Am I getting enough sleep?
Today's question is 'Do I get enough sleep and how do I know?' I will tell you exactly how you can self assess, whether you have enough sleep, when you should go to your doctor and get a sleep study done and when you should come and see me of course, as well. So let's get started.
This episode is going to be very practical and so we're going to dive right in. I have so many clients that come to me and tell me, 'Christine, I don't know if I get enough sleep. Do I?' Most of the time you actually know! You will have a feeling that tells you that you know. But even if you're not entirely sure, I'm going to give you some questions right now to help you assess, whether you get enough sleep and you will also get a professional resource that sleep scientists use, in order to pre assess their client's sleep capabilities.
So the first question I ask my clients is 'when you wake up, are you well rested? Do you wake up naturally, or if you didn't set your alarm clock, would you still wake up around the same time?' If you wake up naturally 2 - 3 hours later, then it means that you are sleep deprived and that you are carrying around a sleep dept (more info on that later).
Second question is, ‘would you be ready to fall back asleep at 10 or 11 AM in the morning?’ If the answer is yes, there is the possibility that you are too tired as well.
Third question is, ‘would you be able to function optimally without caffeine before noon?’ Again, if your answer is ‘no way Jose’, then you are self medicating and you're actually sleep deprived, because you're pushing yourself with additional resources and you should be able to function optimally before or up to noon.
If you cannot do that, then all of these answers have given me clues that you are sleep deprived. What does sleep deprived mean? Sleep deprived means your hormone, that is making you sleep, is building up and cannot be released back to levels 0 again. (If you haven't done so, look at my episode about sleep and caffeine, where I explain exactly how that hormone called Adenosine, is working. It's basically something that builds up your sleep pressure very natural and when you sleep well, it goes back to 0 and then the next day it builds up again. However, if you have multiple days, where you don't get enough sleep or multiple weeks or even months, it means that those adenosine levels never completely clear, which means that you are constantly tired and it is a state that you can get used to. You can't remember how it was any different, but that doesn't mean that it's meant to be/ stay that way.
This is really important to me. You can live differently and I want to help you with that. A couple of other questions that I have are "Do you find that when you are reading or when you are on your computer, you are reading and rereading every sentence a few times?" If that is the case, it means that you are too tired as well. You should be able to snap things up and be focused. If you have to read and reread, because you forgot what it was, then you are definitely sleep deprived. Also, ‘when you are in traffic do you remember the last three to four traffic lights?’ If not, that also means that you are sleep deprived. Be very careful about that, because if that happens, your brain is taking a kind of nap. It's on autopilot, so it's still working. But if you are too sleep deprived, it might sneak in 2 - 3 seconds of sleep, which can lead to a very, very serious road accident. Make sure if you cannot remember those three to four traffic lights, it's a sign. It's really time to do something about this; for your sake, but also for everyone around you.
What happens if you have answered these questions with, ‘yes, I actually can't remember’ or ‘yes, I have to reread’ or ‘yes, I can't survive without coffee in the morning’? There are different things. If you have actually slept and you still feel that way, immediately go to your doctor and ask to get a sleep study done. If they are going to prescribe you sleeping pills, please be very careful, because sleeping pills can mask what is happening with your potential sleep disorder (I'm not saying you have one).
Before taking sleeping pills, if you've been sleeping and you're still tired, get a sleep study done to make sure you don't have insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg or anything like that. That is the first thing, I would recommend. Next, if you are not sleeping, because either your mind is playing tricks on you, meaning you have so much going on that you can't switch it off, then get in touch with me. I can help you with that. Also, if sometimes you are actually not stress at all, but you still wake up at 2:00, 3:00 AM and you're completely wired and your body is just on edge, but you are exhausted and can't fall back to sleep, get back to me as well. It's very likely that it has something to do with your hormone balance, with your gut health or with your thyroid and I can help you with those.
In all of these scenarios, you should really make sure that your baselines and foundations are stable. Your sleep foundations, but also your nutrition and your stress situation. I can help you with all of that. Reach out to me, if you want to get back on track and if you don't want to be that person, who doesn't remember the traffic lights and is suddenly napping, creating a huge accident.
The last resource that I'm going to give you today is an assessment that sleep research is using all of the time. SATED.
When you tick the boxes that apply for you, it will give you a gauge where you are at in your sleep, so the total can reach between 0 and 12. 0 being poor sleep health and 12 being good sleep health. Obviously it's still up to you to interpret the results, but if you are on the lower side, I would definitely advise you to get in touch with me.
I just had someone on the phone a couple of days ago, who is not going out with her friends anymore, because they just don't understand. She is really on track of becoming a hermit. She's not meeting the people she wants to meet. She is single, doesn't have a boyfriend and doesn't know how to meet one, because she's so tired that she can't go out. It's a really fucked up situation and it all comes down to her sleep. If you are in a similar situation and you can say, 'yeah, I see myself not going out at night, because I'm so stressed about sleep; that's not the way your life should be like! Your life is supposed to be amazing. It's opposed to feel great and if it's not, then you shouldn't live that way. Get in touch to me and I will help you figure out, how we can make your sleep better and what solutions would work best for you.
I'm here for you and I will talk to you very, very soon.