We spend one third of our lives sleeping, but what really happens to us when we sleep? A good night’s sleep is just as important as eating healthy food or exercising. Good quality sleep has plenty of benefits, including protecting your physical and mental health.
This post will guide you through the universe of our dreams and give you a few tips on how to sleep better.
A Sneak Peek at the Dream World
When we sleep our bodies rest and our minds are busy laying down memories and restoring daytime mental functioning. In detail, here’s what’s happening to your body while you sleep:
- Temperature control and energy use (metabolism).
- Keeping the immune system working.
- Controlling brain function and re-establishing memory.
- Keeping the heart healthy.
- Stimulating growth in children.
- Regulating appetite and weight and controlling blood glucose levels.
Being sleep deprived can lead to serious issues such as tiredness, headaches, memory loss, anxiety and chronic health problems including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
The recommended amount of sleep hours depends on your age. Here are some general guidelines, which will help you understand if you and your family are getting enough rest:
- Infants aged 4–12 months: 12–16 hours a day (including naps)
- Children aged 1–2 years: 11–14 hours a day (including naps)
- Children aged 3–5 years: 10–13 hours a day (including naps)
- Children aged 6–13 years: 9–11 hours a day
- Teens aged 14–18 years: 8–10 hours a day
- Adults aged 18–64 years: 7–9 hours a day
- Adults aged 65+ years: 7–8 hours a day
5 Tips to Sleep Better
- Sleep at regular times: Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This will set your body’s internal clock and optimise the quality of your sleep.
- Wind down: Have a warm bath to rest. Reading a book or listening to a podcast relaxes the mind by distracting it.
- Create a relaxing room: Make your bedroom “sleeping-friendly”. You can use Lavender, dōTERRA Serenity™ or Vetiver in your diffuser as these essential oils are calming and relaxing. Don’t sleep next to your phone or use it before going to sleep. If possible, get thick curtains to block any light. Keep the room temperature around 18◦C-24ºC, not too hot or too cold.
- Don’t eat late: Avoid big meals, alcohol and drinking too much liquid in the evening.
- Exercise regularly: People who work out regularly sleep better at night. However, you shouldn’t work out late in the evening, close to your sleep time.
Did You Know?
Did you know that there are five different stages of sleep, each one with different characteristics?
Stage 1: Light sleep. Transition between sleep and waking
Stage 2: Light sleep. Brief dreams
Stage 3: Deep sleep. Body temperature falls. Hard to wake up
Stage 4: Deep sleep. Body temperature falls further. Brain’s use of energy decreases
Stage 5: Rapid eye movement (REM)