Sleep is like food: It’s essential to our survival, and starving yourself to sleep is a bad idea. Getting good quality sleep is synonymous with good quality nutrition.
We spend a lot of time studying balanced dietbut what exactly constitutes a good night’s sleep?
Here are tips for how to get more sleep.
Benefits of Deep Sleep
Not getting enough sleep or the right kind of sleep is just like eating processed food and sugar is added. You probably won’t feel amazing, and, in the end, it could harm your well-being.
The benefits of deep sleep are mental and physical. Sleep helps our muscles and minds recover and supports a healthy weight, your immune system, and clear thinking, among other benefits, according to US Department of Health and Human Services.
What are the Stages of Sleep?
When we sleep, our body rotates two types of sleep marked by different brain waves:
- Non-rapid-eye movement sleep (NREM)
- Rapid-eye movement sleep (REM)
Throughout the night, you will have four to six 90-minute sleep cycles. Within each cycle, there are three stages of NREM sleep and a final stage of REM sleep.
The sleep cycle consists of:
- Stage 1 NREM sleep: This is a short period of light sleep, usually a few minutes, when your body switches to sleep mode.
- Stage 2 NREM sleep: A stage of light sleep that transitions into deep sleep when your heart rate and breathing slow, muscles relax, body temperature drops, and eye movements stop.
- Stage 3 NREM sleep: This is the period of deep sleep you need to really feel rested.
- REM sleep: This happens around the 90-minute mark, and your brain wave activity catches up with your eyes moving, your breathing quickens again.
Within these periods of sleep, the length of time also changes.
During the first half of the night, Stage 3 NREM or deep sleep occurs for a longer period of time. As you approach the morning, your REM phases lengthen.
“It is expected that deep NREM sleep has a greater restorative function,” said Dr. David NeubauerMD, a psychiatrist and sleep specialist at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
But research is still emerging on REM and NREM sleep.
Tips for Better Sleep
“A person can lie in bed for 10 hours per night, but only sleep for five,” explains Dr. Khurshid A. Khurshid, MD
Interrupted sleep often becomes a vicious cycle, requiring your body to retrain. Here are some ways to help your body sleep better.
1. Exercise at the best time for sleep
Exercising can help you sleep better, but exercising close to bedtime can reduce your ability to sleep well because it triggers hormones that make us feel good.
Morning, afternoon, and early evening are your best bets for exercise, Khurshid recommends.
2. Set yourself up for success
If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are products like sleep masks and blackout curtains designed to help you get more Z’s.
Finding the right mattress is also an important element to getting better sleep.
“What type of mattress is comfortable for you is personal, but choose one that meets your support needs,” says Khurshid.
3. Have dinner early
Give your body plenty of time to digest before bedtime because digestion can interfere with sleep.
Learning It has been suggested that there may be a link between sleep disturbances and digestive issues.
4. Reduce screen time
Exposure to blue light from your devices may interfere with your circadian rhythmsone of the mechanisms that govern sleep along with sleep-wake homeostasis.
Many of us stream TV shows or movies to snooze, but Khurshid recommends changing this habit because it’s like giving yourself jet lag.
5. Be cautious
So, what should you do instead of watching TV until you pass out on the couch?
You try mental activitiesjust like:
Don’t know where to start with meditation?
Lull yourself to sleep with guided vibrations and binaural beats Sound Meditation on BODi.
Use Scarlett de la Torre’s meditation techniques to relieve stress, improve your focus, and practice better self-care.
6. Skip the nightcap
A drink to relax starts well. It may help you fall asleep faster but then ruin the rest of your night.
“It initiates sleep, then disrupts the sleep architecture,” Khurshid explains.