Taking up nearly a third of our lives, sleep is one of the things that all humans have in common. Up until the 1950s, it was believed that sleep was simply a passive activity during which the brain and the body were just dormant. However, studies began to reveal that while we are sleeping, the brain engages in quite a number of activities that are necessary to maintaining life.

What’s the low down?

As we sleep, our brains go through a cycle several times. This cycle includes two types of sleep – REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep.

The first cycle is comprised of four stages of non-REM sleep during which the body falls into a light sleep, the core temperature drops, breathing and heart rate regulate, and the body then goes into a deep sleep.

Finally, the body enters REM stage which is the stage in which we normally dream.

This cycle repeats itself several times in the night, however with each cycle, the body spends less time in REM stage.

How is it controlled?

There are two ways that your body regulates its sleep patterns – through the natural circadian rhythm and the sleep drive.

Circadian rhythms are the body’s internal clock. They are influenced by external factors such as light and use these cues to tell the body when it’s time to go to bed and to wake up.

Sleep drives work the same way that hunger does – as the day goes on, the body craves sleep. This feeling builds until it’s time to go to bed.

Why we need it

Sleep is essential for the maintenance of our minds and bodies. The brain needs sleep to maintain plasticity and to process everything we learned during the day. The body needs sleep to repair muscles and take care of immunity and metabolism. Without it, we are more susceptible to depression, obesity, disease, high blood pressure and so on.

How to get it

If you have trouble sleeping, try addressing your environment. Ensure that you have a good quality, comfortable mattress, blackout blinds to prevent light from coming into the room and keep the thermostat low to avoid overheating in the night.

Avoid stimulants like caffeine bed, ramp up your fitness routines and keep set a sleep schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.

If you would like to find out more about how REM-Fit Sleep Monitoring technology or Zeeq Smart Pillows can help you to get a better night’s rest, please get in touch with our experienced, knowledgeable staff by calling 020 8731 0020 or email us via sales@rem-fit.co.uk.

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