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Sleep & Relaxation Wellness Hub

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Sleep is a state of behaviour in which our consciousness shifts (which is why we sometimes dream) and our brain activity, heart rate, breathing and temperature changes.

Did you know? The average person spends a third of their lives asleep! So, it’s quite important that you make the most of it.

When we hit the sheets and start our journey into the land of nod our bodies enter the first of two main types of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (non-REM).

This sleep stage takes the body from light sleep all the way into deep sleep, during which your brain waves start to slow down, breathing deepens and your body gets to work on its restorative processes.

Then, things start to get a little dreamy.

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the dreaming stage - comes next, where your heart rate and breathing speeds up, blood pressure levels increase, and muscles get temporarily paralysed.

Did you know? Your circadian rhythm affects your sleep. The circadian rhythm is the brain’s way of aligning the body with the environment. In simple terms – it’s your body’s built-in clock.

Some people can experience some pretty strange things when they are asleep such as sleepwalking, dreaming the same dream, the sensation of falling and more.

Whilst these may seem odd they are common in many people.

 

When we sleep, we allow our bodies to rest and recuperate.

That cut on your leg from falling over? Most of the healing process will occur while we sleep.

In fact, sleep has an effect on all of our body systems and tissues, including cell repair, muscles, the immune system and the cardiovascular system.

A good nights sleep is also important when it comes to relationships with your friends and family. Bad sleep could be ruining relationships.  

A 2013 study by the University of California analysed the sleep diaries of 75 people in relationships and reported that those who slept poorly were more likely to argue the next day.

This is a stage of sleep that usually happens after around 90 minutes after you drift off.

During REM sleep, your eyes move rapidly from side to side under closed eyelids of course, which gives it its name: Rapid Eye Movement sleep.

In REM sleep, your breathing becomes faster and more irregular, and your heart rate will increase to a similar level to when you’re awake.

This is also when you’re most likely to dream, and your arm and leg muscles become paralyzed to stop you from acting out your dreams.

Lots of people snore, but it can be a problem for both you and your partner if it disrupts your sleep.

Luckily there are a few lifestyle changes that may be able to help you stop snoring.

The NHS states that the following could help:

  • Lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Try to sleep on your side - tape or stitch a tennis ball to the back of your sleepwear, or buy a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol
  • Don’t take sleeping pills – as these can sometimes cause snoring

Everyone knows the importance of sleep, but we don’t always fall asleep in the best positions.

And generally, we can tell when we wake up.

Here are some of the best positions to fall asleep in and why:

  • The fetal position – may help with heartburn, reduce snoring and minimise sleep disturbances 
  • Sleeping on your left side – may help with back pain, reduce snoring, improve your gut health, improve brain health and aid you in a healthy pregnancy 
  • Sleeping on your stomach – may help with conditions like sleep apnea 
  • Sleeping flat on your back – may cause less spinal pain, reduce facial breakouts you’re your pillows and help with acid reflux 

If you want to get a deeper insight into your beauty sleep, it might be worth investing in a tracker.

Some of the most common ways to track your sleep, include wearable devices or fitness watches, bed sensors that you place under your sheets and bedside devices that monitor your movements throughout the night.

If you struggle to visit the land of nod, listening to relaxing music may be able to help.

Studies have shown this to be true, as people who listened to just 45 minutes of soothing music before bed experienced better sleep quality straight away.

It has also been found to reduce the amount of time that it takes to fall asleep, so it might be worth adding this to your nighttime routine if it takes you a while to drift off.

The number of hours of sleep you need depends on how old you are.

So to help you figure out how much sleep you need exactly, check out this table from the National Sleep Foundation:

  Age range Recommended hours of sleep
Newborn 0-3 months old 14-17 hours
Infant 4-11 months old 12-15 hours
Toddler 1-2 years old 11-14 hours
Preschool 3-5 years old 10-13 hours
School-age 6-13 years old 9-11 hours
Teen 14-17 years old 8-10 hours
Young adult 18-25 years old 7-9 hours
Adult 26-64 years old 7-9 hours
Older adult 65 or more years old 7-8 hours