Share of the Week–

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How did you sleep last night?

Better yet, how did you feel this morning?


Or were you….groggy….


…and slooooooow-minded?

I will gladly tell you for me it was the former. And I will tell you that every day. Rarely do I wake up feeling tired, and I thank this to timing out my REM cycles with

No matter what your background, industry, or lifestyle, good sleep is absolutely crucial!

For those who do not understand REM cycles, and their function relative to our sleep quality, allow me to explain.

A fascinating book I read as part of my research for my fitness and lifestyle coaching company was “The Promise of Sleep,” a 512 page brick written by leading sleep scientist and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. William C. Dement.


It can be a bit scientific, but come on…if you live to be 90 years old, you will have spent an average of 30 years sleeping!! Aren’t you curious what’s going on during the 30 years of your life when you are just laying in bed??

Dement discovered and named the 4 stages of sleep over 50 years ago. Every night when you go to sleep your mind goes through these 4 stages. Imagine this as when you first to go bed, you are awakened easily by stimuli around you, but an hour or two into the night you are like a brick. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has ever shared a bed with you…it’s that time of the night when they want to pull some of the blanket back onto their side, but you are wrapped up nice and cozy, and out cold! So here’s a basic (very basic) description with image below:

Stage 1–Drowsy Sleep. When your brain transitions from the alpha waves it uses while awake to the theta waves of stage one. You’ll feel this transition as that falling sensation or a random twitch in your body. This is the moment you are technically entering sleep

Stage 2–Spine Spindles. This is when your brain has measurable 0.5 second bouts of energy, but externally you are out cold. Stage 2 stage occupies 45-55% of adult sleep

Stage 3–Deep Sleep. The deepest point in your sleep. This is the stage associated with parasomnias like sleepwalking and night terrors. Many illustrations, including the one below, show a Stage 4, but please disregard that, because stage 3 was formerly classified into two separate stages.

REM-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. This is the part of sleep everyone has heard of, but doesn’t fully understand. Although there is extensive research, there are many theories about REMs function. What researchers do agree upon is that you dream during this stage, and your creative pathways are formed for waking life to stimulate new thought. There is also a correlation to REM cycles and memory retention, yet concrete data has not been nailed down. REM accounts for 20-25% of sleep time in adults, and after going through several cycles of the various stages, REM guides us back to lighter sleep so we can wake up naturally in the morning. FUN FACT: to protect yourself, your brain creates REM atonia, a state of motor neuron paralysis which inhibits movement so we don’t act out our dreams.

The image below shows the stages and how they work in cycles. Notice REM is right before AWAKE

Notice that as the night goes on, stages 1-4 become shorter, while REM cycles become longer. This is why it is crucial to get at least 7 hours of sleep.

What does all this have to do with is a bedtime calculator that simply asks when you need to wake up, and calculates backwards what time you should go to bed in order to go through several full cycles. Or simply hit “Zzz” to find out when to wake up if you have to go to bed now.

The reason I chose this as my share of the week is its inherent simplicity relative to incredible importance of rest/sleep quality in our lives. I have been using for months now, and it works like a charm. I wake up almost every day before my alarm rings, and if it does happen to wake me I am indeed feeling energetic, rested, and refreshed!

My final tip for optimal sleep quality is this: keep your room as DARK as possible! If that means hanging posters over your window and towels over your balcony door, do it!!! The darker the room, the less disturbed your body and mind’s equilibrium will be.

Are you ready to wake up not feeling like crap?

Check out and let me know how you feel the next few days


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