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6 hacks for a healthy, restorative sleep

restorative sleep

Sleeping is supposed to restore your energy and this is why we sleep when tired. What happens when you are still feeling tired after waking up? You did not have restorative sleep. Restorative sleep is that experience that sleep has been sufficiently refreshing and reenergizing. Sufficient and restorative sleep is critical for optimum physical and mental health. Ideally, we experience four stages of sleep, they are:

Stage 1(N1):

This stage begins the sleep process and lasts for as little as 5 minutes into sleep. It is the lightest sleep and it’s easy to wake up at this stage

Stage 2 (N2)

 This is a period of light sleep before you move into a deeper sleep. At this stage, it is fairly easy to be awoken from sleep. According to the American foundation, people spend 50% of their sleep time in this stage, it is the longest-lasting phase of sleep. In this phase, you become less aware of your surroundings, your temperature drops, your eye movements stop and your breathing becomes slow.

Stage 3 (N3&N4)

You have entered deep sleep, during which your body performs maintenance and repair all the way down to the cellular level. This is the phase where sleep becomes refreshing and restorative. Specifically, your body cells start to repair and rebuild, and your immunity is strengthened to fight illnesses and infections. In this period of sleep, noises and activities around you may not wake you up from sleep.

Stage 5(REM sleep)

 Rapid eye movement (REM) is the stage where you begin to dream. This stage begins approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep. Mental processes such as the storage of information and memories occur at this phase of sleep.

When you don’t get enough sleep, or consistently experience interruptions of this stages, you will struggle with the following:

Remembering information

Making rational decisions

Handling situations and proffering solutions

Learning and concentration

Creativity

These stages interact to give you a restorative sleep. While stages 1 and 2 contribute little to refreshing and restoring our bodies and minds, stage 3(Deep sleep) enhances your physical wellbeing whereas stage 4 (REM) is geared towards optimum mental functioning.

These tips will help you have a healthy, restorative sleep:

  • Go to bed early

Sleep is not a waste of time and going to bed early is not a sign of unproductivity as most people wrongly think. You should practice giving sleep a top priority every day. The night of time in which you sleep makes the difference in terms of the quality and quantity of sleep you get. Consistently go to bed and wake up at the same time, this will help your body adapt to a sleep pattern. While there may not be a perfect time to lie in, however, if you hit the bed very late, say 3 am, you will most likely experience a reduction in deep, restorative sleep which may leave you disoriented the next day.  Read also: How healthy sleep set up for success

  • Avoid things that disrupt your sleep

 Frequent bathroom trips, exposure to phones, televisions, computers, gaming systems and other gadgets that are stimulating and disruptive can ruin your ability to have restorative sleep. Also, some people share the bedroom with their pets. Most pet owners, 53% of 60% surveyed reported that their pets disrupt their sleep. So, it’s advisable you remove your pets from the bedroom if it interrupts your sleep. Again, eliminate other things that distract you, these include work activities that end in your sleep time.

  • Do not eat everything and anything in the evening

If you want to have restorative sleep, you must control your food habit. There are foods that sabotage your sleep resulting in a non-restorative sleep. Also, minimize the intake of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Specifically, do not take drinks such as coffee, tea, chocolate, ice cream, yoghurt and some carbonated drinks close to bedtime.

  • Create an appealing sleep environment

Make sure your sleep environment is enchanting-calm, cool, dark and cosy. It should be all about sleep. By keeping a cool room, your body drifts to dreamland easily. Besides, a dark and quiet room minimizes disruptions that may wake you up. This will help you have a better sleep.

  • Do not procrastinate sleep

You must learn to prioritize sleep every day. Many people are culprits of revenge bedtime procrastination and this affects the ability to get sufficient sleep. Too often, we steal into our sleep time by engaging in pleasurable activities in a bid to have “me” time. This may seem rewarding but will result in non-restorative sleep.

  • Use a quality mattress & pillow

A comfortable mattress makes a huge difference between a good night rest and a bad one. Interestingly, you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality mattress and pillow. If your current mattress is not comfortable. you can swap it for a brand new one.  It is important to buy your mattress from brands that allow you to test it for a period. This will help you ascertain if the mattress is comfortable and supportive to you.

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