You should also go through sleep stages of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is lighter, and it’s easier to wake up. During non-REM sleep, your body repairs tissue and strengthens your immune system.
Your cycles of REM sleep throughout the night get gradually longer, with the final REM stage lasting for an hour or more. You dream during REM sleep, and it promotes protein production throughout your body.
These sleep stages throughout your night are crucial for your long-term health. Unfortunately, fulfilling sleep doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Hundreds of factors can impact your sleep quality, including sleep apnea, nightmares, stress, a sporadic schedule, and your diet.
Here at Sleep Cycle Center in Austin and Lakeway, Texas, Chad Denman, DDS, Vidya Pai, MD, and Michael Lund, DDS, advise you on how to improve your sleep. They conduct sleep studies to measure your REM cycles and numerous other parameters that summarize your sleep quality. For accuracy, these studies take place with home sleep testing.
If the results of your sleep study point to inadequate sleep, or if you feel drowsy or irritable every morning, consider these strategies:
1. Consistency is key
As easy as it may be to justify staying out a few hours later than usual, you should aim to go to bed at the same time every night. In the morning, try to wake up at the same time, even on weekends. While sleeping in might feel nice from time to time, it can be disruptive to your natural sleep cycle.
Ideally, being consistent also involves a bedtime ritual or routine. It can include a warm bath, reading a chapter of a book, or writing in a journal. Your brain begins to recognize consistent practices as preparation for sleep.
2. Eliminate sources of blue light before bedtime
Blue light is a type of light that your brain perceives as daylight. Inconveniently, this is the type of light your phone, television, and other electronic devices emit. As long as these devices are on and your brain is perceiving the blue light, sleep is delayed. That means scrolling on your phone or enjoying a bedtime movie may extend the time it takes for you to fall asleep, thus disrupting your sleep cycle.
You can partake in those activities a little before bed, but be sure to put down the blue light devices at least 30 minutes before you lay down and try to fall asleep.
3. Avoid eating and drinking before bed
Pay attention to what you consume and when you consume it. Going to bed extra full from a hefty dinner or dessert isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep, but neither is going to bed on an empty stomach.
It’s essential to avoid mind-altering substances, like alcohol and caffeine, right before bed. Try to stop drinking alcohol at least three hours before bed and caffeine at least five hours.
4. Get some exercise
Exercise has countless benefits for your health and wellness, and inducing great sleep is one of them. When you exercise during the day, your body is more welcoming to restful sleep at night.
5. Find an outlet for stress
Ongoing worries and stressful thoughts can keep you awake for hours. One easy way to manage these worries is to write them down and physically set them aside before bedtime. You might have your own ways of doing this, like talking about your stress with your partner or meditating before you lay down to sleep.
If you’re interested in exploring the health benefits of great sleep, schedule an appointment by phone or online at Sleep Cycle Center today.