The rules of healthy sleep, Why sleep is a free beautician.
Sleep takes up about one-third of a person’s life. We know for sure that without sleep, the body cannot function. But what exactly is happening at this time, and why is it so important to maintain a sleep schedule under any life circumstances, as it is now?
For a long time, it was believed that both the body and the brain do not function at all during sleep. But science has proven the opposite: sleep is a period when the brain is actively working on a whole range of processes necessary to ensure life and improve quality. These processes affect both the physical and psychological health of a person.
While you sleep, the brain constantly repeats the same actions and processes, divided into two phases: REM and non-REM sleep. They make up a complete sleep cycle repeated four to five times a night. On the first iteration of this cycle, slow-wave sleep takes less time than fast sleep, but their ratio levels off during the night.
REM sleep is also called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep because, during this time, the eyes move actively under closed eyelids, and brain processes are almost as active as during wakefulness. The frequency of breathing and heartbeat rises, and the body’s large muscles relax – it is at this time that we see dreams. It is believed that if you suddenly wake up during REM sleep, you can fall into sleep paralysis.
Slow-wave, or non-REM sleep, is the phase when all processes in the body slow down. It consists of four stages. The first is the borderline state between wakefulness and falling asleep. The second is light sleep when the heartbeat and breathing rate remain the same, but the body temperature drops. The third and fourth stages are deep sleep. Slow-wave sleep is extremely important – it helps the body rest and rejuvenate and improves the brain’s ability to learn and remember.
Sleep in our body is regulated by two main processes: circadian rhythms and the desire to sleep directly.
The biological clock controls circadian rhythms in the brain. This watch reacts primarily to light – it starts the production of the hormone melatonin in the dark and turns it off when it senses light.
The desire to sleep is extremely important because the body requires rest, just as it requires food when it is hungry. During the day, this desire gradually forms and, at some point, reaches a critical level – and then you need to fall asleep. There is a big difference between wanting to sleep and being hungry. Hunger will not force you to eat when there is no such possibility. But you can fall asleep in any situation, even at a meeting or while driving.
In a state of severe fatigue, the body can even fall into a micro-sleep for a couple of seconds with open eyes. Daytime sleep for 30-40 minutes will help reduce the desire to sleep and push back the moment of falling asleep for several hours.
Why do we need sleep?
The quality and quantity of sleep directly affect brain function. First, on the so-called plasticity, or flexibility, of thinking – how the brain adapts and assimilates the information it receives. If you have not slept enough, it will be difficult to absorb something new during the day and even harder to remember afterward. Some researchers also believe that brain cells get rid of unnecessary products of their vital activity better during sleep.
With a lack of sleep, health risks also increase – symptoms of depression have been proven to increase, diseases of the cardiovascular system and migraines become more frequent, and blood pressure rises. The level of immunity also decreases, increasing the risk of infection with viral or bacterial diseases. Sleep also plays an important role in metabolism, including regular lack of sleep can increase the risk of diabetes.
Sleep deprivation, overwork, and stress disrupt metabolic processes, slowing down the production of hyaluronic acid, elastin, and collagen fibers. The result is reduced turgor, and the skin looks tired and sags. Girlfriend, do not forget healthy sleep is your best beautician.
Why can’t you sleep?
- Before going to bed, you only take your eyes off the phone for several hours – TikTok will not look at itself.
- You try to finish all the important things to be productive (and there it’s already time to get up!).
- During the day, you abuse coffee, strong tea, sweets, or even energy drinks.
- Stress! A lot of stress! You continue to be nervous even in your sleep.
- Something always interferes: light from the window or gadgets sounds behind the wall, monsters under the bed.
How much sleep do you need?
The American organization National Sleep Foundation conducted a study and determined the recommended sleep time for different ages.
- A 14-17-year-old should sleep 7-11 hours, optimally from 8 to 10.
- At 18-25, you need to sleep 6-11 hours, optimally from 7 to 9.
- An adult 26-64 years old is recommended to sleep 6-10 hours, optimally from 7 to 9.
- An older adult over 65 normally sleeps 5-9 hours, optimally from 7 to 8.
Undoubtedly, any recommendations are individual. To understand whether you have enough time you devote to sleep, try to answer the following questions.
- Do you feel productive, healthy, and happy with this sleep schedule?
- Do you have health problems? Is there excess weight? Are you at risk for any diseases?
- Do you fall asleep and wake up easily?
- Do you need caffeine to get active in your day?
- Do you feel sleepy while driving?
Seven steps to improving sleep patterns
- Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time, even on weekends and holidays. It is also not worth increasing the usual sleep time by more than an hour or two. Sudden changes in the sleep schedule knock down the biological clock – alas, they are not Swiss, and it is not so easy to return them to normal functioning.
- That is why switching to the correct sleep regimen in one day will not work. Every night, go to bed 15 minutes earlier than the previous one, gradually approaching the desired time.
- The sun’s rays make it easier to wake up. Leave the curtains ajar so that the light wakes you up naturally, or at least go out on the balcony with a cup of morning coffee – this will make your brain turn on faster.
- Try to eliminate all unnecessary sources of artificial light in the room – light bulbs and indicators on computers, TVs, and other household appliances. In the evening, dim all the lights in the apartment and try to minimize TV viewing and the use of gadgets – they are sources of blue radiation that irritates the eyes. If it is impossible to achieve complete darkness, use a sleep mask – it takes some getting used to, but it can be a real salvation.
- Stay out of bed on an empty stomach, but don’t overeat right before bed, either. Try to have dinner around the same time each day, ideally three hours before bedtime. If you have something to chew on in bed, choose small snacks with the best combination of carbohydrates and proteins: cereal and banana, cheese and crackers, cereal toast, and peanut butter. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol in the evenings.
- The optimal air temperature for sleep is between 16 and 19 degrees Celsius. The bedroom should resemble a cool, dark, and quiet cave.
- Progress has reached the pillows! Advanced fighters for sound sleep and health choose at least orthopedic pillows or polyurethane foam pillows – their relief supports the neck and head in the correct position, helping the muscles of the neck-collar zone to relax and thus ensuring normal blood flow to the brain. The next step is silk crescent-shaped beauty pillows, large horseshoe pillows for the whole body (side sleepers adore them), and elevated pillows for reading and improving the circulation of fluids in the body.
What will help with insomnia?
- If you are lying in bed, you can’t stop thinking about everything you need to do tomorrow; make a list. Please write it down on paper or in notes on your phone. Another cool life hack is to write down everything that worries you in your diary for 5-10 minutes before bed.
- Take five slow breaths in and out. Place your palms on your stomach below your navel, take a deep breath (mentally count to three), then breathe out deeply (also count to three). You can increase the duration of the inhalations and exhalations or bring them to a ratio of one to two (inhale for four counts, exhale for eight). Yogis use this technique – it slows down the nervous system and the running of thoughts.
- Move your toes – that’s where many nerve endings are located. Lie on your back and slowly bend and unbend your toes, alternately pulling them away and towards you.
Use accessories such as masks and earplugs. Sleep masks create the effect of complete darkness so that no light sources interfere with your proper rest and melatonin synthesis. But remember, the mask is an intimate accessory; use it individually and wash it regularly. Earplugs protect your ears not only from noise (especially important if your neighbors have a schedule that doesn’t match yours) but also from moisture or dust.
Aromatherapy oils also help you fall asleep. They can be used in an evening bath, sprayed onto a pillow, or applied directly to the skin. The smells of lavender, chamomile, neroli, vetiver, and cedar will improve sleep. You can light candles or incense sticks. Some doctors recommend applying oils to the skin of the feet.
Sleep coaches are gaining incredible popularity. They ask you to record a few nights of your sleep on video and give recommendations on improving sleep quality:
- How to reorganize the bedroom.
- What to eat before bed.
- What breathing exercises to do.
The service is insanely popular among people with large incomes and busy schedules – from the meager time that remains for sleep, they want to squeeze the maximum benefit.