You can fill this bucket with eating late, binge watching Netflix, staying out late on a Friday night, having drinks. But I think we all know that doesn’t help our sleep.
I, instead, had to find a way to shut my mind off; the spitting that wouldn’t stop, I had to reduce the stress of the day.
So I put meditation and yoga and gratitude in that bucket. I put down my phone and read. Those ingredients settled my mind and allowed my body to work.
I also found the trick to trigger my sleep switch. Yes, there’s actually a sleep switch. You can flip it. It’s magical. Temperature is the key to that. More specifically, a change in temperature.
When you think about our lives today, we wake up at one temperature in our house. It’s about the same temperature in our car. It’s about the same temperature in our office.
It’s also about the same temperature we go back to sleep at night. There is very little environmental change.
But outside where we evolved, that temperature drops as the sun goes down, our bodies are looking for a change in temperature.
For me, this is warming up in a snugly, tight, warm bed. I love a warm bed. For my husband, it’s completely different. He would fall asleep on a slab of ice if he could. So it doesn’t matter what that change is.
But you do want to flip that switch. When you do, you can fall asleep in less than 30 minutes. For me, these days, less than 15, a far cry from the hours and hours of tossing and turning and not falling asleep.
Bedtime bucket checked.
The next bucket of the night is your deep sleep bucket.
And for me, this is from when I fall asleep to the middle of the night or from 10 to 3. Deep sleep has been called the fountain of youth, because when we’re in deep sleep, we heal.
Shortly after falling into deep sleep, your spinal fluid comes up over your brain and washes the toxins away. Your DNA is healed. Your memories are filed.
Yes, they’re filed during deep sleep. You don’t file your memories during the day. They pile up.
So if you can imagine your office desk and all day, as you did stuff, you put files on that desk. If over time, every day, you did not get rid of those files and that enormous pile of memories piles up, you would not be able to find those memories.
That’s what happens when we don’t have deep sleep.
Deep sleep is unfortunately the most elusive kind of sleep. And as we age it declines.
So when you’re 20, it’s pretty easy to get that two hours of sleep, about 20% of that eight hour window. But by the time we’re 80, it’s about seven minutes or less.
This is why every single disease of the elderly is attached to lack of deep sleep. Not one gets by, every single one.
But we’re asleep during deep sleep.
So how was I going to fix a bucket of sleep that I’m not conscious for?
So I turned back to temperature. Our bodies, our circadian rhythm during this time is dropping to its lowest point of the day. Just like I described it dropping to the lowest point outside. So deep sleep likes it cold.
So the question became, how do I figure out how cold, how do I figure out how much?
And this is where my kids will tell you, I went a little mad scientist and I turned our bedroom into a sleep lab. I put my bed up on risers because I needed to put lots of crap underneath it.
And I put sensors in the bed, next to the bed on me, on my husband, all my children. I skipped the dog, but otherwise all of those sensors led to this great equation.
I did contract with labs as far away as Boston and Finland on how to do this simulation and really get this screwed down.
But it turns out our modern day mattresses kind of sabotage us in this equation. Those comfortable foams absorb our heat as we’re sleeping and then reflect it back to us right about the middle of the night. Not awesome.
The other thing that happens is we got great blankets. Everyone’s got fabulous comforters that go on top, but they insulate us from our environment.
So even if we’re following our instructions that we get on the internet that says sleep between 60 and 68, that room temperature isn’t hitting our bodies.
Our bodies are like race cars, they’r engines, they’re putting off heat. And just like you wouldn’t drive your Ferrari without a radiator, you shouldn’t sleep with one during deep sleep either.
So I put cooling underneath my body in that cave. And magic happened – two hours of deep sleep, any age and when I wanted it.
Deep sleep bucket checked.
The last bucket of the night is REM sleep.
And again, like I said before, all these different kinds of sleep are happening, but this is the window for REM.
During this time, your body clock is warming your body up those two degrees. Just like the sun is coming up over the planet, warming it up, you want to warm up too.
And you need to remember that you turn on that sleep switch. This is the time to turn it off. Heat turns it off.
When you do, your body’s ready to wake up because you’ve actually said I’m done sleeping and it’s magical.
This recipe has changed my life.
This is my sleep before my recipe, nine and a half hours in bed, less than five hours of sleep, very little quality sleep. This is what I look like tired. This is an exhausted sleep.
This is nine hours of not being productive, tossing and turning and feeling like I’m not good at sleep.
This is my sleep today. And the first thing you’re going to notice is it’s six hours. And everything you read is saying, you need eight.