Sleep 101: Your Guide to the Best Sleep of Your Life

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Chances are unlikely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of adults in the United States are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, so there’s a pretty high chance you’re in that demographic… Especially if you’re reading this article. Sleep, for many, can be a source of frustration and stress.

Lack of sleep has serious impacts on our physical and mental wellbeing. In the short term, it can lead to irritability, difficulty concentrating, and an overall feeling of being overwhelmed. It can also impair our ability to remember and process new information, making it more difficult to learn and perform tasks.

Sound familiar?

In the long term, lack of sleep can increase the risk of developing serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to illnesses. In extreme cases, lack of sleep can lead to hallucinations, delusions, and impaired judgment, which can be dangerous in certain situations. Overall, it is important to prioritize getting enough sleep to maintain both physical and mental well-being.

Sleep is pretty important to our day to day functioning. But why is it so important? What does sleep actually do for us? 

What Happens When We Sleep?

During sleep, our brains go through several stages of activity, including non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM sleep is divided into four stages, with stage 1 being the lightest and stage 4 being the deepest. As we progress through the stages of NREM sleep, our brains produce slower and slower brain waves, and our muscles relax more and more. REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements and increased brain activity.

During REM sleep, our brains become more active, with increased blood flow and brain activity. This is the stage of sleep where we tend to have most of our dreams. REM sleep is thought to be important for learning and memory consolidation, as our brains are busy organizing and consolidating information from the day.

While we sleep, our bodies are also hard at work. Our heart rate and breathing slow down, and our muscles relax, allowing us to rest and repair. Sleep is also essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and regulating our appetite and metabolism.

Overall, sleep is a vital part of our daily routine that allows our bodies and brains to rest and recover from the demands of the day. 

Why Deep-Sleep is Essential for Your Life

Getting a quality night’s sleep can improve our mood, memory, and cognitive function, as well as boost our immune system and reduce the risk of various health conditions. Sleep is also crucial for our memory and cognitive function. During sleep, our brains are busy organizing and consolidating information from the day, which helps improve our ability to learn and retain new information. Studies have shown that people who get enough sleep have better memory recall and problem-solving skills compared to those who do not get enough sleep.

In addition to its effects on our mood and cognitive function, sleep is essential for our physical health. Getting enough sleep can help boost our immune system and reduce the risk of various health conditions. 

Okay, so sleep is important for us and we can basically go insane without it but how do we actually get a good night's rest? 

We’ll go through all the tips and tricks to get you sleeping like a baby. Although babies are notoriously poor sleepers, let's say, “doze off like your grandparents while watching tv”. Much more fitting. 

Tips to Get the Best Sleep of Your Life

1. Avoid screens before bedtime (We know this one sucks) but the blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime and replace with a book, podcast, or some journaling. We promise you won't miss anything on TikTok. 

2. Make your bedroom a sleep-haven– keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and use comfortable bedding to create a comfortable environment for yourself. Avoid your bed during the day to make it extra special to crawl back into after a long day. Time away makes the heart grow fonder. 

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed – both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Try to avoid consuming these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime. Just one glass of wine can decrease your REM sleep by an hour. (I know incredibly troubling stats). 

4. Create a bedtime routine – winding down before bedtime can help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. This can include activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing. Preparing our body for sleep signals certain hormones to be released which will in turn help you feel sleepier at bed time.  

5. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This will help your body and mind fall asleep easier each night, as it knows when to release sleep hormones to prepare you for a quality sleep. 

6. Exercise during the day – regular physical activity can help improve your sleep quality, but be sure to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime as it may have the opposite effect. 

7. Eat a well-balanced diet throughout the day and include supplements that support sleep. Supplements that help regulate sleep are, magnesium, adaptogens, and Vitamin D. 

8. Practice relaxation techniques – techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, or visualization can help relax your mind and body and prepare you for sleep. Youtube has tons of great sleep relaxation videos for free. 

9. Prepare yourself for the next day by cleaning up any messes, washing the dishes, and packing your bag so you can have a few extra moments of sleep in the morning and you can go to bed without stressing about the things you didn't do! Read our blog on how to set yourself up at night for the best morning of your life

In conclusion, getting a quality night’s sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. By following a consistent sleep schedule, creating a bedtime routine, and making your bedroom a sleep-friendly environment, you can improve your sleep quality and reap the numerous benefits that come with it. 

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