Improve Your Sleep – And Win In Life!

Sleep Needed

There are so many things that we should not take for granted to lead a happy and healthy life, and sleep is one of them.

Your parents always told you to take a nap when you were young, but you would resist because you always wanted to play. It’s the same in your teen years, where you need more sleep, but because you’re always out with your friends sleep is not a priority.

As you get older, less time is spent sleeping. Work and having a family have changed your sleeping patterns and often you’re not getting enough rest to recover and be refreshed.

Work and having a family have changed your sleeping patterns – often you’re not getting enough rest to recover and be refreshed.

You can take power naps when you take your break from work, family or school. It helps a lot, but an 8-hour sleep will let your body repair and fully recharge.

Why is Sleep Important?

Sleep plays an important role in good health and well-being all throughout everyone’s life.

Getting enough quality sleep, especially at the right times can help enhance mental health, physical health, safety and overall quality of life.

The way you feel physically and mentally depends on how much sleep you get. During sleep, your body is working to repair damaged cells, support brain function and maintain physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps in growth and development.

Sleep deprivation can raise numerous risk for a number of chronic diseases. It can also affect how you think, react, learn, work and get along with other people. Lack of sleep can make you a “zombie” and in extreme instances, can also cause death.

Understanding The Sleep Cycle

Understanding the how sleep works also means understanding the sleep cycle. The sleep cycle consists of two recurring phrases:

Rapid eye movement (REM) generally consists of 20%-25% of total sleep each night. REM is when your dream happens. This is also the stage where the mind is processing and consolidating emotions, memories and battle stress. It’s also thought to be important for learning, stimulating the brain regions used in learning and developing new skills.

Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) consist of 75%-80% of a person’s total sleep each night. Many of the health benefits happens during NREM including tissue repair, regeneration and growth, cell repair, hormone and energy restoration for normal growth and development.

If your REM and NREM are interrupted every night, your body misses on vital body processes and can affect your well-being the next day of your health in the long term.

If your REM and NREM are interrupted every night, your body misses on vital body processes and can affect your well-being the next day of your health in the long term.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

According to a 2-year international study by the National Sleep Foundation, the sleep requirements according to age are as follows:

New born babies – 14 to 17 hours

Infants – 12 to 15 hours

Toddlers – 11 to 14 hours

Preschoolers – 10 to 13 hours

School-aged children – 9 to 11 hours

Teens – 8 to 10 hours

Young adults – 7 to 9 hours

Adults – 7 to 8 hours

Click here to download the recommended sleep times chart.

How to Improve Your Sleep

Some people are having a hard time sleeping at night and then zonk out during the day, but as you know, a good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Although this may not work for everybody, it’s a good start to your sleeping bliss. Below are some tips you can do to improve your sleep.

1. No Alcohol, Caffeine, Nicotine and Other Substances

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, so try to avoid tea, coffee, cola, chocolate o some pain relievers before going to bed. Smoking can also affect your sleeping cycle, so avoid it before bedtime. Alcohol can also help you sleep deeply for the first few hours, but then the quality of your sleep  diminishes rapidly as the alcohol affects your REM. 

2. Your Bedroom is for Sleep and Sex, Nothing Else

All your take home work or homework should be done in the study or the dining table or somewhere else inside the house. Make your bedroom a quiet, dark and cool environment that will encourage a good night’s sleep. Block outside noises, use heavy curtains to block outside light, keep the room well-ventilated, and have comfortable pillows and mattresses. Again, limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. Any work and school materials should be out of the room.

3. Go To Sleep Whenever You’re Truly Tired

Fumbling and struggling to fall asleep is really frustrating. If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes of twisting and turning, get out of bed and do something relaxing. A warm milk and an interesting book are a good start.

4. Develop a “Before Sleep Ritual”

Take a warm shower, read a book, drink warm milk, do some meditation, listen to soothing music, you know whichever that will make you relax. Avoid any stressful discussion or some stimulating activities that will make your blood run. Any stressful activity makes your body secrete cortisol, a stress hormone that will increase your level of alertness.

5. Avoid Long Naps in The Afternoon

If you can, don’t take long naps in the afternoon because it will affect your sleep at night. If it can’t be prevented do something that will make you relax and be ready for sleep in a few hours.

6. Finish All Work-related Things Before Bedtime

Send out your last email, upload the documents in the team drive, save your power point presentation, print your research paper, and finish your homework before going to bed. If you’re already in bed, limit your browsing because it will take your sleep away and you’ll end up watching cat videos in YouTube until 4am. Turn off your computer and smartphone. Invest in a real alarm clock instead of using your phone as your alarm.

If you can think of any other things that can help you sleep, do so and follow through on these tips to help you sleep and wake up refreshed.

 

Kylie Browne

<p>Kylie is our friendly Community Manager.<br /> Organizing advocate. 80s music fan. Busy Mom. Amateur over thinker. Thrives on coffee and chocolate.</p>

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