Rest, recharge, repeat: your go-to guide for quality sleep
Sleep – that magical time of day when you get into your comfy pyjamas, snuggle up in your warm bed and float away into dreamland.
If only it were always that easy! From everyday stress that might keep you tossing and turning, to poor sleep habits that might be impacting you in ways you’re not even aware of – a lot can stand in the way of good quality sleep. Sure, in the short term, you might be able to combat a restless night with an extra cup of coffee or two the next day, but consistently poor sleep can have a significant impact on your health.
So, how does the amount of sleep you get affect you? How much deep sleep do you need to feel your best? And how to sleep better? Read on to get the answers to all these questions and discover some useful tips on what to do when you can’t sleep.
Sleep – more than just resting
Sleep is divided into several stages, but the most important two are deep sleep and the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage. Deep sleep is when the magic happens—your body gets to work repairing and rejuvenating itself. The opposite of that is the REM stage, where your brain is super active, and most of your dreaming occurs. Each stage plays a crucial role in making sure you wake up feeling recharged and ready to take on the day.
Clearly, sleep is more than just allowing your body to rest and recharge, it also allows your brain to process information. Throughout the night, as your brain goes through highly active phases, it performs functions which are essential for memory retention, learning, and mood regulation. And the rest of your body is hard at work, too – repairing cells, regulating the immune system, balancing hormones, and so much more.
When you consistently can’t sleep, and your body’s nightly tune-ups are cut short, it can have long-term consequences, affecting everything from how well you remember things, your mood, your weight, to your heart health and even blood sugar.
How many hours of sleep do you really need?
The golden rule for adults is around 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, but this can vary based on factors like age (remember when you could sleep 10+ hours easily as a teen?), lifestyle, and even genetics.
But it's not just the quantity but the quality of sleep that counts. Deep, uninterrupted sleep cycles are essential for maximum rejuvenation. So, how much deep sleep do you need? About 25% of your night-time rest should consist of deep sleep – that’s about 1.5 to 2 hours per night.
The timing matters too. Your body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, tells your body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up and influences the quality of your sleep. Sticking to a consistent sleep wake cycle every day can make it easier to fall asleep and wake up well-rested.
Quick tip: Struggling to figure out what's the best time for sleeping and waking up? Try searching for a sleep calculator online! You just input your age and wake-up time, and they calculate exactly when to go to bed to get the recommended amount of sleep.
7 tips on how to sleep better
If counting sheep isn't cutting it for you, you're not alone. Sleep doesn’t always come easily, and it can be connected to various factors that can interfere with sleep, from too much caffeine to the blue light from electronic devices and even sleep disorders.
One of the most notorious sleep-stealers is definitely stress. When you're stressed, your mind races with thoughts, making it difficult to relax and fall asleep. And worrying about how you can’t sleep only makes things worse!
But whether it’s stress that’s keeping you up at night or something else, here’s a handy list of tips that can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
1.Create a cosy sleep haven
Make your bedroom a cool, quiet, and dark sanctuary. Blackout curtains or a cute eye mask can help a lot!
2. Establish a pre-sleep routine
Diving into a juicy novel, soaking in a lavender-scented bath, or doing some gentle yoga stretches – find a way to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.
3. Ditch the blue lights
The blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets, and computers can mess with your sleep. Set your devices aside a couple of hours before bed and consider using apps that reduce blue light or blue light-blocking glasses during the day.
4. Be mindful of what and when you eat and drink
Love coffee and wine? We do too! But let's keep them far away from well-deserved rest time. And while an evening snack might sound tempting, a full belly can make you toss and turn all night.
5. Soak up the sun
A little sunshine during the day can set your body's internal clock just right and make it easier to fall asleep at night. So, spend a little bit of time outdoors every day!
6. Become a creature of habit
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. A steady sleep wake cycle helps regulate your body's internal clock and rewards you with better sleep.
7. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime so your body has enough time to wind down.
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Make sleep a priority today; your body and mind will thank you. And hey, you'll feel like a happier, healthier, and even more fabulous version of yourself.