Studies have shown that humans need at least seven hours of sleep per night. The issue is that the widow in which your cells regenerate the most happens between 10pm-2am at night. If you go to bed much later, you will need more that seven hours to compensate for missing out on the ‘magic slot’ of renewal. However, since many of us don’t have the luxury of hitting the lucky number seven, what external factors can we govern in order to ensure every second of sleep is worth while?
How to get a good night’s rest
Quality supersedes quantity when it comes to sleep; quality only being achieved when we hit REM (rapid eye movement). REM is the fourth stage of rest, after approximately 90 minutes of sleep, which can last from ten minutes to one hour. This is the deepest level of sleep, where our most vivid dreams occur and our body recuperates effectively.
In contrast to our waking disposition, during deep sleep we rely less on our senses, experience a low perception and low responsiveness to our external environment. Solid sleep is the only time we solidify the facts we learnt from today and merge them with our existing knowledge base – a fortification of an evolved skill set. Reaching REM state can be tricky, yet if we adhere to the following essential tips, then you won’t need to count sheep:
1. Turn all the lights off, even the red LED dot that your television projects. Biologically, we are designed to be awake when it’s light outside and drowsy when the sun sets. The darker the room, the less distraction and irritants for your eyes that can only block out so much light through the eye lids.
2. Make sure the heat of the room is conducive to your body temperature. Many hotels are set to 23 degrees centigrade, which means you can wear any item of clothing and still not feel too hot or cold. If you are trying to sleep in a hot climate, then turn the air con off and have a quick cold shower before you go to sleep. Turn the room temperature down by three degrees if you have just come back from a workout.
3. You only realise what silence means when you spend time in a flotation tank. Noise pollution has become so pervasive in large cities, that we become immune to the sounds we hear on a daily basis. However, these interferences keep our subconscious awake when we sleep. Even when we travel to tropical island destinations, it takes a good three days to relax and find a peaceful equilibrium with the rhythm of our new destination.
4. Cut all wi-fi connections, including the main hub. We are told phones should be at least six-foot away from your brain when we sleep, yet the truth is the electromagnetic waves can still interfere with our brains whilst the battery is still in the phone: you know what to do!
5. Pick the best quality bed – don’t be cheap. We spend a third of our life sleeping, so why not make it worthwhile? If you are not sure on what mattress to choose from, then think back to the best sleep you had in a hotel and then go from there. Most hotel chains will inform you who their supplier is, as well as offer to sell you a mattress directly. One of the best rated mattresses from a hotel is the Four Seasons.
You know why sleep is the best thing? It’s the most productive activity a human can do without actually doing anything.