We all have learned the hard way that sleep is important at some point in our lives. It promotes things like better brain function, hormone balance, and burning of fat. These are all important aspects to biohackers. You spend about a third of your life sleeping, so why not improve your habits? Try one or two of the hacks here and see how you feel. First, what are the stages of sleep, anyway?
Stages of Sleep
Encompassing both stages one and two, light sleep occurs as soon as seven minutes after you shut your eyes. In the early period, you can be woken quite easily. Your brain starts to release alpha and theta waves. In this stage, you may encounter sudden muscle contractions or the sudden feeling of falling. These are known as hypnagogic hallucinations and are common.
This involves stage three and stage four of sleep. In the beginning of deep sleep the brain begins to produce delta waves. These are the slowest brain waves produced during sleep. Stage three is when events like sleepwalking, sleep talking, or night terrors take place. If you are roused in state four, you will feel disoriented for a few minutes. The brain also does most of its repairs and restoration in stage four.
This is the magical state of sleep that determines whether or not you feel rested the next morning. The more REM sleep you get, the more restored you feel. In this state, the brain mimics waking activity. Rapid Eye Movement is aptly named as your eyes will move at a quickened pace from side to side. This often means that you are reacting to a vivid dream that is taking place.
There is a lot of pressure and stress in everyday life. Chances are, your brain has a lot to think about. Creating and sticking to a routine that allows your brain to wind down before bed each night can make a huge difference. Once you have your wind down routine established, your body will begin to understand that soon it will be time for bed. Simple things like drinking decaffeinated tea, reading a book,and taking a warm bath can relax you and help prepare you for a restful night.
Make your room as dark as possible
According to the National Sleep Foundation, artificial light sends the wrong message to your brain and keeps you awake by suppressing melatonin. Not only will this make it more difficult for you to fall asleep, but it also makes it more difficult to stay asleep too. Artificial light includes screens, so makes sure to limit the use of your devices before bedtime if you have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. If you feel like you’ve tried everything to make your room dark, but light still bleeds in then you might want to invest in some blackout curtains.
Avoid the midnight snack
Sleeping with a full stomach can really affect your sleep. Avoid eating at least two hours before bedtime, but don’t feel obligated to go to sleep hungry. Being too hungry when trying to sleep can also disrupt your sleep, so it is important to find a healthy balance between the two. If you start feeling a twinge of hunger before you begin your bedtime routine, there are nutritionist approved late night snacks that you can eat.
Drink sleepytime tea
There is a wide variety of teas that are available that can help you fall asleep better. Sans caffeine, these teas include ingredients that can help you fall and stay asleep. Valerian tea can be a very useful sleep aid, but use with a bit of caution as it can have some adverse effects. Valerian root can also become addictive and interact with other medications, so if you are considering this you should consult a doctor before. There are some alternatives such as chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm tea that can also help you fall asleep.
Improved Sleep = Improved Life
If you hesitant to try sleeping pills or other aids, that’s understandable. Some of them can become addictive and you don’t want to be too dependent on a pill to get quality rest. A natural sleep habit is what you want to start forming. You will also start to realize that as you get more quality sleep, you’ll need less of it.