5 Things You Should Know About Your Sleep

We all love the feeling of waking up after a great night’s sleep fully relaxed and ready for the day ahead. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen as much as we’d like, does it?

Why is it that some mornings we wake up feeling extremely well rested and other days we wake up feeling like we’ve only been asleep for 5 minutes?

Read these 5 sections and you might just find out!

1. You might not be getting enough (or too much!) sleep

How much sleep you actually need can vary depending on a lot of factors such as how old you are, your general health, how much exercise you get and more. All of these can affect how much sleep we actually need to wake up feeling at our best.

You know your body better than anyone, therefore you probably have the best idea of how much sleep you need on a daily basis. Everyone is different but if you’re unsure, take a look at the image below to get a better idea of what you should be getting.

Image: The Sleep Council

Regardless of how much sleep you find works best for you, don’t focus too much on sleeping continuously through the night. In fact, the majority of people wake up two or three times a night.

However, waking up and not being able to get back to sleep can, in fact, be an issue. If you find that you can’t get back to sleep within 15 minutes, it’s recommended that you try and relax yourself by reading a chapter of a book or something similar until you feel tired again.

2. The four stages of sleep

What does NREM and REM actually mean? Here’s a quick look.

There are three stages of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. The first stage can be easily disturbed. you know those times where you get muscle spasms or feel like you’re falling? This usually happens during stage 1 of NREM sleep.

During stage 2 of NREM sleep, you are less likely to wake up. You sleep even more soundly during stage 3.

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is stage 4. During REM sleep, your brain is nearly as active as when you’re awake. It’s also quite easy to be woken up during this stage and if you do wake up, you’re likely to feel groggy or sleepy.

3. Clock changes have more of an effect than you might think

Yes, it’s only an hour difference, we know, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t feel the effects!

This is especially true when we lose an hour of sleep in spring. If your sleep pattern is already off an hour is a lot.

There is actually science at work here. The sun increases the production of certain hormones in your brain and it can also impact the hypothalamus, which is where your brain regulates your body clock. Altered hours of sunlight can disrupt your body clock and could even make you feel like you’ve got a bit of jet lag.

It normally only takes a few days to adapt, though. You can help your body make the shift by trying to go to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier in the days before the time change.

4. Alcohol does not help

A lot of people think that drinking alcohol helps them sleep better at night. It’s true that a drink before bed can help you get to sleep sooner but while it may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, alcohol will disrupt your sleep cycle. It can reduce the quality of your sleep and leave you more tired.

When you drink alcohol before bed, you’ll usually fall into deep sleep more quickly but spending more time in a deep sleep means that you spend less time in REM sleep, which can leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish the next day.

If you do want to have a drink in the evening, avoiding alcohol just before bed could improve your sleep. On average it can take at least an hour to process each unit of alcohol, so try and allow plenty of time for your body to process your evening drink.

5. Try a hot bath to get to sleep

If you struggle to get to sleep in the evening, taking a bath can calm your mind and help you relax from the stresses of the day but did you know that a hot bath can also prepare your body for sleep?

This is because a warm bath increases your body temperature. When you get out of the bath and start to cool down, your core temperature will begin to drop slightly. This tells your body clock that it’s time to wind down.

The best time to bath is roughly an hour and a half before you intend on falling asleep. That way, when you get to bed, your body will have cooled down ready for sleep.

If you want to emphasise the relaxing effect of the bath, why not add a few drops of calming essential oils to your bath water? Lavender is believed to slow your nervous system and decrease your blood pressure, while vanilla may reduce stress and ease breathing problems.

 

Read the full article here: oaktreemobility.co.uk

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