Getting enough sleep is crucial to your wellbeing. The problem is that all of us know that we skimp on sleep due to the stress of our daily lives. It is hard to handle everything that needs to get done in such a short space, meaning we often sacrifice our sleep-time, saving it up for the weekend or just going without altogether. However, with more sleep, we can be more productive, both physically and mentally. So how should you be making the best of your sleeping time?
Many recent studies have shown us new facts about sleeping which may help to revolutionize the way we sleep, making us less anxious, more productive, and generally healthier.
Non-sleepers are big snacker
A recent study carried out by the University of Alabama looked at sleeping and snacking. They found that those who tended to snack more in the daytime tended to sleep less than the recommended 8 hours a night. This shows a new link between lack of sleep and obesity. It is not clear whether snacking less is caused by more sleep, or more sleep is caused by less snacking, but when energy levels are lower, the body tends to become sleepier, so maybe try laying off the late-night snacks for your sleep-health and your waistline.
Light pollution ruins sleep
Light pollution tends to be far worse in the city than in rural areas. Bearing this in mind, a recent study by Stanford over around 16000 people showed that 26% of people who lived in cities tended to be displeased with their sleep, noting that they felt dissatisfied after a night of sleep, waking up in a tired state. However, only 16% of rural sleepers said the same thing. This shows that light seeping in through the windows is keeping city dwellers awake (also perhaps noise pollution). Try using blackout and noise muffling curtains.
Eating heavy interrupts sleep
When you go to sleep, the idea is to rest the whole body. However, if you have eaten a heavy dinner late in the evening, you will struggle to sleep as the body needs to digest that food, as recently shown by a Turkish university, the body goes into a high-stress mode. As the body is trying to sleep, the brain starts to switch off making digestion much slower. With this in mind, it now takes longer to digest the same food, making it harder for your body to fully switch off. This is the same reason it is said not to eat cheese before bed as it gives you nightmares. This is because dairy products are hard for the body to digest and the instinctual ‘fear’ part of the brain is the last to turn off, leading to nightmares!
Sex aids sleep
Having sex before bed can help you sleep around 6 minutes longer according to studies. This is because it relaxes the body while also using up spare energy.
You can catch up on sleep
While sometimes you feel that the weekends don’t allow you to catch up on the sleep you missed, they actually do. If you miss out during the week, having 2 full night’s sleep of around 9 hours will help the body-clock to regain lost time. However, you need to go to bed sober for this to be fully effective and there must be no disturbance in the night!
It will reduce anxiety and help the muscles unwind so you can drift off into a relaxed, welcoming slumber.