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Start a better sleep cycle today

Why is sleep important

We tend to think of sleep as a time where our mind and body shut down, but this is far from the truth. Sleep is the time when your mind and body repairs itself and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. You can help your learning and memory by entering deep sleep, as well as prevention of heart disease and other illnesses. Find out how to start a better sleep cycle and reap the benefits today. 

How to sleep better

Some people are capable of sleeping less than the recommended amount of 8 hours, and can still function perfectly fine. This is because they still got a good quality night’s sleep, regardless of the time sleeping. A healthy night’s sleep consists of 5 states of sleep, without waking up in between. The stages are 1-2 light sleep, 3-4 deep sleep and 5 is REM sleep, also known as Rapid Eye Movement (this is where your dreams happen). Going through these 5 stages of the sleep cycle means you have a healthy sleep pattern. During your time sleeping you will experience these states in a cycle, which lasts between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes, where you will repeat your sleep cycle. 

Getting a healthy night’s sleep has many contributing factors, your emotions and stress levels for example can alter your falling asleep process. If you did a lot of physical exercise or strenuous work that day, you will find it easier to fall asleep and will usually spend longer periods of time in deep sleep. 

When is the best time to go to bed

For the most part, there’s no ‘ideal’ set time to go to bed that will give you the best sleep. However it’s more about the length and quality of sleep you get. Deciding when to go to bed to best suit a ‘normal’ lifestyle however, is something that matters. Usually a lot of us work between the hours of 9am and 6pm, with a break in between. Each individual will also have different needs before and after this time frame; and of course we also have days off when work restrictions don’t apply. So for the best night’s sleep of a full 8 hours, you must work backwards and account for everything you need to do in your day. This includes, travelling, preparing food and eating, leisure time and hygiene. If you start work at 9am and it takes you 30 minutes to get to work, an 1 hour to shower, get ready and have breakfast in the morning, you need to be waking up at 7:30am, which means falling asleep at 11:30pm. 

How long do you need to sleep for

An adult sleep recommendation is 8 hours. However this can differ from person to person. If you have certain mental or physical health conditions, this may alter the time you need to spend sleeping. Sleeping 8 hours every night is also pretty hard to obtain if you have a new born baby or a busy work schedule. Why do we need 8 hours every night? Well we need this time for our body to recover, grow and repair itself, giving your body 8 hours to do this in, is considered a healthy amount of time to get what you need from your sleep. This recovery and repair isn’t just physical either, your body uses unconscious time to sort through all your memories, thoughts and feelings from your day and keep your hormones in balance.

What should you do before bed

To prepare for a restful night’s sleep it’s useful to ‘wind down’ in the evenings. The 2 hours before you go to sleep are crucial, during this time frame it’s recommended not to eat any heavy foods, as most digestion takes place as you sleep. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea right before bed as this will keep your mind alert when you are trying to get to sleep. Instead you can opt for a chamomile or fruit tea which can aid digestion and sleep. 

Taking a soak in a warm bath with lavender scents will relax your muscles, making it easier to fall asleep. A warm shower will also do the trick if part of a night time routine. Starting a night time routine will mentally prepare your body for sleep, after you’ve gone through your routine for a few days in a row, your mind will get used to it and will begin to automatically know what comes next: sleep. 

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