Sleep is great, isn’t t?
It’s the universal sign of ‘You’ve been a boss today. Take some time off. Rest. You’ve earned it’
Or, in my instance ‘What the fuck are you doing!?Slow the fuck down, you psycho!!!’
However you put your head to rest, sleep is an inevitability. Our brains need it in order to function properly and to help catalog everything we’ve done in the day.
In times of high work you may think that you can stave off the inevitable and put sleep at bay, but sleep often has ways of proving you wrong.
And why would you want to delay sleep, really?The bedroom is a space where many amazing things happen and sleep is certainly high up on the list.
What’s more, if you neglect your much needed nap time you may find yourself unintentionally suffering in other elements of life.
Let’s get in to why.
What Is Sleep?
Sleep is period of time where our bodies and minds rest with our eyes closed and a lack of noticeable consciousness. At least, that’s what most people would think when considering sleep.
In reality, sleep is a time of immense n activity, where nerve-signalling chemicals (neurotransmittors) switch off our sense of being awake while the body and mind go bout the necessary processes of physical and mental recovery.
As it stands, science recognizes five stages of sleep that help facilitate this: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement). These stages progress gradually, with stage 2 taking up about 50% of our time, REM 20%, and the other stages varying.
Stage 1 is the light sleep that you’d expect just as you’re drifting and REM is the time where slow brain waves take the lead creating deep sleep, no eye movement and a lack of muscle activity.
If someone is awakened from REM adjustment is very hard and leads to a groggy feeling for quite some time afterwards. REM is a very important part of the sleep cycle.
How Many Hours?
The expected percentages of different sleep cycles may be rather precise, but people are still generally debating exactly how much sleep is needed.
Chances are you’ll have at least one friend who brags about how they can ‘get by’ regularly on 4 hours a night. Others are hopeless without 10. I get about 6 (which, as my body likes to remind me, isn’t fucking enough), and Mr Peaches tends to get 7-8 (which seems to work for him as long as he can nap during the day).
Initial REM periods take about 70 to 90 minutes after we’ve fallen asleep to kick in to action, and a complete sleep cycle takes 90 to 110 minutes, but our bodies need more than just a single cycle.
REM can also be interrupted by various external factors, which may impact sleep.
On average most adults tend to need 7 to 8 hours sleep in order to feel most rested and have enough energy for the day. This can vary (in a 5hr-10hr time frame) but in general you’ll function much better with 7 to 8 hours.
Trying to go against this pattern can have a disastrous effect on the body (more on that later) and doesn’t work!
If you try to skip on sleep your body will go in to something known as ‘sleep debt’ and ill naturally increase the amount of sleep you require to get back to your post-deprived state. So, in the long run, trying to dodge sleep may actually mean that you need more. Something to keep in mind.
The Importance of Sleep
There’s a reason the body fights so hard for sleep too. Sleep is absolutely crucial for the following:
To help retain and organize our memories.
To boost creativity.
To clear out any d molecules (caused by daily neurodegeneration).
To learn and remember tasks.
To rest and repair muscles.
To protect our skin health.
To regulate our appetite.
To boost learning ability.
To regulate our immune system.
To stop us from being grumpy-ass sods.
And, interestingly, to maintain our libido.
Sex and Sleep
Think about it: How many times has your mind been SO up for sex but your body, or general fatigue, just won’t accommodate it.
When we’re tired we aren’t running at full capacity in any regard and that includes our libido. Chronic sleep deprivation has also been shown to increase self doubt and our perception of how attractive we are.
In general, a lack of sleep is a disaster for one’s sexual and general health and well-being, and I don’t want my lovely readers to suffer in any way.
Getting the Right Amount of Sleep
So, given that know how much sleep we need, how is the best way to achieve it?
There’s no universal answer for this, as everyone is different when it comes to sleep, but there are some common tips and tricks that doctors recommend.
The first, no shocker, is to put away the damned smartphone before bed. Yes, I’m SUPER grateful that you’ve decided to marathon my articles at 2 in the morning, but your body isn’t and, when it comes to sleep, your body is boss.
Electronic devices give off a type of light that keeps the brain active, even if it’s time to go to bed. Avoid this by having at least an hour off the phone before getting some catch eye.
It’s also important to begin creating and maintaining a regular sleeping pattern. This will allow your body to know when it’s due to wind down and give you the framework in which to facilitate rest.
At this time it’s important to begin winding down by doing something like taking a bath, dong some relaxation exercises, or reading a book. Personally I like listening to podcasts, It lets me feel relaxed as I gently drift off.
It’s also good to make sure your room is sleep friendly, being at a good temperature and having the right degree of light regulation. Temperature in particular matters, so keep a close eye on this.
If all else fails you may find yourself turning to some supplemental methods, such as chamomile tea. In such instances don’t fret: The supplement may be needed at first but it won’t be a permanent addition to your bedroom wind down routine unless you want it to be, promise.
Sleep may not be the number one activity that most people value in bed, but it is heckuva important in order to get through life.
So if you want more energy, a better sense of self, and better sex then make sure you’re catching those Z’s. Your body will thank you for it.