Sleep

Sleep is an incredibly vital component of every person’s well-being. The quality of your sleep equates to the overall quality of your health. They are imperative and go hand in hand with one another. Sleep is where the body gets to work with recovery both physically and mentally (1). Good sleep improves your creativity, productivity, more effective metabolism, improved immune function, improved social interactions and reduces inflammation (2). An internal body block regulates your bodies cycle of sleep, being in charge of when you fall asleep and when you wake up. It is called your circadian rhythm (3).  

The sleep cycle is divided up into 4 stages:  

  1. Light Sleep (N1) – transitioning between wakefulness and sleep, body begins to relax and brain waves begin to slow down. 
  1. Deeper Sleep (N2) – typically the longest of the four cycles. The body continues to relax and slow down, temperature begins to reduce. 
  1. Deepest sleep (N3-N4) – this is also known as high-quality sleep. 
  1. Active Sleep (REM) – the most vivid dream occurs in this phase and it is also where memories are stored.  

It is typical to cycle through each stage every 90-120minutes and it is not uncommon to wake up during the night and not be able to recall doing so. Most adults need 7- 9 hours of sleep per night, although some people may need as few as 6 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day, children requiring more. 

1 in 3 people suffer from insomnia or sleep issues within the UK.  So, it is important to address areas that may be disrupting your sleep. 

 Signs you may need to up your sleep: 

  • Feeling extremely sleepy during the day, especially during activities that are calm natured. 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Falling asleep within minutes of lying down. 
  • Short periods of sleep during waking hours (microsleeps) 
  • Mood changes (from happy to sad etc) 
  • Being unable to focus on a task.  

References:

  1. Why Do We Need Sleep? | Sleep Foundation. (2020). Retrieved 22 March 2021, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/why-do-we-need-sleep 
  1. 9 benefits of a good night’s sleep. (2021). Retrieved 22 March 2021, from https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/nine-benefits-good-night-sleep 
  1. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2021). Retrieved 22 March 2021, from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/understanding-Sleep 
  1. Seven signs you need sleep . (2021). Retrieved 22 March 2021, from http://sleepeducation.org/news/2013/01/01/seven-signs-you-need-sleep 

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