Welcome to week one of our Bed & Bracket Sleep Challenge! As you begin this four week journey to a more restful sleep, you will first challenge yourself to make better use of your time. Sleeping for at least 7 hours a day is ultimately a numbers game; by planning ahead you can eliminate time-consuming activities at night or in the morning to dedicate more time to sleeping.
"Follow the SS rule (SHEEX Saturday or Sunday): Begin the habit of changing your SHEEX weekly on Saturday or Sunday. I find that clean sheets to either start your week on Sunday or end your week on Saturday are critical for mental relaxation in order to get a great night's sleep."
-Michelle Brooke-Marciniak, SHEEX Co-Founder
Stress is one of the leading causes of fitful sleep. Focus on cutting out controllable stressors to build a serene escape each night you sleep. Easing in and out of sleep will allow you to better complete your REM cycles and make you feel "recharged" in the morning. During the first week of the SHEEX Sleep Challenge complete these 7 Planning Ahead challenges to create ideal sleep conditions:
- Lay out your workday outfit and essentials the night before you sleep. Go beyond the basics - get your clothes, purse, wallet, umbrella, shoes, watch, and accessories ordered in a neat pile. Pack what you need for work, including your chargers, files, electronics, and laptop. Have your lunch ready to go in the refrigerator. This way you can hit the snooze button instead of launching out of bed in a panicked rush.
- Research your body's sleep chronotype and use it to create a corresponding sleep plan. Everyone has a different natural relationship to sleep based on his or her 24-hour hormone cycle. Dr. Michael Breus has identified four basic sleep chronotypes including "Lions" who wake up early and "Wolves" who stay up later. Use this information to orient your evening.
- Plan to be in bed eight hours before you need to wake up. If you wake up at 7 a.m. every morning, do not allow yourself to get in bed after 11 p.m. In order to properly wind down, set an alarm for 20 minutes before your designated bedtime. Use these twenty minutes to read a book, talk to your spouse, or cuddle with your pet - turn those screens off! Use what you learned about your sleep chronotype to choose your ideal bedtime. Allot yourself 8 hours if possible so you can still hit the 7-hour target amount even with an occasional trip to the bathroom or stir in the night.
- Track your sleep to gain insight into your body's nightly sleep patterns. Does your body seem restless throughout your sleep? Sleep tracking apps like Sleep Cycle monitor your sleep cycles at night, while apps like Sleep Better combine that information with your habits during the day to analyze your sleep habits and determine connections. Knowledge is power!
- Evaluate the comfort of your mattress, pillows, and sheets. All mattresses should be replaced after nine years at most. Are your sheets keeping you cool? Do your pillows provide you with support so you can relax? If not, revolutionize your sleep by investing in comfy, breathable, and moisture-wicking bedding.
- Offload a to-do list before bed with important reminders for tomorrow. By writing a list you will help remove these tasks from your mind so you can doze off peacefully. Depending on your personality, a to-do list may incur stress, so an alternate challenge for Day 6 is to write a list of accomplishments for the day you completed to put you in a positive state of mind as you prepare to sleep.
- Take a warm bath an hour before bed. Lower body temperatures facilitate deeper sleep; why, then, do we recommend heating up your internal temp? The secret is in the cool down - when you exit the bath and dry off, your body temperature will drop rapidly as the water evaporates, creating a more drastic temperature decrease that positions you for a relaxing night of rest. Sign up for the SHEEX Bed & Bracket Sleep Challenge with your email address to be entered to win our grand prize: a complete SHEEX Performance Sleep System! Winners of all prizes, including this week's prize and our grand prize, will be notified via email. Check back next week for our second Bed & Bracket theme and 7 more days of sleep challenges and tips. Show us your results! Share your Sleep Challenge success stories on social media and use the hashtag #ScoreWithSHEEX. For week one, take the time to plan ahead and complete these 7 challenges for a more energizing night of sleep courtesy of SHEEX.