When we think about improving our wellbeing, we usually only consider our diet and exercise. But what about sleep? It is amazing to think that sleep gets such little attention, especially as we feel so good after sleeping well. In fact, sleep is the basis of good health and the foundation of overall wellness.
Scientific studies show that better quality sleep can improve our life in many areas, such as: our immune system, energy levels, concentration, physical restoration and the rate at which you learn things. However, many of us are not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night. The reasons for this are varied, the main ones being stress, physical discomfort and inferior bedding/mattress quality. Do you wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep?
Do you have any muscular discomforts anywhere? How tired or otherwise do you get during the day? When assessing your sleeping patterns it is important to look at a number of elements. An impertinent question to ask! But what do you do in bed? Read, watch TV, eat breakfast, and catch up on e-mails?
All these activities send messages to your brain to be active in bed, not restful. So reserve your bed for sleep. Next take a look at your mattress - it's one household item that often gets neglected. Does it provide
the support you need? Is there any discomfort, which is stopping you falling asleep or waking you up in the middle of the night? What is the mattress made of? Does it contain dreaded interior springing? Many materials used in standard mattresses can affect body temperatures and perspiration levels.
Human sleep has been described as a succession of five recurring stages:
Stage 1 is when we experience drowsiness and may last for around ten minutes.
Stage 2 is a period of light sleep lasting about 50 minutes. It is accompanied by a decrease in temperature and heat rate as the body prepares itself for deep sleep.
Stages 3 & 4 each last about 10 minutes. They are both periods of deep sleep, with stage 4 being more intense.
Stage 5 is characterized by rapid eye movements (REM) and can last for about 20 minutes. It is accompanied by an increase in heart rate and respiration. Breathing becomes more erratic, while the fingers, face and legs may twitch. Intense dreaming occurs during REM sleep as a result of heightened cerebral activity.
The first cycle usually lasts for about 100 minutes; then, each subsequent cycle takes longer as its respective REM stage extends. Therefore during a typical night, a person may experience 400 - 500 minutes of sleep.
In my opinion, armed with all this information, it is important to invest in a good bed and mattress. New ground breaking advances in sleep science have contributed to develop new technologies in the anufacturing of that important bed and mattresses.
Wake up feeling sprightly, fresh and able to 'leap' out of bed without any aches or discomforts to cope easily with full, active and busy days without that tired, lack of energy feeling that can creep up on one during the day.