Consistency and Sleep

A circular solar clock made of stone. There are two circles that are different tines of red in front of a stone stair case with a blue sky.

“If you want to be successful, be consistent.” -Unknown 

If you see this unattributed quote in a pretty font on social media, sleep probably doesn’t come first to mind. You likely know how important sleep is to your health and you want to get more of it (who doesn’t?). But research shows that being consistent with your sleep is just as important, or even more important, than how many hours you spend in bed. 

Dr. Michael Breus, also known as The Sleep Doctor™, shared in his recent talk at Upgrade Labs Biohacking Conference that the #1 best thing you can do to improve your sleep is to be consistent. Even as The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Breus says he is a night owl, and goes to bed around midnight. He wakes up rather early; he doesn’t get a full eight hours of sleep, the typical prescription for sleep we’ve all been spoon fed constantly. 

However Dr. Breus is consistent about his sleep and wake times seven days a week, and that is a chief contributor to him sleeping well and feeling great. He stated in his presentation that he now wakes at nearly the same time every day without an alarm clock. 

There are a slew of factors that can affect what time we rise and what time we go to sleep, from children getting us up far earlier than we would like, to Netflix binges keeping us up an extra hour or three. Due to lifestyle, it can be challenging to go to bed at the same time and rise at the same time consistently. But a few phenomena of modern life prove how important getting consistent sleep really is. 

What is sleep consistency?

Sleep consistency is about adhering to a steady sleep schedule, ensuring you go to bed and rise at similar times daily. It involves establishing a consistent sleep pattern that persists across all days of the week, including weekends and non-working days. The goal is to regulate your body's internal clock, facilitating smoother transitions into sleep and waking states. By minimizing variations in sleep times, you can support your body's natural circadian rhythm, enhance sleep quality, and improve overall health and alertness. Embracing sleep consistency means prioritizing regularity in your sleep habits to foster a more restorative and rejuvenating sleep experience.

Social jetlag 

You may have experienced the adverse effects of jetlag when traveling east to west or vice versa, but you may be shocked to realize that you might be putting yourself through “social jetlag” every week. Elise Facer-Childs, a doctoral researcher specializing in sleep, explains that a lot of our society suffers from social jetlag because we follow a certain schedule during the week for work and follow a different schedule during the weekend, mostly due to staying up late socializing, then snoozing late the next day as a result. 

For example, if you typically go to bed at 10 P.M. on weeknights and wake up at 6 A.M. on weekdays for work but stay up on Friday and Saturday evenings past midnight then sleep in late, it’s like traveling between New York and Los Angeles weekly. No wonder Mondays can feel like a drag. 

Daylight Savings 

Daylight Savings occurs when we push the clocks forward one hour each spring. One hour may seem minimal, but on the Monday after the shift, Business Insider reports, hospitals report on average a 24% spike in heart-attack visits around the United States (source). In the fall, doctors witness the opposite: the day after we turn back the clocks, heart attack visits drop on average 21% as people enjoy a bit more extra sleep. 

Next time you want to stay up an hour later, remember that losing an hour of sleep for a single night isn’t as trivial as we may think. 

Health benefits of a consistent sleep schedule

Adopting a balanced sleep schedule is pivotal for enhancing overall health and well-being. Consistent sleep habits not only ensure that you get adequate rest but also lay the foundation for a multitude of health benefits. Establishing a regular sleep pattern is crucial for both physical and mental health, providing several key advantages:

  • Lessen stress: Regular sleep helps to significantly reduce stress, making daily challenges more manageable.
  • Better mood: Consistency in sleep contributes to improved mood, aiding in the prevention of depression and anxiety.
  • Healthier eating habits: A balanced sleep schedule can help in regulating appetite hormones, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
  • Empowered immune system: Adequate sleep enhances the immune system’s ability to fight off illnesses.
  • Improved reaction times: Well-rested individuals have better reaction times and are less prone to accidents.
  • Improved mental ability: Consistent sleep patterns lead to better memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities.

The benefits of a balanced sleep schedule extend beyond the obvious physical health improvements, touching on every aspect of your life from your mood to your cognitive functions. Prioritizing a balanced sleep pattern is more than just a recommendation; it's a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. By ensuring regular and sufficient sleep, you support your body’s health, safeguard your well-being, and enhance your life quality.

What to do 

Making up for lost sleep on the weekends or after a trip is likely better than taking no action at all, but it is ideal to keep a consistent sleep schedule whenever possible. The Apollo wearable helps you to be more consistent with your sleep by helping to support  your circadian rhythm. According to The Sleep Foundation, circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes. One of the most important circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle. (source). It creates a cycling, day-night rhythm that makes you feel sleepy or alert at regular times of night and day. 

The Apollo wearable allows your body to become more resilient to stress so you sleep better. There will always be days when life gets in the way, your kids are sick, you’re on a work deadline, or you have a late flight, and you can’t stick to consistent sleep-wake times. The Apollo wearable helps reset your circadian rhythm in these times to help you adapt to the new schedule. You know the feeling of being so tired, yet you just can’t fall asleep because you’re still buzzing from the stress of the day? Apollo helps bypass that by resetting your natural rhythm. 

Stress is often what keeps us tossing and turning, leaving us exhausted and irritable. Through barely audible, soothing vibrations, the Apollo wearable allows you to unwind from the stress of the day so you can fall asleep on time with less effort and restore your energy in the morning when you wake.

The Apollo device also allows you to achieve other states through different goal-based Vibes:

  • Social Vibe - Gives you confidence for that happy hour, creative work session, or date. 
  • Calm Vibe - Like sitting on your meditation cushion for 20 minutes, but all you have to do is turn on your wearable. 
  • Recover Vibe - Allows your body and mind to restore and recenter. 

Tips for quality rest

Create a comfortable sleeping space

Creating an ideal sleep environment is foundational for achieving quality rest. A bedroom that’s dark, quiet, and cool can significantly ease the transition into good sleep. Consider the use of blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light, and introduce a white noise machine or earplugs to keep distracting sounds at bay. Adjusting the room temperature to a cooler setting or using a fan can also promote a better sleep atmosphere.

Reduce screen exposure before bed

The impact of blue light from screens on sleep health cannot be overstated. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and televisions emit a type of light that signals the brain to stay alert, similar to the effect of sunlight. It's beneficial to limit exposure to these devices in the hours leading up to bedtime. Making the bedroom a device-free zone can further encourage a more serene sleep environment.

Avoid stressful tasks 

Managing stress before bed plays a crucial role in falling asleep easily. Stressful thoughts often find their way into our minds the moment we try to rest, making it difficult to settle down. Engaging in stress-reduction techniques such as exercise, meditation, or journaling can be very effective. Taking a moment each evening to write down the positive aspects of your day, as well as any worries to be addressed later, can help in quieting the mind and preparing it for sleep.

Enjoy morning sunlight

Morning light exposure is equally essential for a healthy sleep routine. Light serves as a powerful cue for the body, signaling when it’s time to wake up and helping to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Aim to get some natural sunlight during the first hour after waking. This practice not only invigorates the body but also strengthens the natural rhythm of sleep, enhancing the quality of rest at night.

Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine can transform your sleep quality. By focusing on creating a conducive sleep environment, minimizing blue light exposure in the evening, managing stress effectively, and harnessing natural light during the day, you’re laying the groundwork for sleep regularity and improved well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Emphasize sleep schedule consistency: Current research underlines that maintaining a consistent sleep schedule might outweigh the benefits of the often recommended eight hours of sleep. This consistency is linked to improved sleep quality and health.
  • Harmonize with your circadian rhythm: Setting a fixed sleep and wake schedule helps synchronize your internal clock, leading to easier sleep initiation and more restful nights. This synchronization plays a critical role in optimizing sleep efficiency and quality.

Adopt a customized sleep plan: Tailor your sleep schedule around the earliest morning commitment in your week, sticking to this wake-up time consistently. This strategy can help reinforce a stable sleep pattern, making it easier to manage daily energy levels and overall well-being.

Use Apollo Vibes to transition from day to night 

The Apollo wearable provides you with Apollo Vibes for each part of your day and night.

Example schedule:

  • 1 hour before bedtime: UnwindThink of this as your "me time" setting. Use this during your pre-bed routine. 
  • When going to sleep: Sleep - Consider this your silent bedtime story to lull you into slumber. Use this when it's time for lights out. 
  • Upon waking: Focus - Like taking an espresso shot, minus the caffeine crash. Use this for heads down work.  

By wearing the Apollo device consistently at least three hours a day, five days a week, you can start to make your sleep more consistent, too. 

Consistency for the win 

When you eat healthy or workout consistently, you feel results. Getting consistent about your sleep is the same. Even as adults, having a consistent bedtime serves us best. Use your Apollo wearable to help you regulate the times you wind down, go to sleep, wake up, and more, and feel the shift in your body and mind.