Getting a good night's sleep is the foundation for better health, and it's something that we all want. Getting to sleep isn't always easy though! If you're not getting 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night, then this blog post is for you. So many people struggle to regularly get good sleep. Understanding what your body needs to sleep is critical to improving your nightly rest.. Keep reading to find out how ZMA can improve your REM cycles and give you more energy in the long run!
Sleep can be broken into 4 distinct phases. First, stages 1 and 2 occur as you transition from being awake to being asleep, and then the initial phase of light sleep, respectively. The next two phases are arguably the most important. Stage 3 is known as deep sleep. In deep sleep, your brain waves slow, as well as your heart rate and respiration. This phase is important for that refreshed feeling after a great night of sleep. Finally, the fourth phase of sleep is Rapid Eye Movement, or REM, sleep. In REM sleep you are unconscious but your brain and body are quite active. REM brain waves actually resemble those of the awake brain. This makes sense when you consider that REM sleep is also the phase where most dreaming takes place.
The benefits of quality sleep are numerous. Consistent good sleep can improve immune function, hormone balances, and your ability to manage stressors of all types. Sleep also plays an important role in cognitive function. While you sleep, your brain is working to consolidate your memories, retaining information, and impacting your ability to learn. And we all know sleep also affects your mood and productivity. Just think about how you acted the last time you didn’t get enough sleep.
Conversely, losing out on sleep can hurt all of these processes. If you want the most out of your time in bed, there are a few keys to consider. Environment is a key component of good sleep: try to keep your bedroom as dark, cool and quiet as you can. Stress can also make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Try to avoid working in your bed, so your mind doesn’t associate your bed with any work stress.
Sleep routines are helpful to cue your body and mind to slow down for sleep. Try avoiding exercise late in the day, and avoid stimulants and alcohol too late either. Relaxing activities before going to sleep are helpful. Whether you choose to read a book, stretch, or listen to some calming music, it will help ease your transition to sleep. When the sun starts to go down, lower the lights in your house as well and avoid screens. Our bodies evolved to wind down with the sun, so dimmer light at night helps your body begin the process of settling in for sleep.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, get out of bed instead of laying around worrying. Anxiety is a frequent cause of poor sleep. Leaving bed and engaging in a relaxing activity can help you get to sleep and avoid creating a negative association between your bed and the stress of not being able to sleep. Avoid using OTC sleep supplements as well. Medicated supplements can lead to dependency, and melatonin supplements hijack your body’s natural production of this important hormone. Mineral supplements like Earth Fed Muscle’s Forty Winkz provide ingredients like zinc and magnesium to promote deeper sleep without disrupting natural hormone cycles or becoming addictive.
Despite what some people think, it’s difficult to “catch up” on missed sleep. While you might be able to account for one poor night, chronically poor sleep through a workweek can’t be made up for by sleeping longer on the weekends. One of the most important ways to reap the benefits of good sleep is to be as consistent as possible with your sleep schedule. Try your best to fall asleep and wake up at the same time, every day. This will help your body consistently prepare itself to sleep at the appropriate time.
One of the good things about sleep is that your body does most of the work for you. If you’re good about maintaining a regular sleep/wake time, relaxing during the evening, and creating a healthy sleeping environment, your body will do just what it needs to help you wake up feeling refreshed. Consistency is key, and the rewards of sleeping well are worth the effort.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.” Nih.Gov, 13 Aug. 2019, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep.Rasch, Björn, and Jan Born. “About Sleep’s Role in Memory.” Physiological Reviews, vol. 93, no. 2, Apr. 2013, pp. 681–766, 10.1152/physrev.00032.2012.