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10 tips for better sleep

Insomnia is a global epidemic that is increasingly spreading, but whose risks we too often underestimate.

For this reason, today, we want to give you 10 tips to sleep better and improve the quality of your life.

You must know that the world no longer sleeps! Said like this it may seem like a catastrophic affirmation, but the ever-increasing amount of work, the new technologies (smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and beautiful company) that create the so-called "technostress" they prevent people from resting regeneratively.

To all this we add the communication channels and social networks active 24 hours a day, which has meant that people in every corner of the planet can no longer afford to sleep or rather to rest peacefully.

In fact, as of today 45% of the world's population suffers from insomnia, it is not just a Swiss or Italian problem, but a global one that threatens our health and quality of life.

To aggravate the situation also the sad statistic according to which 25% of people who start driving admitted that they fell asleep at least once behind the wheel.

How does sleep affect our health? We recommend you stay until the end for discover the benefits of a truly restorative sleep.

Before discovering our 10 tips for better sleep, we need some clarifications on which our advice is based.

How many hours of sleep do you really need to feel good?

The optimal hours of sleep for our body are determined by age, genetics and the quality of sleep itself, throughout life many studies state that the average sleep duration for an adult is about 7-9 hours.

To be more precise, in the following table you will find, with reference to age groups, the recommended hours of sleep.

Age range Recommended hours of sleep
Neonate 0-3 months 14-17 hours
Neonate 4-11 months 12-15 hours
Little child 1 2-years 11-14 hours
Nursery school 3 5-years 10-13 hours
School age 6 13-years 9-11 hours
Teen 14 17-years 8-10 hours
Young adults 18 25-years 7-9 hours
Adult 26 64-years 7-9 hours
Senior citizens 65 years or older 7-8 hours

What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?

The consequences that sleep loss or not sleeping well can have can be recorded throughout the body, the first to occur can be: cognitive deficits, learning and memory disorders.

Furthermore, sleep deprivation it can compromise performance and post-physical activity recovery, mood, increase the sense of fatigue and decrease energy; While the poor quality of our sleep it can affect our decision-making processes, the speed and accuracy of our performance.

What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?

Does sleep affect memory?

As we said earlier, yes, the strong correlation between sleep and memory. If it is true that the loss of sleep degrades the body at all levels, the first symptoms that appear are precisely the cognitive deficits and memory impairment.

Here's how our brain stores information: during the day everything we hear and receive is temporarily deposited in an area of ​​the brain called the hippocampus, considered a passing memory.

Since the hippocampus' capacity to store information is not infinite, a periodic "reset" is necessary to prevent new information from "overwriting" the old.

This task is entrusted to sleep, you must know that while we sleep (therefore in the absence of new information) our brain processes the contents of the hippocampus by storing useful information in the frontal neocortex and eliminates superfluous ones going to consolidate our long-term memory, in this way the hippocampus is freed and is ready to face the following day managing to capture all the necessary information.

As we have seen, a good quality and quantity of sleep is useful not only for "freeing" space from the hippocampus, but also for better integrating the new information acquired during the day with what we already had in our stable memory.

How many stages of sleep are there?

There are basically two stages of sleep: the slow wave sleep (SWS) phase also called not REM (NREM) is the deeper one and it is usually predominant during the first part of our night's rest and decreases in intensity and duration as the hours go by.

SWS is opposed to deep sleep REM phase (i.e. rapid eye movement), less deep and increasingly intense and extensive towards the end of the sleep period.

You should know that you normally go through multiple sleep cycles during the night going from NREM to REM in about 90 minutes.

Do not you believe it try this exercise: decide the time you want to wake up for example 6,30 in the morning calculate backwards, cycles of 90 min and consider 7-9 hours of sleep, therefore: 6.30 – 05.00 – 3.30 – 02.00 – 00.30 – 23.00 - 21.30, you will have to go to bed at 21.30 or alle 23.00.

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Is the afternoon nap good for you?

A nap is often considered synonymous with laziness. Nothing could be more wrong.

Hundreds of experiments have revealed the enormous benefits associated with even very short periods of sleep, so closing your eyes for a few minutes each day will help you develop a stronger memory, be more alert, improve your reaction time and improve your productivity.

Why do I often feel sleepy during the day?

Our immune system promotes tiredness and drowsiness when our body has to recover from an infection, it is a defense mechanism put in place to conserve energy. This "mechanism" is also activated when we introduce a dysfunctional food such as GMO or irradiated food into our body.

So post-prandial drowsiness (especially after lunch) unless you have accumulated a heavy sleep debt, can be caused by a virus, a bacterium or a dysfunctional food that activates an immune response in our body.

10 tips for better sleep

Now, after having discovered more about sleep, how it affects our body, how many hours we should sleep on average and why we should never deprive ourselves of it, it's time to read the reasons why you are on this article, here are the 10 tips to sleep better:

10 tips for better sleep
  1. Try to go to bed at same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, even on the weekend, possibly sleep from 22.00 to 6.00
  2. Make sure that the room where you sleep is completely dark, quiet, relaxing and with a temperature that tends to be cool 15 to 18 degrees.
  3. Move all electronic devices away (eg. TVs, computers, smartphones) out of bed while you sleep e turn them off for at least 30 min. before bedtime.
  4. Avoid eating too big a dinner, nor go to sleep hungry.
  5. Do not drink alcohol or stimulant-energizing drinks (e.g. energy drinks, coffee, tea) in the evening.
  6. Avoid intense sports and expose yourself to intense artificial lights in the last hours of the day.
  7. Fai a hot bath 90 min. before you get under the covers, lowers the internal temperature of the body more easily in the following hours, consequently improving the quality of your sleep.
  8. Drink herbal tea with a relaxing effect (e.g. lemon balm, linden, hawthorn, passion flower, valerian, hemp sativa)
  9. Read a paper book in bed, before bedtime or Schedule a relaxing activity like meditation or deep breathing, with a warm and relaxing indirect light like that coming from salt lamps.
  10. It integrates micronutrients with an anxiolytic-calming effect (e.g. magnesium, hawthorn, saffron, Vit. B)

In conclusion, sleep: brain detox

We have just seen the 10 tips for sleeping better, but the best way to conclude this article is to reiterate a simple but often underestimated concept: sleep is essential for the health of our brain and its functioning.

Indeed, a good sleep increases attention, promotes concentration, increases emotional control, promotes creativity, reduces anxiety and depression and is essential for memory and for its consolidation.

You must know that brain cells produce a sort of "toxic waste" which, if allowed to accumulate, has negative effects on thinking, behavior and mood. To prevent this from happening, the body regularly releases a special cleaning fluid called 'cerebrospinal fluid' into the brain tissue which removes unwanted waste and carries it to the liver for the detoxification process.

The brain cells contract during the night and the space between them increases by about 60%. This allows a large amount of cerebrospinal fluid to flow rapidly through the brain, carrying away toxins very efficiently.

So the suggestion we can give you is: to live a healthy, healthy and qualitatively better life, have a good night's sleep following our instructions!


Sources:

  1. World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM)
  2. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2019 Feb; 54:120–126. Published online 2018 Oct 23. doi: 10.1016 / j.conb.2018.10.006
  3. J Therm Biol. 2018 Dec;78:192-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2018.09.012. Epub 2018 Oct 5
  4. Nat Rev Immunol review. November 2019; 19 (11): 702-715 .
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