If you don’t feel like you’re functioning at 100 percent during the day, it might be because you aren’t sleeping right.
When we think of being healthy, the first thing that comes to mind is often food and exercise, but there’s a major component of health that you might be overlooking: sleep!
We get it, you’re busy. As slammed as you are during the day, it’s tough to get enough rest, especially when you toss and turn all night, only to wake up completely exhausted and feeling as if you only got a couple hours of shut-eye.
But why exactly does this happen? A big part of it has to do with the different cycles of rest that your brain goes through each night. There are five stages of sleep, and it’s essential that you pass through them correctly in order to be fully rested in the morning.
Stage 1: Light Sleep
During this first phase, you’re just getting relaxed. Your muscles and eyes are moving slowly, and it’s easy for you to wake up.
Stage 2: Slow Sleep
Your brain waves are slowing, and your eyes aren’t moving. Stage Two accounts for roughly 50 percent of your sleep cycle.
Stage 3: Extremely Slow Sleep
Remember those brain waves? They are getting even slower…
Stage 4: Deep Sleep
Your muscles are not firing at all, you aren’t moving and your brain waves are moving at a snail’s pace. It’s even more difficult than usual to wake you up, and if I tried it, you wouldn’t take to it very well. You’d probably feel groggy and disoriented. Where am I, anyway?
Stage 5: REM: Rapid Eye Movement Sleep
Things are starting to pick up and get exciting during the grand finale! Your arms and legs are practically paralyzed, while your heart rate and blood pressure are speeding up. As the name suggests, your eyes dart around quickly. This stage should account for 20 percent of your time asleep.
And then… it starts all over again and continues to do so every 90 to 110 minutes.
Smart mattresses are paving the way at the forefront of sleep technology by helping you track and learn your own rest tendencies so that you can not only pinpoint what needs to be fixed but also have your bed adapt to your individual needs and help make those corrections.
If you’re not feeling rested after a night’s sleep, there’s a good chance that you’re not hitting all the sleep stages the way you are supposed to. Bad habits could be wrecking your nighttime routine without you even knowing it. Here are a few common culprits:
Caffeine and Sugar
Are you drinking soft drinks or coffee too close to bedtime? Stimulants like caffeine and sugar can cause insomnia by keeping certain parts of the brain firing rapidly, making it tough to wind down.
Certain medications and decongestants can either keep you awake or suppress your REM, which keeps you from completing your full sleep cycle.
Tobacco and anything else with nicotine can wreak havoc by cutting down your REM time and causing you to wake up every three to four hours as your body seeks more of the addictive substance.
While alcohol is known for making people drowsy, it isn’t the best sleep aid, since it slashes your REM time dramatically, keeping you stuck in a light sleep.
Even extreme temperatures — whether hot or cold — can make it tough to enter into a full cycle, since your body isn’t very good at regulating temperature during REM, and it needs all the help it can get.
The first line of defense is knowing what you’re up against, so try cutting down on some of these common culprits. We bet you’ll feel much better rested!