We spend a third of our lives sleeping, it is essential for muscle recovery, retention of facts, and the preparation of the body to run at full speed the next day, sleep is one of the most important things in terms of daily happiness.
From students who study late into the night, reducing the amount of information they retain, to athletes who sleep in hot and noisy environments, losing essential immune system and muscle recovery.
Sleep is a powerful tool that, when used in the right way, can help greatly improve your quality of life. Many people see sleep as a dark and complex place and don’t know anything about how to improve it.
Sleep Affects Everything
Fact retention, muscle recovery, regulation, and hormonal monitoring. Sleep influences everything.
Let’s take someone who just had a horrible night’s sleep – their hormones will be everywhere the next day. They will be tempted to eat starchy carbohydrates and will be more likely to gain weight due to carbohydrates.
What Exactly is REM and Deep Sleep?
When you sleep, you go through several phases: REM, Light, and Deep. A typical one night’s dream looks like this:
Deep + Light Sleep:
Think of deep sleep as recovering from the day. Here’s what happens:
You go into Deep Sleep early in the evening (the later you sleep, the less Deep Sleep you get). Neurons slow down, reducing stimuli reaching the brain, causing the body to release growth hormones that help restore muscle tissue and the immune system.
If you drink caffeine, in any amount, it will reduce your deep sleep. Keep it in small doses at the beginning of the day.
So you recovered from the day, amazing. Now let’s get ready to get it up and running tomorrow. That’s where REM sleep comes in:
In REM, your short-term memories are transferred to the long-term (procedural) memory area of the brain.
While Deep increases the number of events you remember. REM increases your ability to make connections between these events. What is especially important for creatives (creativity is the ability to make connections).
Four Things You Should Focus On To Improve Your Sleep
1. Set Up A Sleep Schedule
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
- Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time.
- This is arguably more important than how long you sleep.
- By following a sleep routine, you will feel amazing throughout the day as your circadian rhythm will settle in and you will be able to keep it constant.
2. Quiet, Dark and Cool
Sleeping in the right environment is essential for a good night’s sleep.
Keep it quiet. Your brain doesn’t turn off when you go to sleep. We are still sensitive to noise when we sleep and any sound can wake us up (even if you don’t remember it in the morning), damaging our sleep cycles.
Keeping the room cool and drinking cold water before bed is a great way to encourage deeper sleep.
It is essential to learn to relax before going to bed. We are constantly in two different states:
Parasympathetic: state of rest and digestion. In this state, blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Your digestion increases and you are in a relaxed state.
This is the opposite of Sympathetic, which is a state of “readiness”.
Learn to relax. Create a bedtime routine, dim the lights, and read a book to get your body used to “relaxing.” Yoga is amazing to put you in a relaxed state. Ambient sounds and white noise are also great alternatives.
Sleep affects everything. If you’re feeling stressed, exhausted, and unfocused, take a look at your dream. It is much easier to control than you think.
Sleep better. Live better.