This is a condensed version of an article I did for Science of people. You can read the article in it’s entirety there. The Science of People. http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/07/the-science-of-better-sleep/
Sleep is wonderful it really is. Luckily it is so enjoyable, because it is absolutely necessary. It restores you, sorts and files memories away and heals your body and your mind. If you think about it, that is an excellent way to spend your time.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not or cannot sleep well for one reason or another. Well luckily science has some answers to help you get a better night’s sleep and take advantage of all the good things that sleep does for you.
How it works:
Your body works on cycles and sleep has its own cycle of sleeping and waking. As it gets darker most people’s bodies will start to trigger the sleep part of the sleep/wake cycle. When you begin to sleep your body goes into to 5 stages of sleep. And throughout your sleep cycle you will go in and out of each several times. As you enter each one they all do something for you.
Although there are 5, the ones with the most benefit are stages 3 and 4 which are the deepest stages and this is where the body does most of its restoration and repair. Then there is stage 5 called REM where most dreaming is done and is as beneficial to the mind as stages 3 and 4 are for the body.
As the person is exposed to light the body naturally then triggers a wake cycle and this repeats day and night for your entire life.
How to drastically improve your sleep:
To improve your sleep you need to concentrate on three areas.
- Your body
- Your sleeping environment
- Your mind
Ways to help your body get prepared to give you better sleep is to exercise consistently but don’t do any rigorous exercise 3 hours or less before bedtime. Also don’t eat any heavy meals or drink a lot, especially caffeinated beverages, before the time you plan on going to sleep. It is ok to have a light snack a couple of hours before bed, but avoid anything with a lot of simple carbs. If you use any nicotine products, you should quit using them as well. Besides all the other health benefits you will get, better sleep is another as your body will not wake you as it begins to go through nicotine withdrawal.
Your sleeping environment:
Keep your bedroom cool. The optimal temperatures seem to be between 65 and 72 degrees. Also keep it dark. This helps maintain the sleep portion of the sleep wake cycle mentioned earlier. Keep it quiet and use earplugs, a white noise machine or music if you need. Aviod distractions in your bedroom. Remove the TV and any other bothersome electronic devices. Put your phone in airplane mode, and although we love them, it is best to keep any pets off the bed while we sleep.
Clear your mind before bed by journaling, meditating or doing other things that help you calm and clear your busy mind. Keep a consistent sleep ritual. Go for a walk, or do light reading before bed. Avoid activities that will make your mind race like action oriented video games or non-fiction books that will stimulate your mind and have it racing with ideas and activities. Save that kind of reading for the morning.
Getting a great night sleep is important and hopefully you have found some great tips on how to do just that.
Note: This was just a sub-article based on my Science of People article. If you would like a more in depth article with links to all the studies and research please also visit that article at Science of People.
The Science of People. http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/07/the-science-of-better-sleep/