Sleep 101: How to get better sleep and improve your results
An average person spends around a third of their life sleeping, and there are many good reasons for why we do it. Sleeping well helps you lose weight faster, speed up muscle recovery, better regulate your hormones, improve your skin, reduce hair loss, reduce stress and increase productivity. Let’s go through some of the basics of sleep and how it affects us.
Phases of sleep
There are three major phases of sleep: REM, light and deep sleep. This is a fairly typical night of sleep:
Deep sleep helps you recover from the day. While in deep sleep, your body releases growth hormones that help muscle and immune system recovery. This phase of sleep is also crucial for remembering information you learned that day.
REM sleep is critical for building long term memory. It also helps build connections between the bits of information that your deep sleep helps you remember, which is necessary for any creative activity. If you want to feel rested the next day, REM is essential.
How long should I sleep?
It depends on your age, gender and genetics, but 7-9 hours is what most experts recommend.
Importance of Sleep
Sleep helps us with restoration, energy conservation, brain processing and memory consolidation. But that’s not all.
Having a bad night of sleep will affect your hormone levels and you’ll be more tempted to dig into starchy carbs the next day. Be aware of this and stay away from carbs, if you want to avoid weight gain.
Sleeping well also helps your body produce Collagen 1, which keeps your skin looking young.
Read more on how sleep affects your hormones.
Tips for better sleep
- Go to sleep at more or less the same time every night
- Make your room dark, quiet and cool
- Increase light exposure when you wake up
- Don’t drink caffeine within 6 hours of going to sleep
- Go to sleep early to maximize deep sleep
- Have a glass of cold water before hitting the sack
- Invest in a good mattress
- Try to relax before going to sleep, turn off your computer, TV and phone; Read a book
- Eat well and exercise regularly
- Avoid eating sugar, fats and spicy food before going to bed
- Avoid alcohol before going to bed
- Track your sleep and learn about your patterns
- If you nap, do it early in the day
- Have “Calm” magnesium powder before you go to bed