Do you ever feel so tired you can almost feel your body shutting down? The human body does quite the contrary, this is why we all need a good night’s sleep! Whilst sleeping, our bodies repair and restore from the activities the day prior, both physically and mentally. The average adult requires 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
The 4 sleep Stages
There are 4 different stages of sleep, these can be sub categorised into non rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM):
- The first stage of NREM, of sleep when you can be easily woken.
- The second stage of NREM, this is where your body prepares for deep sleep
- The last stage of NREM, this is the deepest stage of sleep. You may find it difficult to be woken in this stage. Your body is hard at work, repairing and restoring tissues, building bone and muscle, and strengthening your immune system.
- REM stage, we are in between wakefulness and drowsiness and this is when we dream.
Each cycle can last up to 1 ½ hours and we need to experience all 4 stages to wake up feeling well rested.
Why is Sleep Important To Your Health
- Short sleep has been linked to weight gain and obesity.
- You are more likely to overeat when you’re tired, poor sleep has been linked to higher levels of ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates appetite)
- Good sleep can maximise your athletic performance, studies found poor sleep linked to lower grip strength, walking speed, and increase difficulty perfomring physical activities
- Poor sleep has been linked to depression (90% of depressed individuals report poor sleep)
- Improved immune function, you are 3 times more likely to catch a cold after poor sleep.
- A good night’s sleep can reduce inflammation in the body, especially those with inflammatory bowel disorders.
Key points for a good night’s sleep
1 Late Night Drinks: Avoid any late night caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, switch for a milky drink or herbal tea.
2 Room Temperature: Having your bedroom too hot or too cold can have a serious impact on your sleep. Ideal room temperature for sleep is 16-18 degrees Celsius. Anything above will cause restlessness and anything below will make it difficult to drift off.
3 To do list: Write a “to do” list for tomorrow. This is a good way to prevent the brain from working over time before sleep. Write you list and put it down, try and forget about it, this should help get rid of any anxious worries of the day to come.
4 Lighting: Make sure you have a side light rather than the main bedroom light on for reading. Use black out blinds to shut the daylight, especially during the summer months.
- Ditch the Tech: Turn off all screens, computers, TV’s and mobile phones, chose a good book to read a few pages of before you go to sleep.
- Keep Regular: Try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day.