The Science of Sleep: A Brief Guide on How to Sleep Better Every Night
The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.
Purpose of Sleep:
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The first purpose of sleep is restoration.
Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.
The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.
Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.
When we sleep 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5 hours per night (recommended is 8 hours), we tend to burn more energy using carbs and protein, instead of fat. This can result in fat gain and muscle loss. Also, insufficient sleep or abnormal sleep cycles can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Cumulative stress takes place when the inputs in our body like nutrition, sleep and other forms of recovery are not able to fulfill the drainers, like exercise, stress, and other forms of things that take away our energy.
The quality of your sleep is determined by a process called the sleep-wake cycle. This cycle is dictated by your circadian rhythm.
There are two important parts of the sleep-wake cycle:
It is impacted by three main factors:
Also, consider these sleep aids: exercise (it will make it easier for your brain and body to power down at night), temperature (the ideal range is usually between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit/18 to 21 degrees Celsius) and sound (a quiet space is key for good sleep).
When choosing your bedtime, try not to fight your physiology. The best bedtime will differ a little bit for everyone, but it's crucial that you pay close attention to your internal clock and what your body is telling you. As long as you're getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep, just focus on finding the time that works best for you.
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During the day:
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When trying to change your sleep habits, don't give up too soon. Keep it up for a week. The days will get easier, and you'll learn to love sleep again.
To get to bed earlier, slow down in the evenings. Read a book rather than engaging with your smartphone or laptop. Listening to music is good too.
Schedule something fun or desirable to look forward to in the morning before work.
It could include coffee, the news, gym or uninterrupted smartphone access.
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