Gone are the days where I would sleep like a baby, it was so nice to be a child with no bills, job, chores, having to drive and the like. Don’t get me wrong adulting is kinda cool and all but don’t you miss those wonderful sleeps you had a kid sometimes?!?
I know I do! Personally, I suck at sleeping, I’m working on it though, but boy oh boy does it drive me bananas to see my spouse fall asleep instantly when his head hits the pillow or my dogs who can fall asleep instantly whenever and where ever, I seriously get sleep jealous.
Sleep depravity is more common amongst us adult folk because let’s face it we are some busy bees! Again, from work demands, parental commitments, social commitments, caffeine consumption and even artificial light; some of us are not getting enough sleep or low-quality sleep.
If you didn’t know sleep is very important for our physical and mental health as it allows us to regenerate and refresh, lack of sleep may affect our weight, concentration, memory, alertness and our immunity. I aim for 7-8 hours of sleep, but of course everybody is different.
So, what exactly is our body doing when we are getting those ZZZZ’s?
Stages of Sleep
Sleep is defined by two types: REM sleep which stands for Rapid Eye Movement and non-REM sleep, throughout the night your body goes though both types at different stages of sleep. Towards the morning however you are mostly in REM sleep.
1st stage – you start in non-REM sleep, it’s a very light stage of sleep as you’re drifting off, your heartbeat, eye movements, and heartbeat slow down and your muscles begin to relax.
2nd stage – you continue in non-REM sleep, your heartbeat and breathing become even slower and your muscles relax more. Your temperature drops, eye movements halt and brain activity are slow.
3rd stage – still in non-REM sleep this is where we really start to fall into deep sleep, this part of the sleep cycle allows us to feel refreshed in the morning. Our heartbeat and breathing are at it’s slowest and brain activity is very minimal; it is also at this point where it is difficult to be
4th stage – finally we get to REM sleep! This is where our eyes dance and move rapidly from side to side whilst our eyes are closed. Breathing actually increases at this point as does your heart rate and blood pressure. During REM sleep is also when you will dream the most, interestingly it is also when your body becomes temporarily paralysed so that you can’t act out your dreams in the event that you may hurt yourself.
Tips on getting you to sleep like a baby!
- Set a schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time trains your body to know when to shut down and when to wake up!
- Stay away from caffeine in the latter part of the day as it is stimulating and you want to be in a chill state of mind to get to sleep.
- Do relaxing things in the hours leading up to bed time such as having a warm bath, reading a book, meditating or have a soothing tea such a chamomile.
- Design your bedroom around sleeping, if you don’t have yet; consider getting blackout curtains to keep the light out; avoid bright lights at nighttime and try not to have a television or computer in your bedroom, use earthy tones when selecting color patterns as they can be more calming for your senses.
- Temperature, we sleep best when temperatures are low, I aim for 17/18 degrees Celsius at night time in my house.
- Avoid using electronics such as phones or T.V at least an hour before bed as blue light stimulate your senses and keep you awake, if you do find electronics hard to avoid at least invest in blue blocking glasses. These types of glasses block blue light that is emitted by electronics, the type of light that will disrupt your sleep.
I hope that you can employ some of these tips to get yourself to slumber land, we spend half our lives sleeping, it’s best we get the most out of it!
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only, it is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any illness or disease. Please consult a professional for your healthcare needs.