Growing up I was always told sleep is the most important medicine. And unlike my sister who was a complete night owl, when I was done for the day, I was done. Meaning, as soon as I was worn out, my head would hit that pillow and I was out within seconds.
That part hasn’t changed, but my relationship with sleep over the years certainly has. My stress level has been through the roof, my schedule has been all over the place, and it occurred to me that while I understood the importance of sleep, I wasn’t prioritizing it. And my attitude was changing for the worse because of it.
The week before I left for Paris, I had a wake-up call. Beautyrest® sent me the Beautyrest® Sleeptracker® monitor to try, which is a device you put under your mattress; it connects to the accompanying mobile app to track your sleep. It shows your breathing rate, heart rate, total sleep time, how long you took to fall asleep, how many times you woke up (and for how long) … and then breaks down your Light sleep, REM sleep and Deep sleep time.
As I learned from the app’s Smart Coach tips, REM sleep is crucial for brain performance and organizing memory. Deep sleep is for the regeneration of the body – that’s when muscles are restored and the immune system is strengthened.
Unlike wearable sleep monitors (that require being worn and needing to be charged regularly), the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor is completely non-invasive and plugs directly into a wall outlet. It basically looks like a defibrillator, two paddles so it can track you and your partner’s sleep (or you can just use one side).
The Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor gave me a closer look at the things keeping me up at night (monitoring everything from my caffeine intake to how much TV or other devices I was using before bed) and offers personalized, easy-to-implement insights to help me make the most of my time asleep.
Back to my wake-up call. The first week I used it (right before the trip), I was mortified to see I was averaging 6-6.5 hours of sleep. The app actually recommended I try exercising before bed. I went to a talk by sleep guru, Arianna Huffington a few months prior where she reaffirmed that I’m someone who needs 7-8 hours a sleep a night to be a functional human being. In my head I assumed that’s what I was getting. I have a busy but flexible schedule so it wasn’t my alarm clock that was keeping me up, it was my stress level. And, I wasn’t paying attention to the time I was going to bed and waking up. My brain was on overdrive with my to-do list and deadlines. The next month was a whirlwind. I was in four time zones in less than 30 days. I went from NY –> Paris –> NY –> LA –> Vegas –> NY –> Mykonos. The New York trips were for 1-2 days just to change suitcases and make sure my dog and boyfriend still remembered me. By the time I was back, my stomach and my sleep was a mess, and I was exhausted. Of all the trips, Vegas was the worst — I was cranky non-stop. While it was so fun, the conference I attended had us scheduled from 8am to midnight. That means that by the time I got my work done after returning to my hotel room and woke up early to get ready for the conference each day, I felt the burn out and it severely impacted my mood. The only cure: sleep.
When I got home I decided I needed to cut down on work, refocus and prioritize. My only concerns were my relationship, my dog, my sleep and the actual projects that excited and motivated me and ignored the rest.
I also redid my bedroom and was committed to creating my oasis. We painted the floors white, took out unnecessary furniture and clutter. I got new bedding from Croscil – I literally saw a picture on their website of my dream bedding and ordered the whole collection. I also got the most luxurious bed, a new Beautyrest Black® mattress and created a new rule: the rest of my apartment can be a mess but not my bedroom sanctuary.
Within a week of being back, my stomach was no longer in knots and my sleep was back to averaging 7.5 hours/night (I even hit 9 hours and 22 minutes one of the nights!). Best of all, I felt like an all-around more centered and happier human being. The coaching feature in the app even told me “So far this week, on average, 28% of your sleep has been deep sleep. That’s great – keep doing what you are doing!” I love my virtual sleep coach.
Ever since I started using the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor, I have a stronger understanding of my daily habits and how they affect my sleep. By implementing simple changes and paying attention to what is and what isn’t working for me I’m in such better shape every day to work more productively and feel more energized. And for the days I’m not, I’m now hyper aware of it and my limits.
The Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor is a complete game changer and $199. Learn more at http://www.beautyrest.com/Sleeptracker
Thank you Beautyrest for partnering with me on this post!