5 Tips to get more sleep

Scientists confirm that good sleep is essential for our health. As adults, we sleep for a third of our lives, but what part of our sleep is crucial and how exactly can we improve our sleep schedule?

There are four stages of sleep and moving through them as many times as possible is the aim to give your body and mind as much time to repair itself and prepare for the day ahead.

  1. Alpha stage –  This is your lightest sleep. You drift in and out of light sleep and can be awakened easily.
  2. Beta stage –  You lose awareness of your surroundings, and it’s difficult to wake. Your body temperature starts to drop, and your breathing and heart rate slow.
  3. Delta stage – This is your deepest sleep during which time your body has a chance to repair itself from the day’s activities. Your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing are very slow at this point, and you have lost all awareness of your surroundings.
  4. REM stage – This is the stage in which you dream and it’s crucial to your mental wellbeing. Dreams help you to make sense of your world, and short-term memories are also consolidated into long-term memories.

Most people will suffer from poor quality sleep at some stage of their lives. Sleeping poorly for even a few days can leave you feeling anxious and stressed.

Here are five simple tips to help you improve your sleep:

  1. Set regular bed and wake times and try to get an average of 7-9 hours sleep per night.
  2. Finish eating a heavy meal at least three hours before bedtime or your body will still be working hard to digest the meal when you go to bed.
  3. Try decaffeinated products from mid-afternoon and avoid alcohol right before bedtime.
  4. Turn off the technology at least an hour before bed. Technology can increase stress levels, and the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt our natural sleep cycle.
  5. Instead, spend at least 30 minutes before bed doing something relaxing e.g. read a book, listening to music, have a warm (not hot) bath or shower.