With our crazy lifestyles, many of us still try and get the recommended 8 hours of sleep. The thought being that we will wake up refreshed and ready to take on any day! That would be the ideal situation but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Most of the time we actually wake up feeling tired and moody. This, in turn, affects our overall mood, concentration level, productivity, as well as our general health and well-being. I decided to do some research and actually discovered that it is, in fact, the quality of our sleep that is important and not so much the quantity.
The key to feeling refreshed and energised the next morning all depends on your REM sleep cycle. what is REM sleep you might ask? REM stands for 'rapid eye movement' which refers to the deepest state of sleep. It is during this state that your brain is actually most active, your body is totally paralyzed and you have vivid dreams. More importantly, REM sleep is the stage of your sleep cycle where your brain is restored and refreshed. So, if you toss and turn and wake up on a regular basis during the night, it might mean that your sleep cycle is disrupted and that you are not reaching the 4th and most important stage, which is your REM sleep stage. There are many articles on the internet explaining this cycle more in-depth and definitely worth a read!
In short you basically need to focus on the quality of your sleep instead of the quantity and your bedroom and general habits might actually play a big role in this. So, I have compiled a few tips to help you wake up with a smile on your face :-)
Many of us use our bedroom as our gym or office or spend hours in front of the TV watching our favourite movies or series. Well, it's time to ditch ALL of this and use the bedroom only for its intended purpose - sleep! This will help your brain to associate the bedroom with sleep instead of other daily activities.
I'm not going to go into this topic too much as I am sure we have all read some article that explains the science behind why using electronic devices at bedtime could affect our sleep cycle. In short, the light emitting from your device has an effect on the brain which disrupts your ability to fall asleep.
If possible, leave your electronic devices in another room - this will take away the temptation of checking your emails, social media updates or playing games on your device when you are struggling to fall asleep.
Always turn the display of your alarm clock at such an angle that you cannot see it while you are lying in bed. Many of us, including myself, tend to constantly check the time when we are struggling to fall asleep. This just stresses you out even more and prevents you from actually falling asleep.
As much as we love them and consider them part of the family, it is better to leave your furry friends outside the bedroom.
Apart from the moving around, noise and other disruptions waking you up during the night, it is also not a great idea from a hygienic perspective. Having animals in your bedroom could trigger sleep disruptive allergies, infect your bedding with bacteria and mites and cause an unpleasant odour.
Beds generally have a lifespan of 7-10 years. If you notice any lumps or sagging in your mattress, it is a clear sign that it is time to say goodbye to your faithful mattress. Other indicators might be that your mattress is not as comfortable as it used to be and if you are waking up with aches and pains. Not sleeping on a decent mattress could be one of the main reasons that you are not getting enough quality sleep.
This one I found quite intriguing. Many studies have shown that actually using specific colours on your bedroom wall could help you fall asleep quicker.
Shades of blue seemed to be the outright winner in the sleep inducing category but shades of green or yellow also seemed to do the trick.
All these colours are associated with calmness and relaxation. Colours you should stay away from are colours such as purple, grey and brown.
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