One of the most important activities in our day is sleep. It is as important as food, water, and air and very much an active period in our day. Scientists are still looking into how and why our bodies are programmed for sleep, but what we do understand is sleep’s critical function and why we need it for optimal health and well-being. In today’s Wellness Wednesday we talked about sleep, but more so how to refresh our sleep. Watch a recording of of it right here.
For university students, good sleep may sometimes be difficult to achieve. You may find yourself pulling all-nighters, feeling groggy during the day, or even find yourself constantly waking up during the night. While studying and ensuring assignments are turned in on time are important for university students, so is sleep!
There are two basic types of sleep; non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). Sleep begins with NREM which occurs within minutes or even seconds of falling asleep. NREM is marked by stages 1 to 4, with stage 2 being repeated before finally entering REM sleep. REM is usually achieved about 90 minutes after the onset of sleep. REM usually lasts only a short time at first but lengthens with each cycle and can last up to an hour.
So why should you care or even invest in sleep resources? Sleep helps to improve our memory, and decreases stress and anxiety. It is vital for both physical neurological reasons. Sleep helps to repair tissues throughout the body and helps to strengthen our immune system. It’s important to remember that quality sleep improves the brain’s ability to consolidate and process factual information. With good sleep, the brain can better collect and store memories, which is helpful not just in our academic lives, but in all aspects. What would happen if we didn’t get enough sleep? Well, lack of sleep has often been linked to decreased memory, poor immune function, cardiovascular disease, impaired judgement and depression among other health issues.
Now you’ve had the what, asked the why, so here’s the how. As we continue to social distance and stay at home, it is important to keep healthy sleep habits. Things such as alcohol, caffeine, and even technology can interfere in our quality of sleep. Here are three easy measures you can take right now to refresh your sleep.
- Utilize technology
Sleep apps, circadian alarm clocks, or even white noise devices can help you get a more restful sleep. They can help with logging sleep, doing meditation before bed, and even mimic natural sunlight to wake you up more naturally.
- Keep a sleep journal or routine
A sleep routine is a series of actions you can perform each night before going to bed. These actions can help prepare your mind and body for rest. A sleep routine can help you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep during the night. Your routine is unique to you! Make it yours! Some examples of things you can include are creating a cozy environment, making sure your room is at the right temperature, quiet and dark, reading a chapter from a book or using a diffuser.
- Try Mindfulness meditation
Studies show that mindfulness meditation is helpful for sleep because it evokes a relaxation response by breaking your train of thought. This technique involves focusing on your breathing and bringing your mind to the present, focusing on the now rather than the past or future. Mindfulness can be practiced at any time of the day and doesn’t have to be done for a long period of time. Even a minute or two can help in practicing mindfulness.
So what are you doing to refresh your sleep?
If you’d like more information on how to refresh your sleep make sure to sign up for our Refresh Sleep email-based program by midnight on April 22, 2020. Sign up with this link: https://tinyurl.com/r78xoee