How does sleep work | Bedshed
Sleep & Health

How does sleep work

How does sleep work

Sleep. We all do it. But how much do we know about it, really? 

The truth is, very little. If you’ve ever kept a dream journal, you might know that you dream about your teeth falling out a lot (it’s one the most common thing to occur in our dreams, according to this 2018 study). You might have even read about deep sleep and REM or learned about your circadian rhythm, but all that knowledge would still really only scratch the surface because there’s a lot we simply don’t know about sleep.

Scientists are still busy studying it and discovering how it all works - but there’s still a lot that we can tell you about it! Taking the time to understand sleep can provide some important insights on how to do it well, so read on below if sleeping better is a priority for you.

What is sleep?

Sleep is a natural biological process that is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. It is a state of rest where the body and brain undergo various restorative processes, including the consolidation of memories and the repair of damaged tissues. 

Consistent lack of sleep can lead to problems like illness, fatigue, decreased cognitive function, and mood disorders - so prioritising quality sleep is a must!

How does your body regulate sleep?

Your sleep-wake cycle is regulated by your body's internal circadian clock, which is influenced by external factors like light exposure and daily routines. 

Your brain also produces a hormone called melatonin, which helps you feel sleepy at night and alert during the day. Melatonin production is regulated by the circadian rhythm and is influenced by exposure to light. Additionally, the body's temperature and metabolic rate decrease during sleep, allowing the body to rest and repair. 

Certain things like stress, medication, and your diet may disrupt your body's ability to regulate sleep, leading to difficulty falling or staying asleep. Regular exercise, establishing a consistent sleep routine, and creating a sleep-conducive environment can all help support healthy sleep regulation.

What happens when we sleep

When you sleep, your body cycles through two phases of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. These cycles repeat approximately every 80 to 100 minutes, with four to six cycles occurring each night. 

Non-REM sleep can be divided into three stages, each with a different pattern of brain activity. Stage 1 is a transition period between wakefulness and sleep, while stage 2 is when you're asleep. Stage 3, or deep sleep, is characterised by slow-wave activity and usually occurs more frequently early in the night. 

During REM sleep, the brain is highly active, and dreaming is common. Your muscles are typically relaxed during REM sleep to prevent acting out your dreams. REM sleep occurs more frequently later in the night but is reduced in colder temperatures as the body struggles to regulate temperature during this stage. 

During these different stages of sleep, our body carries out different functions like repairing and growing tissue, consolidating memories, and regulating our hormones. 

Sleep is also vital for restoring energy, and during REM, the body works to recharge the immune system, so we're better able to fight off infections and diseases.

Common sleep disruptors

There are many things that can disrupt your sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. One of the most common disruptors is stress, as worrying or feeling anxious can keep your mind active when you should be winding down for sleep. Environmental factors like noise, light, and temperature can also have a big impact on sleep quality, as can certain medications or substances like caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine. Medical conditions like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome can also interfere with sleep, as can irregular work schedules, partner disturbance, and jet lag. By identifying the factors that disrupt your sleep, you can take steps to minimise their impact and create a better environment for restful sleep. At Bedshed, we offer a variety of sleep solutions to help you get a good night's rest. Visit us in store, or browse our range of mattresses, bedroom furniture and manchester online.

 Tips for a better night of sleep

There are several things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep to make sure you wake up feeling refreshed and energised, here’s some quick tips:

Establish a consistent sleep schedule

Create a relaxing bedtime routine

Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable, quiet, and cool. If you’re a hot sleeper, we’d recommend that opt for a mattress designed to keep you feeling cooler at night

Avoid using electronic devices or watching TV in bed

Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine

Exercise regularly to promote healthy sleep

By following these tips and adopting healthy sleep habits, you can improve the quality and duration of your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. For more tips, check out our article about how to achieve deep sleep or visit us in store to speak to one of our bedroom experts about setting your bedroom up for bedtime success!

Tags: Tips Health

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