Sleep well! But how exactly?
Why do we need sleep?
Yes, there are reasons beyond ‘sleeping is good’. Let’s see the most important ones.
Newly learned things are ingrained during sleep
Have you ever been told before an exam to sleep on what you learned? They were right! Sleep is the key element of our learning and memory. This is when our memories and the newly learned information is ingrained. This process is called remembrance consolidation. Not to mention your concentration level also deteriorates when you are tired so if you don’t sleep well at night you’ll not only ingrain worse what you learned the day before but with sleep deficit you’ll also be less able to learn new things.
It impacts your weight and indigestion
Continuous sleep deprivation changes how your body stores and uses carbohydrate and the level of the hormones regulating your hunger starts rollercoastering.
Sleeping is healthy
Sleep disorders are connected to arrhythmia, increase your stress hormone level and impact your immune reaction too.
You’ll be less cool when you are tired
How to put it…impatient, irritable and nervous. We’ve all felt our tolerance shortened after a night with little sleep. It’s the odious side-effect of sleep deprivation.
My tips for better nights
I’m not a particularly good sleeper. Noise, light, new place, stressful day, choose any on these and you’ll find me scanning the ceiling in the middle of the night. That’s why I had a lot of opportunity to deal with this topic and now I’m sharing with you the scientifically certified tips that helped make my night more relaxing.
Welcome to the dark side, there’s no funny videos here
As people developed they spent a long period of the day in darkness and research has shown this is still imperative for our health. This is why it’s important to darken your bedroom during sleeping hours and put away your electronic devices before going to bed. If that is not an option then at least dampen the brightness of the screen. There is a night mode on many devices to help this process.
If possible use a less intensive light source in your room too at least an hour before bedtime. Has anyone every described so articulately the word ‘small lamp’? This somniferous semidarkness signals to our brain to produce some melatonin that helps us get sleepy.
Putting aside your phone and other electronic devices is not only important because of their brightness. They are full of stimulating content, interesting videos and other stimuli that excite us instead of calming us down and preparing us for sleep.
Exercise helps you sleep more deeper and relaxing. Go out for a walk in the sunshine, go to work by bicycle and do this easy, few minute long yoga practice I shared on Instagram that prepares you for sleep. What’s important is you find an exercise you enjoy doing regularly.
Go to bed and wake up more or less at the same time every day. Yes, on weekends too. Our body’s inner clock works best when it has to keep a constant rhythm. Anything different from that increases the possibility of a difficult night. Examples of this are the weekend sleep-ins to afternoon naps on the couch. To be honest though these tend to happen to me. The best you can do is to take the afternoon nap as early as possible and keep its length under an hour.
Your bed is for sleeping
Watching TV, eating or working in bed sends our brain confusing signals about what should be happening in bed. It’s easiest for your brain if your bed is the place of sleep and tranquillity and this ‘location’ doesn’t accidentally invoke excitement from an action movie watched in bed on work stress. No matter how much you love your bed for the sake of quality sleep only use it to sleep.
Coffee and alcohol
Coffein interacts with us differently but most experts advise not drinking coffee after 1 pm. Did you know decaf coffee has the same taste? Here I proposed three alternatives for your afternoon coffee.
The thing with alcohol is that it confuses your sleep cycles. Despite feeling alcohol helps you fall asleep in fact it sedates you and messes up your sleep completely, especially the REM cycle which is responsible for creativity and emotion regulation. Without these you are headed for a very bad day after.
You know I invite real and imperfect people to this blog so go ahead and have a drink when there is an occasion for it just don’t think that a glass of wine before bed will lead to a restful night. Rather a more tired tomorrow.
What to do when you can’t sleep?
If you’ve been in bed for 15 minutes andv are still not sleeping then get up!
You heard me right, from then on you mostly anger yourself and your brain will connect your bed to the feeling of stress.
Leave the sheep, put away your imiaginary to do list and get up and do something relaxing and silent outside of bed. Read a magazine, meditate or write down the worries that keep you awake. You can read about the calming effect of expressive journaling here.
We don’t just live sleep, we also need it to be the best version of ourselves. Next time when you plan on giving up on some sleep to catch up with your to do-s keep in mind that you’ll be able to do less tomorrow because of sleep deprivation. When you start to think about catching a good night sleep as an integral part of your success not only your nights but also your days will become much better.