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The importance of a good night’s sleep
The human body needs sleep to recover physically from the previous day's efforts, but sleep is also needed mentally. During sleep, you process the impressions and information you have gained during the day. A good night's sleep is more about the quality of sleep than the number of hours slept. Stress during the day, persistent worrying and the inability to fall asleep can significantly reduce sleep quality.
The quality of your sleep is essential for a good night’s sleep
During sleep, you go through several sleep stages, including light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep. During deep sleep, the body and brain get a chance to recover and REM sleep (also called dream sleep) is essential for human emotional recovery. During the dream phase, data is processed and certain information will be stored in our long-term memory. Going through a series of all sleep stages is called the sleep cycle. With a good night's sleep, you will go through this cycle about four to five times a night. If you lie awake often, there is a chance that you will not complete the sleep stages that play a major role in physical and mental recovery, or not go through them often enough to wake up rested. Sleeping too long, on the other hand, can also have a negative effect. Therefore, if you want to sleep longer once, it is advisable to sleep for about an extra hour and a half. In this time, you can add one sleep cycle to your sleep.
Prepare your body with a regular sleep ritual
If falling asleep is difficult for you, it may help to develop a regular sleep ritual for yourself. By switching off your screens no later than half an hour before you go to bed and having a cup of tea, reading a book or doing relaxation exercises, your body will be many times calmer when you get into bed than when you are still busy with work, have been exercising fanatically or have done other activities that demand a lot from your body or mind. What your sleep routine will look like is entirely up to you. Do try to make it a regular habit to reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep over time.
Stress as a cause of wakefulness
If you experience a lot of stress, this may prevent you from getting to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping more often, you may suffer from a variety of symptoms. Examples include irritability, hormone fluctuations and exhaustion. If your sleep problems take on a chronic form, this can lead to dangerous situations. Scientific research has shown that the reduction in responsiveness with chronic sleep deprivation is similar to the effect drinking alcohol has on responsiveness. Should your sleep problem become severe, it is advisable to discuss this with your GP.
Here's what you can do to improve your sleep
What you can do to sleep better depends partly on the cause of your poor sleep. If you are busy until late in the evening, a sleep ritual may offer a solution. Are you worried about something? Then it can be a great relief to talk to someone about it. If you find that you do lie awake for a very long time, feel free to get out of bed to break any worries and do something relaxing. To support feeling relaxed, taking nutritional supplements can be a good move. 5HTP stimulates the production of melatonin and serotonin, so you will feel sleepier. Dr Becky Perfect Sleep can also seriously contribute to a better night's sleep. Ingredients like lemon balm and chamomile make you feel calmer and if you suffer from tension, Positive Mind might be the right choice for you to get better sleep.