The Science of Sleep Importance and Tips for a Restful Night

A one-off restless night is no big deal, but consistent lack of sleep can lead to a host of problems. For instance, it increases your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Each night, the body progresses through four or five sleep cycles, each consisting of a non-REM and REM phase. During non-REM sleep, brain waves slow down while during REM sleep activity resembles that of being awake.

Identify Your Chronotype

Sleep is a complex process that seems deceptively simple. However, getting a good night’s rest is essential for your health and wellbeing.

Throughout the day, your body’s “clock” builds up feelings of tiredness that peak in the evening leading up to bedtime. This is called sleep drive. The body needs sleep just as it needs food. It is also important for memory formation and alertness.

Set a Sleep Goal

Getting enough sleep is vital for your health. If you’re not getting enough, it can affect your mood and mental clarity.

It’s important to set a sleep goal and stick to it. To do this, open the Health app and tap Sleep. Select a Sleep Goal and use the curved slider to set your ideal Bedtime and Wake Up time. Then tap Full Schedule and Options to change other settings.

Don’t Oversleep

The best way to avoid oversleeping is to go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. It also helps to have a regular sleep schedule so the body and brain are conditioned to fall asleep and stay asleep.

If you consistently struggle to get enough sleep, try keeping a sleep journal and consult your primary physician. It may indicate an underlying health issue or sleep disorder.

Keep a Sleep Journal

Many people mistakenly think of sleep as a passive activity, but it’s much more than that. Sleep is a vitally important process that helps the brain process the day’s events and restores energy.

Keeping a sleep journal allows you to identify external factors that may impact your sleep quality. Be consistent and honest to gain reliable insights. This is especially important when evaluating your sleep after receiving a diagnosis.

Don’t Smoke Before Bed

Smoking can wreak havoc on your sleep. Even if you don’t smoke conventional cigarettes, nicotine products like e-cigarettes and patches can disrupt your sleep by altering your breathing patterns.

Experts believe that sleep is necessary for brain health, supporting memory function and emotional stability. It also helps clear waste from your brain’s glymphatic system. The goldilocks amount of sleep is also associated with a healthy immune system.

Don’t Exercise Right Before Bed

Sleep is a crucial part of good health and can have a significant impact on the body and brain. Sleep can prevent and treat many common health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

But exercising just before bed can have a negative effect on your sleep. Learn how to work exercise into your schedule without sacrificing quality rest.

Avoid Screen Time Before Bed

Screens emit blue light, which interferes with the body’s production of melatonin. Ideally, you should avoid using electronic devices (including television) at night for several hours before bed.

If you are going to watch TV or use your phone before bed, choose soothing content, such as a funny episode of Gilmore Girls or a familiar documentary. Watching a thriller or other intense content may keep you awake.

Don’t Drink Alcohol Before Bed

Sleep helps to maintain your physical health, support healthy brain function and emotions, and help you learn and remember. Over time, inadequate sleep can cause many problems including poor memory and thinking, depression and anxiety, and even immune system disorders.

A few drinks may make you feel drowsy but they can disrupt your restful sleep and increase your risk of nighttime awakenings. Alcohol can also aggravate breathing related sleep problems such as snoring and sleep apnea.

Don’t Exercise Right Before Bed

Modern medicine’s understanding of sleep is like a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces still unanswered. But one thing is clear: Getting enough rest can boost your health, both mentally and physically.

Doing a high-intensity workout, such as Peloton’s latest HIIT cycling class or a sprint-heavy run, too close to bedtime can hinder your sleep quality. That’s because vigorous exercise messes with your body’s thermoregulation, which is key to falling asleep and staying asleep.

Don’t Smoke Before Bed

Sleep plays a crucial role in supporting health and wellness throughout life. It can help to improve your memory, concentration and energy levels, and boost mood and emotional wellbeing.

Research has shown that when we are tired our brains can become overactive and react to certain situations. This is because the amygdala can overreact and cause us to feel fearful.

In general, sleep is generally defined by the convergence of a number of behavioral, EEG, sensory and motor criteria.

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