hard and leading an active lifestyle. During sleep our bodies don’t really shut down – this is when a lot of crucial “maintenance” and rebuilding work is accomplished.
In the past few years, the accepted rule of thumb has been that adults need about 8 hours of sleep each night. Recent sleep studies have suggested we might benefit by planning our sleep periods in multiples of 90-minutes. During a 90-minute sleep cycle we go through 3 stages of sleep, stage 1 is a lighter sleep, stage 2 is a bit deeper, and stage 3 is the deepest stage when REM sleep occurs (our brain is most active during REM sleep and our muscles are most relaxed, allowing for re-building and “maintenance” of muscle tissue).
I’ve been aware of the 90-minute sleep cycle theory for a few years now and from my own experience, I think it works. I feel more rested if I sleep 6 hours than if I sleep 7 hours. In late 2010, the CDC tweaked their sleep recommendation for adults to 7 – 9 hours. So when it comes to precious sleep, think in multiples of 90-minutes…..6 hours, 7.5 hours, 9 hours, and I’m jealous if you have the luxury of sleeping even more!
Give the 90-minute sleep cycle strategy a try and see if it works for you.
By Fred Klinge