SLEEP is a vital part of your life – around a third of your life is spent sleeping. It is responsible for a host of benefits, ultimately improving your immune system, brain functions and overall health.
When you are asleep, your brain runs through five different cycles that are, as yet, not fully understood. Science has shown that at least two of these stages are crucial for boosting your immune system, and another cycle is responsible for relieving stress.
These five stages are outlined below, and explain what we currently know of them:
- First falling asleep is the shortest part of your sleeping cycle, and restarts if you awake from your slumber at any point.
- This cycle is a light sleep where you will be easily awakened by a noise.
- The third stage is where we start a deep sleep. At this point, our immune systems have the opportunity to recharge. Your brain is producing delta waves at this stage, signifying unconsciousness.
- The fourth cycle is an even deeper sleep than before. Here, as with the third cycle, your immune system can recharge and you are unconscious. A solid night of sleep will have prolonged third and fourth cycles.
- The fifth stage, known as the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle, helps you unwind mentally and alleviate anxiety and stress. It is this last stage that is responsible for our dreams.
Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Sleep
- Before going to sleep, ensure that you have as little light around you as possible. Light is responsible for inhibiting melatonin, a hormone essential for sleep. It is worth noting that light from an ajar door with a hall light on can be enough to disrupt a good night’s rest, so try to be thorough.
- Try to remove any third-party noise. Unfortunately, life can be loud, especially if you live in the inner-city. However, noises can be incredibly intrusive and disruptive. If you can’t remove the noise, then try to protect yourself from it. Ear plugs work well, as does drowning out third-party noise with white noise from a speaker or laptop.
- Fresh air circulating around your bedroom can help oxygenate your body and put you into a deeper sleep. If a breeze is out of the question, consider houseplants such as ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ that can oxygenate your room at night.
- Try to avoid any blue light or bright lights from monitors and screens for an hour before going to bed. The blue lights can mimic the sun and keeps you awake for longer.