Sleep is the period in which our bodies recover from the demands of daily life. It is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and provides us with the opportunity to repair and strengthen our body, mind and spirit.
How much sleep we need depends on a variety of factors, including age and activity level. Generally speaking, most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to feel rested, but this number can vary from person to person.
We sleep in cycles, each lasting 70 to 120 minutes. The first sleep cycle is the lightest and involves mainly non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, while the second cycle is deeper and involves more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
NREM sleep, also known as slow wave sleep, accounts for about 45% of total sleep time. It is the most restful type of sleep and enables the body to rest, rebuild tissues, repair muscles, build bones and strengthen the immune system.
REM sleep, also known as fast-wave sleep, accounts for about 25% of total sleep time. It is the most dreamy phase of sleep and allows the brain to produce vivid images, such as dreams.
The average human spends between four and six cycles of REM and non-REM sleep each night. When you fall asleep, thousands of neurons in the brain switch from a waking state to one of sleeping. These neurons send signals to a variety of organs and glands in the body, which regulate their functions during the sleep cycle.
There are a variety of things you can do to ensure that you get the best possible sleep. These include making a regular bedtime routine, staying active during the day, and reducing stress.
Headphones and earplugs can help you get a good night’s sleep, especially if you have trouble falling asleep. You might also want to consider a sleep mask or pillow, which can help your eyes relax and block out noise from outside.
It’s also a good idea to avoid using your phone or computer before you go to bed. Studies have shown that using electronics can suppress melatonin levels, which are a natural hormone that helps you get to sleep.
You’ll also want to keep your room cool and quiet, as hot rooms can interfere with deep sleep and cause you to wake up too early. You can also try using a lavender diffuser to make the room smell sweet and calming.
If you’re an athlete, getting enough sleep can improve your performance. In a June 2021 Healthcare review, researchers found that athletes who got more sleep were less fatigued, performed better and had fewer injuries than those who slept fewer hours.
Your sleep drive may increase when you’re sick, traveling or exercising. This is due to your circadian rhythms, which control your biological clock and work on a daily schedule.
Sleep is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle and is vital to our physical, mental and emotional health. Getting enough sleep can reduce your risk of developing chronic illness, improve your concentration and improve your memory. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your mood and emotions in check.