- 1 The importance of sleeping well: what happens during our sleep?
- 2 Common Causes of Sleep Problems
- 3 8 sleep well tips for a better night’s sleep
- 4 Sleep well: tips for a better night’s sleep summarized
Wishing each other a good night’s sleep is something people have been doing for a long time. There is a good chance that you will also hear this from your partner or children in adulthood. Most of us love to sleep, of course, but not everyone is equally capable of falling asleep quickly.
One is tossing and turning all night without closing an eye, while the other is already snoring when his or her head hits the pillow. What exactly causes some people to sleep faster and more deeply remains a mystery to many. This is partly genetically determined, but fortunately, there are several factors about sleep that can be influenced.
In this article, we are going to look at sleep and discuss what it is. We also describe which problems can occur when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. In addition, we give you various “sleep well” tips. Let’s get started!
The importance of sleeping well: what happens during our sleep?
You would think that when you sleep, your brain is completely at rest. However, this is not entirely true. A lot happens inside your head while you sleep. Your body is resting from the outside, but your brain is busy processing the day during your so-called “sleep well” moment.
And that’s a good thing! After all, it is important that all impressions and stimuli – which you have experienced during the day – are processed during your sleep.
That way you start the next day fresh and fruity. So the sleep process can be seen as a “reset” of the mind. But how does this work? The sleep process is quite complicated but can be explained quite simply based on four sleep phases. We would like to explain which sleep phases these are below.
Sleep well thanks to the four sleep phases
An adult person needs about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day. During your sleep, you complete multiple sleep cycles of approximately 90 minutes of 3 or 4 sleep phases each.
Sleep stage 1 is when you fall asleep. If you usually sleep through the night, you only go through this phase once a night. However, do you wake up in between to go to the toilet, for example? Then you will experience this phase several times. Your heart rate and breathing slow down and your muscles relax. Then sleep phase 2 occurs.
Sleep stage 2 is when you are in a light sleep. Your body temperature drops and your muscles are now fully relaxed. In addition, your eyes stop moving. Your brain has a lower activity, but now and then gives a spike with nerve signals. You are in this phase most of the time during your sleep. After sleep phase 2 you enter sleep phase 3.
Sleep stage 3 is deep sleep. At the beginning of the night, you will spend more time in this phase, but as the morning comes, these intervals shorten. You need this third sleep phase to wake up rested. Are you awakened during this phase? Then you will probably feel very tired, confused, and irritated. Finally, you make the transition to sleep phase 4 during the night.
Sleep stage 4 is REM sleep. When you are asleep for about 90 minutes, REM sleep begins. In this, your brain becomes very active and your eyes begin to move quickly back and forth. Your heart rate also increases and your breathing becomes faster. This stage is where most dreams occur (including lucid dreaming ) and you are also more likely to remember your dreams from this stage. In this phase, your muscles are temporarily “blocked” to prevent you from carrying out dreams into reality. In this phase, your brain is busy processing all the information from the previous day. The first sleep cycle is thus complete.
Common Causes of Sleep Problems
This is of course very frustrating. Fortunately, some causes can often be linked to the lack of a good night’s sleep. By taking this into account, you increase the chance of getting a good night’s sleep. Below you will find several causes that can cause you to sleep worse.
We need food to survive, but it can sometimes get in the way of our sleep. Caffeine, for example, blocks the receptors that indicate you are tired, preventing your body from producing melatonin (known as the “sleep hormone”).
Also, fatty or spicy food can cause heartburn, which keeps you awake when you are in bed. Therefore, try not to drink coffee or black tea at least 6 hours before going to bed, and make sure that your last meal is finished at least 4 hours before bedtime. For example, nutrition against poor sleep is something you can make work in your favor.
Stress from work or personal life can cause your heart rate to be too high to properly rest when you want to go to sleep. In addition, it can occupy your brains to such an extent that they also come to restless. Therefore, try to do a calm activity before going to bed so that you can relax.
If you suffer from depression, it can negatively affect your sleep rhythm. People who suffer from depression can sometimes find it more difficult to enter the deep sleep phase of their nighttime rhythm so that they never feel completely rested.
Also, drugs such as antidepressants can affect the sleep rhythm. In other words, depression hinders a good night’s sleep and should ideally be relieved or remedied as soon as possible. Consider doing this in collaboration with a medical specialist.
The light from your phone, television, tablet, or computer confuses your internal clock. This prevents your body from producing melatonin right before bedtime, which will help you feel less tired. In addition, the additional stress of, for example, the news, a sudden message, or a less pleasant photo can also contribute to a less good night’s sleep.
Some vitamins and minerals help promote a good night’s sleep. If you have a shortage of that, it may be that you fall asleep worse. To counteract this, you can use “sleep well” supplements to improve your sleep.
Bad medical condition
Some medical problems also make you sleep worse. In this case, however, it is wise to contact a doctor to find a suitable solution in consultation with him.
8 sleep well tips for a better night’s sleep
These natural remedies for a good night’s sleep have virtually no negative effects or side effects. This makes them very suitable for people with sleeping problems who do not want to turn to drugs that can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription.
Below you will find a list with all kinds of different sleep problems tips to increase the chance of good and deep sleep.
1. Herbal Tea
Some herbs have soothing properties that can aid your sleep. In addition, herbal tea, especially when you make it yourself, contains no caffeine and therefore does not keep you awake. Tasty herbs to mix into your herbal tea include lavender, chamomile, valerian, and lemon balm. Combine all four for an effective sleep tea.
In the same vein as herbal tea, you also have aromatherapy which can help you sleep well. Aroma diffusers use essential oil derived from plants and herbs. These oils carry various beneficial effects.
For example, lemongrass helps to repel mosquitoes and cedar can remove bad odors from your home. The scent of some of these oils can also help you relax and get into “sleep well” land faster. Good choices include lavender, rosemary, jasmine, and chamomile.
Meditation has a hazy image for some, but that doesn’t have to be true at all. You don’t have to be one with your mind and nature to relax. Choose a quiet place and turn on some calm music or a guided meditation.
You can also sit in silence. From that point on, focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply through your nose, then exhale gently through your mouth. How long you do this is completely up to you, but you will soon notice that your heartbeat and brain calm down. This way you can quickly wish your loved ones a good night’s sleep and travel to dreamland yourself.
4. Sleep well with ASMR
ASMR stands for “Autonomous sensory meridian response” and is not for everyone. With ASMR you listen to sounds that generate relaxing stimuli in you. Many people also notice a tingling from their brain that moves to the rest of their body.
This can lead to a good night’s sleep. If you’re not sure if it’s for you, you can always give it the benefit of the doubt. We recommend that you use headphones or put in earplugs for a better sound experience.
5. No Electronics Use
As we discussed in the first part of this article, electronics can hurt your sleep rhythm. So try to distance yourself from your electronics in small steps. You don’t have to do it all at once.
For example, start by avoiding using electronics in bed. Then take the step that you stop looking at a phone or computer screen 10 minutes before bedtime. Try to extend this time more and more and notice the difference – sleep well!
6. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is an assignment that you can perform in bed and has a very relaxing effect. This will certainly benefit you if you suffer from stress. Promoting your sleep well and deep moments in this way is often very effective!
Lie on your back in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Start by tightening your facial muscles and hold this pose for 3 seconds. Relax your muscles again and move on to the muscles in your neck and tense these for 3 seconds as well.
Do this for each body part, working from top to bottom, ending at your toes. By tightening and relaxing, your muscles will relax more than they did before. If you are still very awake, you can repeat everything until you can sleep well.
7. Keep a good sleep diary
A diary is not only for children but can work very nicely for adults. When you write down everything that has kept you busy that day before going to bed, it takes some tension off your brain. By putting something on paper you help yourself to process these events immediately so that this does not all have to happen during your sleep.
8. Sleep well thanks to melatonin pills
Melatonin is a hormone in your brain that determines your sleep and wake rhythm. If you have trouble falling asleep, you may need a melatonin boost.
Many drugstores and sometimes supermarkets sell supplements for a good night’s sleep with melatonin that helps you fall asleep faster. Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone.
If the above tips don’t work, it might be a good idea to give this a try for the best “sleep tight and deep” results. However, always do this in consultation with a medical specialist, such as your GP or a nutritionist.
Sleep well: tips for a better night’s sleep summarized
However, some people have more trouble falling asleep than others. This may be related to their diet, their level of stress, the medications they are taking, or depression. These factors, therefore, counteract a good night’s sleep.
If you have trouble falling asleep, there are some tips that you can try to relax, so that you can ultimately improve your nightly sleep period. Think of the use of calming herbs and natural sleeping pills, meditation, and reading. Putting away your electronics and performing relaxing exercises can also help you fall asleep.
Do you suspect you have an underlying illness that is causing you to have sleep problems? Then it is important to contact a general practitioner for possible medicines or a medical examination.
Are you curious about more information about improving your sleep? Also read: Improve your night’s sleep quickly.