With the unsettling and upsetting international events, many people are finding themselves with higher levels of stress and poor sleep...as if there wasn’t enough to recover from after the pandemic.
Here’s a list of tips and proven methods to enhance sleep and relaxation. Now is the time not to neglect your own self-care. Stay strong and carry on. After all, you never know what you might need to be ready for next!
The importance of deep restful and adequate sleep is widely known now. However the amount of sleep humans get in the modern era seems on the decrease.
We seem to need 7.5-9 hours as an optimum. The sleep cycle average is 90 minutes thus making 6 hours (not enough) 7.5 or 9 hours optimum. Or you can wake during a sleep cycle which can make you feel groggy for a while.
Siesta can be a great way to top up either 30 minutes, or a full 90-minute cycle is recommended. Or again you can wake feeling groggy or disorientated.
Sleep is a fast-track way to feel, perform and even look better. It can help cravings, memory and decrease the risk of disease as we age.
If I said there’s a pill which can make you leaner, increase feel-good hormones, reduce inflammation. You’d take it? This magic bullet is of course sleep.
If you get this right, you’ll be leaner, happier, more relaxed, with better brain function, lower sugar cravings and less longer-term disease risk.
90-minute sleep cycles explained
Sleep cycles are important to understand. The 1st series of cycles is based on physical recovery.
It makes sense as if you can only get 3 hours then you need the GH release for body recovery.
The 2nd series of cycles is based on emotional, memory and cognitive recovery.
Sleep cycles last 90 minutes. So we can see that ideally, we’d have blocks of 6, 7.5 or 9 hours sleep. 8 hours of sleep allows for 7.5 hours of actual sleep, for example.
Waking during a cycle isn’t ideal and can leave you feeling tired for a while.
A 90-minute cycle can be regained later as a power nap or as a 30-minute reset nap.
A 90 min cycle:
Stage 1 - 2-5 mins, muscle relaxation and a loosening of thought, hypnagogic twitching and conscious dreaming
Stage 2 - 20 mins, HR falls, temp drops. Deeper relaxation of thought and sensory detachment. Snoring and loss of consciousness
Stage 3 and 4 - 30 mins, Deep relaxation, delta brain waves. Difficult to wake, causing disorientation. GH secretion and physical repair
REM (paradoxical sleep) - 30 mins
Dreaming, emotional repair, stress management, short term memory
Brief Awakening <5mins is normal don’t worry about this.
Priority of NREM deep sleep for physical recovery.
First 4 hours are most beneficial for recovery.
REM comes later in the night.
Short nights sacrifice REM sleep.
Consequences of alcohol consumption delay restful sleep by 1u/hr . REM is essential for short term memory, stress management and emotional recovery.
90min Rule: waking from REM sleep much easier and orientation quicker. Waking from deep sleep harder
R5 Aminos are widely accepted by customers as their go to sleep support and recovery-based supplement.
A common sleep disorder is to wake with a racing heart between 3-5am. The theory on this is lowered cortisol production via chronic stress causes a drop in blood sugar which leads to an adrenalin response + increase heart rate.
Valerian has a mechanism of action similar to benzodiazepines; however, instead of binding to the gamma subunit like a benzodiazepine, it appears to bind to the beta subunit on the GABA-A receptor instead.
A sleep routine is vital. Engaging in nesting type behaviour, making things cosy, dimming the lights, reading a book and avoiding screens are all excellent ways to increase time to sleep, depth of sleep and sleep duration