Sleep is the way your mind and body recharge and repair. It recharges as you will be in a deep form of relaxation for an extended period of time and it repairs because many bodily repair functions occurred during your sleep cycles.

Each sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes in duration. And each cycle is made up of various sleep phases… wake, light sleep, deep sleep, REM and repeat.

It is recommended that an adult needs at least four to five sleep cycles a night or six to nine hours of sleep each night. Remember, good sleep is about both quantity and quality of sleep.

The quantity refers to the number of hours you should get each night. Based on the timing of your sleep cycles, that should equate to approximately six to nine hours of sleep each night. The quality is how restful or how well you sleep. That is, how quickly you can fall asleep (15 to 20 minutes is considered ideal) and having uninterrupted sleep during the night.

According to some experts, 10 pm to 2 am is the most regenerative time of your sleep. Your body uses this period to do most of its regenerative and repair work.

It has been proven that a lack of sleep is linked to various diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and obesity. Also, there could be a lack of productivity because your energy levels will be low and your mind insufficiently rested. You may even experience what is known as ‘brain fog’, causing a lack of concentration and forgetfulness.

Now that you understand the benefits of sleep, incorporating positive habits to get a good night's rest should be a priority. Let's look at what you can do to ensure you get sufficient quantity and quality of sleep.

Sleep


What to do before bedtime

Avoid long naps in the afternoon

It could disrupt your circadian rhythm. This rhythm is your bodily changes that follow a daily cycle. The natural process responds mainly to light and dark and therefore your ability to sleep.


Exercise is healthy but not too close to bedtime

It can be too stimulating for the body. Even if exercise relaxes you, it should be avoided less than one hour prior to your sleep time at night.


Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol too close to bedtime

Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol can be disruptive to your sleep cycles. For most people, the body takes four to six hours to metabolise half of your caffeine consumption!


Eliminate exposure to blue light and activities that stimulate the mind

Avoid this at least thirty minutes before bedtime. Blue light from computers, iPads or phones and stimulating the mind with activities like crossword puzzles or work-related tasks can make the mind too active for sleep.


Avoid heavy meals approximately three hours before bedtime

Generally, three hours is about how long it takes for digestion to happen and the food to move to the small intestine. Sleep is the time your body uses to recharge and repair. If it is busy digesting your food, it can compromise the recharge and repair work.


Avoid too much liquid

It can interrupt your sleep if you need to use the toilet too frequently, which will affect your quality of your sleep.

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What to do with your bedroom

Keep the environment conducive to sleep

Think about the colour of your walls - keep it neutral or pastel shades for a calming effect. Perhaps use different scents that are known to support sleep, like lavender and bergamot oils. Studies have shown that lavender can improve the quality of your sleep and bergamot oil can be a great calming agent, lower the heart rate and blood pressure.


Keep the room at a comfortable temperature

This is usually between 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 22 degrees Celsius for a comfortable night's sleep.


Manage the levels of humidity

You can always use a humidifier for better sleep if the air in your bedroom is too dry. The vapours of a humidifier keep the skin hydrated and lubricate the mucous membranes in your nose and throat. This is helpful especially for people who wake up during the night because of an itchy throat.


Remove all electronic devices

This includes your phone. Electronic devices can interfere with sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin, the hormone your body releases to prepare you for sleep.


Invest in blackout blinds or curtains

This is especially helpful for a more restful night's sleep when the days are longer due to seasonal changes.


Have a good mattress and good pillows

Just as you need the correct equipment to do your job, you need the correct equipment to get a good night's sleep.


Consider investing in a weighted blanket

Weighted blankets provide similar benefits to pressure therapy and studies have shown positive results of their use with autism and anxiety. This can improve the quality of your sleep.

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What to have at your bedside

A notepad and pen

So you can record anything you need to get out of your head. Therefore, you don't get anxious about forgetting which makes it easier to sleep.


A small glass of water in the event you get thirsty during the night

Be careful of the quantity, to avoid having to go to the toilet. This would break your sleep and defeat its purpose.


A quiet battery-operated alarm clock with a dim display panel

This will help you reduce the amount of EMF or electromagnetic field emitted in your bedroom. Battery-operated alarm clocks can still emit EMF, but it is usually less than electronically powered clocks. Also, the light from a dimly lit display panel should not interrupt your sleep.


Consider a device with white or pink noise

Pink Noise decreases as the frequency increases, so it sounds smoother to the ear, not static like white noise. Pink Noise is similar to waves touching the shore, leaves rustling in the trees or rainfall. It can help slow down and regulate brainwaves and therefore, your sleep.


Discover the tips and habits for a better night’s rest. This video will give you natural methods for getting better quantity and quality of sleep and keep you on a sleep schedule so you don’t feel like an insomniac. Use it as your go-to sleep checklist!


In today's hectic world, there seems to be an award for those who can sleep as little as possible and get as much done as possible. This may be achievable in the short term, but it can negatively affect your health in the long term. Don’t compromise your sleep.


... remember, stay curious and keep learning.

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