When your alarm went off this morning, did you groan and hide under the covers or wake up and stretch with a smile on your face like Snow White in the dwarf’s cabin?
The length and quality of your sleep affects how you wake up, your mood and brainpower available for the day, and it can also manifest physically too. During sleep is when maximum healing and regeneration happens so it’s important for your health and wellbeing to do everything you can to sleep well.
Today, we’re going to look at what kind of sleep you need to get to best function during the day, and some steps to help you sleep better.
Your sleep cycles
When we sleep, we move through 90-minute sleep cycles consisting of 5 stages:
- Stage 1: This is the first few minutes after you fall asleep. It’s when your heartbeat and breathing slow down, your muscles relax, and you begin producing alpha and theta brain waves.
- Stage 2: The next 25 or so minutes are a light sleep, where your breathing and heart rate slows a bit more, your eyes stop moving, your body temperature drops, and your brain waves go up and down (called “sleep spindles”)
- Stage 3/4: These are the deep sleep stages where your brain emits delta waves. It’s also when all the important mind and body healing begins. You’ll find it harder to wake someone in this stage of sleep.
- Stage 5: This is called REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) and this lasts 10-60 minutes and is when your eyes move rapidly behind your eyelids and when you experience dreams.
When your body is able to naturally move through the cycles without interruption, that’s when you get the most benefits from sleep.
Our days are often so busy. Our mind works hard to make decisions and keep us safe all day long and needs a break at night. Sleep is when the most beneficial mind and body healing can happen:
- Sleep reduces stress: When your mind has that downtime to rest, your decision-making can be faster and your anxiety and worry are minimized. That’s why in school they always say to get a good nights sleep before a big test. Healthy sleep patterns can also improve your memory too!
- Sleep strengthens your immune system: Your body can repair and strengthen your immune cells and proteins at night, so a good nights sleep can help you better ward off the cold or flu.
- Sleep strengthens your heart: Your heart pumps 24 hours a day, but its’ systems need a break sometimes too. When you don’t get enough sleep your body releases cortisol (a stress hormone) that forces your heart to work harder, possibly leading to high blood pressure or heart attacks.
Better sleep tips
Waking up like a grumpy cat isn’t good for those around you, or even yourself. Here are some easy-to-follow better sleep tips:
- Limit caffeine and alcohol use later in the day
- Turn off screens and devices a few hours before bed
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get daily exercise (outside if you can)
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment
- Try magnesium oil and specially formulated roll-on’s, mists, or sleep supplements
If you’ve struggled with sleep conditions or just don’t wake up feeling rested every morning, schedule a call with Dr. Diamond today who can give you more personalized tips and/or a holistic treatment plan that can help you.
Because we owe it to ourselves to get a good sleep tonight!