Healthy sleep sounds abstract at first. Because when we think of our sleep, we don't associate it with a conscious process, but rather with something over which we have little influence. But there are many factors that influence the depth and quality of our sleep. Alcohol influence and caffeine consumption are obvious disruptive factors, but there is far more that determines whether we get restful sleep.
What happens when we sleep?
If you think you only dream one dream a night, you're sorely mistaken. That's because sleep is dynamic. On average, a healthy adult has between three and five sleep cycles per night, with each cycle lasting an average of 90 minutes. There are four distinct sleep phases within these cycles: light sleep, deep sleep/slow wave sleep (SWS), rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and waking phases.
As soon as we fall asleep, we enter the light sleep phase, which then transitions into the deep sleep phase after about 50 minutes, where our muscles are regenerated. Next, we slide into the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase, which is essential for our brain to recover and accounts for about 22% each night. This is also the part of our sleep where our brain dreams and thus reflects impressions, but also processes conscious and unconscious thoughts. Emotional involvement and the nature of the last activities before bedtime can also play a major role. By the way, dreams in the first REM phases usually have more current connections to what we have recently experienced than dreams in later REM phases.
How can we optimize our sleep?
There are some lucky people out there who have never had to struggle with falling asleep problems & co, however, unfortunately, this is far from true for all of us. Whether it's the night before an important presentation, a sumptuous meal just before bed, or completely knocked out after a bar night with girlfriends; the chances of a restful night are not too good in all scenarios. But you can definitely take precautions in the form of sleep hygiene.
Optimize sleep: Practical advice for better sleep
There are many ways to improve sleep. Sleep hygiene can help alleviate problems falling asleep and other sleep disorders. Some of the most effective strategies include:
Regularity: try to always go to bed and get up at the same time to get your body into a rhythm.
Sleep environment: make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool (about 18° C). Avoid electronic devices such as smartphones and televisions in the bedroom.
Relaxation: before going to bed, it helps to engage in relaxing activities, such as reading or yoga, to calm your body and mind. Avoid blue light from electronic devices.
Diet: Avoid heavy meals before bedtime and reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake. The last coffee should be drunk about 6-8 hours before bedtime.
Exercise: Regular physical activity can help improve sleep, but be careful not to exercise too late in the evening.
If you have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night, see a doctor to clarify a possible sleep disorder, because permanently disturbed sleep can have far-reaching and serious consequences!
For sleep professionals: Lucid dreams
Lucid dreaming, also known as lucid dreaming, is a state in which you are aware of your dreams while dreaming. This ability can be learned and offers a variety of exciting possibilities, including overcoming nightmares, exploring new worlds and experiences, and solving problems using the creative potential of the subconscious mind.
However, persistent sleep problems should not be taken lightly. If you have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night, you should consult a doctor to clarify a possible sleep disorder. After all, permanently disturbed sleep can have far-reaching and serious health consequences.
In this article, we have compiled some basic information and tips on the subject of healthy sleep and sleep hygiene. With the right approach, everyone can improve the quality of their sleep and thus contribute to a better quality of life.