Last updated on January 7, 2022

Sleep is the human equivalent of rebooting your laptop or phone cause it wasn’t working right. There’s not a single person in the world who does not enjoy a good night’s sleep. There’s a reason the average human being spends roughly 1/3rd of their lives sleeping.

Sleep: An Overview

Why Is Sleep More than Rest

Instinctively, we think of sleep and rest as the same thing. However, research indicates that there is a lot of difference between the two. Rest is like keeping the car in neutral, while sleep is more like turning it off. Only one of those states
provides rest to the car’s engine. Rest is stopping activity, which means you consume less energy and exert less force on your body. Sleep is a form of rest, but it does more for your mind and body than just rest. Without a good night’s sleep,
several bodily functions are compromised. Your muscles recover slowly, your mood suffers and you feel tired all the time no matter how much you rest.

Importance of Sleep

The golden rule of 8 hours of sleep has gone unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. Although it varies from person to person, the average sleep required remains the same. Sleep is more important for growth and as you age, you are likely
to require fewer hours to have a good night’s sleep.

Age Recommended Sleep
Infants less than 1-year-old 12 – 17 hours (Decreasing with age)
1 – 2 years old 11 – 14 hours
3 – 5 years old 10 – 13 hours
6 – 13 years old 9 – 11 hours
14 – 17 years old 8 – 10 hours
18 – 64 years old 7 – 9 hours
65+ 7 – 8 hours

Getting enough quality sleep has many benefits such as

Improved focus and concentration

Improved mental health

Control of bodily inflammation

A balanced appetite that requires fewer calories

Decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases

In the age of cities that never sleep, nocturnal lifestyles and difficulty with sleep scheduling are commonplace. With this relentless pace, it has become necessary to build sleep-friendly habits to get a good night’s sleep.

Stages of Sleep

Sleep can be categorized broadly into Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and non-REM or NREM sleep.

NREM sleep has 3 stages

  • Stage 1 – Borderline sleeping. Easy to wake up from. Lasts roughly 5-10 minutes
  • Stage 2 – Light sleeping that is marked by slow heart rate and reduced temperature. At this stage, the body is preparing for deep sleep. This stage lasts 10-25 minutes.
  • Stage 3 – Deep sleeping. If you are woken up during this stage you will feel groggy and disoriented. During this stage, the body gets to work on repair and recovery. It is also associated with an improved immune system.

REM Sleep does not have any distinct stages. It typically starts around 90 minutes after you fall asleep and there are several cycles that increase in duration. The first REM cycle lasts around 10 minutes and each following cycle grows until you
have cycled up to 1 hour long. REM sleep is characterized by an increased heart rate and breathing rate. Intense dreams are usually a product of REM sleep caused by the stimulation of certain areas of the brain. Fun-Fact: An infant can spend
50% of its sleep in REM sleep, compared to just 20% in adults.

Let us help you get your REM sleep you need every night with our quality mattresses

Sleep Deprivation:
Everything You Need
to Know

Not getting enough sleep over an extended period of time is known as sleep deprivation. The symptoms increase as you build up a sleep deficit/debt, i.e. – the number of hours of missed sleep. Sleep deprivation affects several functions in the body and
can cause the following symptoms

Memory loss and impairment

Poor muscle recovery

Increased blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease

Increased risk of obesity and diabetes

Increased stress, anxiety and depression

Inability to control emotions

Trying to function when you are sleep deprived is similar to walking on an injured leg. Even if the injury is only mild, exerting the leg will continue to aggravate it and invite bigger problems.

What Is Sleep Deprivation and When Can You Consider Yourself Sleep Deprived?

You need to get around 8 hours of sleep every 24 hours. If you sleep less than that, you are sleep deprived and you have a sleep debt. You are sleep deprived if you feel any of these lack of sleep side effects.

Physical fatigue

Involuntarily dozing off

Poor mood

Increased anxiety

Difficulty focussing

Waking up with difficulty (sleep inertia)

The extent of the symptoms and the amount of sleep deficit vary from person to person. However, a significant sleep deficit (more than 4 hours) usually results in such symptoms.

What Is Sleep Deprivation and When Can You Consider Yourself Sleep Deprived?

When you are struggling with a lack of sleep side effects begin to show up. With a growing sleep deficit, the number of symptoms and their intensity will increase.

Cognitive Side Effects

Even if you have no trouble staying awake for long hours, you are prone to making mistakes and bad decisions when you are sleep deprived. Without enough sleep, your cognitive faculties deteriorate and you are likely to have some of these symptoms.

  • Memory impairment
  • Incoherent thought process
  • Inability to focus and/or learn
  • Dull reflexes

Physical Side Effects

Sleep deprivation results in weakness and you are quick to tire when you haven’t slept enough. Exercise and maintaining a healthy routine become difficult without enough sleep and you will notice some of these symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • The poor recovery rate from exercise and injury
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced libido
  • Accelerated ageing
  • Weight gain & obesity

Emotional Side Effects

Your mental health is severely affected by irregular sleep. A large majority of people who suffer from mental health conditions do not sleep very well. Some of the things you should look out for and address immediately are

  • Depression
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Loss of control over emotions makes you prone to lashing out and misbehaving.

Functional Side Effects

Without enough sleep, the brain changes its priorities when it comes to deploying hormones. Leptin is a hormone that controls your appetite, and ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates it. When you are sleep deprived, the brain reduces leptin and increases ghrelin. This means you will feel hungrier more often than necessary. The release of insulin is also reduced, which means your blood sugar can spike. Sleep deprivation is also linked with increased insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes.
Sleep deprivation affects the body in many ways, which can start a vicious cycle that can make it difficult to sleep. That’s why it is important to do some sleep scheduling and maintain good sleep-friendly habits.

What to Eat
for Better Sleep

Food can be an ally or enemy when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Here are some pointers as to how your diet can help you sleep better.

Avoid Caffeine/ Sugary Food

Drinking coffee helps you stay awake because of the rich caffeine content. The same thing can make it harder for you to fall asleep. It’s a good idea to avoid caffeine about 4 hours before you plan to go to bed. Having sugar before bed is
a bad idea because similar to caffeine, sugar is a stimulant and makes you hyperactive. If you have high blood sugar when sleeping, your sleep is likely to be disturbed by thirst, dehydration and frequent trips to the bathroom. So avoid
sugar-rich foods and other ingredients with caffeine like tea, cocoa, chocolate, and energy drinks. Plan to keep your sugar levels in the normal range when you go to bed with a short walk or jog.

Reduce Oily Foods to Calm Your Stomach Before Sleep

“Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper.” While the rules of the saying are a little flexible, what it definitely means is to avoid heavy meals before bed. Research has shown that high-fat diets, particularly high-fat
dinners prevent a good night’s sleep. You are more likely to be tossing and turning or waking up mid-sleep if you’ve had a burger and fries for dinner. There is also evidence that you spend less sleep time in REM sleep after a heavy, oily
meal.

Recommended Foods for Better Sleep

Look for foods that have micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, tryptophan and melatonin. These are known to aid sleep and every bit helps when you want to improve your sleeping patterns.

Warm Milk at Night

A lot of people swear by a glass of warm milk at night to get a good night’s sleep. Milk has tryptophan, which has sleep-promoting properties. Although it is not scientifically proven to help with sleep, maybe it can work for you.

Nuts

Almonds, pistachios and walnuts have been linked to better sleep thanks to their rich micronutrient profile. Magnesium especially has been linked with improving your chances of a good night’s sleep.

Fish, Poultry and Eggs

Eggs and turkey are two foods that are rich in tryptophan that promotes serotonin production in the body. Getting enough tryptophan can help your body be more responsive to sleeping conditions. Fatty fish is another food that has been linked
with better sleep. Aside from having omega 3 fatty acids which are great for overall health, it is also a good source of tryptophan.

Sleep Supplements

Consult a medical professional before you try these out, but melatonin and magnesium supplements can help you fall asleep more easily. There may be side effects, so use as recommended to make sure you are safe. In a 2016 study, melatonin sleep supplements were noted to improve sleep quality drastically in a short two week period.

How to Change
Your Environment
for Better Sleep

Another often overlooked part of our sleep habits is our environment. Maintaining a clean, quiet and comfortable space is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep.

the-Day-and-At-Night

Modify Exposure to Light During the Day and At Night

When it is dark, our bodies produce melatonin to help us fall asleep. Our bodies are programmed to stir awake when there’s light. Light from screens or any other source can compromise this. If you’re forced to sleep during the day because
of work, invest in some good curtains or blinds to keep light away. Even at night, it is possible for intrusive light to enter your room through your window or from an adjacent room. Keep the light down to a minimum to improve your chances
of a good night’s sleep.

Declutter & Make Your Bed Inviting

It is incredibly annoying to have to clear your bed right before you go to sleep. Your bed should be ready to fall into at any time, which is why you should always try to make your bed well before trying to sleep. Make your bed a sacred space
that is meant only for sleeping. Avoid eating on the bed to reduce the chances of making a mess. Screen time also should be reduced, since it has adverse effects on your ability to fall asleep.

White Noise

Are you used to sleeping with the fan on? For a large number of people, the best way to sleep is with some white noise in their bedroom. Several sleep therapy apps now provide calming background sounds of ocean waves, wind and rustling leaves
to help users fall asleep. There are also free videos on youtube you can try, but make sure they are ad-free so you aren’t disturbed.

Darker Curtains

Consider getting curtains that completely shut out the light from your windows. Their thickness also offers some noise insulation, making it the perfect fit for a comfortable bedroom.

Comfortable Bed

A comfortable mattress is your most important tool for sleep. Pick a mattress that has the right kind of softness. The size matters too! Make sure you have plenty
of room so you can spread out and have as many pillows as you like! A truly comfortable mattress also helps you maintain the best temperature for sleep. If a mattress does not have a mechanism to cool itself, you’ll end up sweating and
feeling uncomfortable after lying down for a while. At Wakefit, we have a dual comfort mattress that you can flip over for different levels
of softness. This feature allows you to experiment a bit and choose the best way to sleep for you. To go with your mattress, you should have a good bed frame, ideally with side tables or somewhere to keep things handy. If you have to buy
both, it is best to buy them together to ensure the sizes are compatible. The Wakefit Taurus engineered wood bed is a great way to get a good night’s sleep. All the bed frames are customizable with headboards and headboxes to suit your preferences.

Don’t compromise on your sleep quality, choose Wakefit. Browse our range of mattresses today

What Habits to
Develop for Better Sleep

Some of the key factors for better sleep are:

Sleeping environment (Low light, comfortable bed, good temperature)

Regular exercise and activity (yoga for sleep is a simple and easy option)

Good diet (Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and avoid high sugar foods)

Positive attitude (Work on the areas you can improve)

Minimal screen-time before bed

Track Your Current Sleep Cycle

Sometimes you sleep more than you think, but you still feel tired. This is because you haven’t gotten enough REM sleep. Sleep tracking can help you figure out where you are missing out. There are several simple gadgets for sleep tracking that
work very accurately. You can try smartwatches or apps on your smartphone to find out how well you are sleeping. Sleep journaling is another way to help you understand your sleep. Anytime you wake up or have trouble falling asleep, make
a small entry with the time and details about what woke you. If you have a good night’s sleep, make an entry when you wake up, to identify what you did right.

Think About What Is Keeping You Awake

Is it the temperature? The comfort of the bed? Noise? Stress? As you work on getting better sleep habits and a more conducive sleep environment, think about what is missing. As you fix each thing that might be costing you sleep, you will get
closer to finding a solution. If you’re having trouble keeping your mind calm when you are trying to sleep, try guided sleep meditation or wind downs. These can help you relax and overcome sleep anxiety. Sleep journaling or maintaining
sleep trackers can help you find out where you are missing out.

Stress Management Tips

Exercise is very helpful for getting a good night’s sleep. A lot of health experts recommend yoga for sleep along with guided sleep meditation. Combined with the relaxation that comes from anti-anxiety meditation, it goes a long way. Try not
to feel anxious about your difficulty sleeping. Your body will fall in line if you maintain good sleep habits. If you feel too conscious, try some stretches for sleeping to distract yourself. Listen to calming music or sleep therapy sounds to help yourself wind down from the stress that you have built up in the day.

Sleep Hygiene

Maintaining certain habits and following a routine aimed at improving your sleep is known as sleep hygiene. Here are a few pointers for what constitutes good sleep hygiene.

  • Maintain consistent & healthy sleeping hours – Try to fall asleep at the same time every day, preferably at night. Plan it so that you have enough time to wake up.
  • Create a bedtime routine – Finish up your dinner 1-2 hours before bedtime. Stay away from screens for an hour. Try some sleep yoga or some stretches to relax before bed.
  • Temperature – Find the right level of cooling for yourself and learn how to maintain it. This will stop you from tossing and turning and waking up to turn off the AC.
  • Make your bedroom sleep-friendly – Get good curtains that can block out light. If you like white noise while sleeping, keep the fan on, or play something softly on the speakers.
  • The bed is only for sleep – Avoid eating, watching TV and spending time on your phone while on the bed. Using the bed only for sleeping helps your body get in gear
    faster. This also helps keep the bed free of clutter.
  • Eat right – Don’t overeat before bed, this can lead to disturbed sleep. Eat a relatively light dinner, avoid sugars and caffeine for a good night’s sleep.


Frequently Asked Questions

On a slow day, an afternoon nap feels really good, but don’t let it go on for too long. You may not feel sleepy at night, which can disrupt healthy sleeping hours. If you’re not able to maintain consistent sleep hours, an afternoon nap can be very helpful.

Maintaining good sleep hygiene is all about making it easier to sleep at the right time. If you’re able to get a good night’s sleep even after an afternoon nap, then you should be fine.

Research suggests that the ideal temperature for sleep is 18.3 degrees celsius. Your body cools itself by expanding the blood vessels in your skin, causing heat to be let out.

This is why your skin starts to feel warm when you are starting to sleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning due to the heat, experiment with the right temperature for yourself.

People used to living in hotter climate zones may prefer a higher temperature to get a good night’s sleep.

  • Maintaining a comfortable, clean sleeping environment with measures to control light.
  • Eat a light dinner and make sure to keep your overall diet healthy.
  • Eating around 2 hours before you plan to sleep.
  • Calming your mind with anti-anxiety meditation or wind-downs.
  • Avoid screens at least 1 hour before bed and use only dim lights before sleeping.
  • Don’t eat, read, or use gadgets etc. in the bed. Spend as little time on the bed as possible if you aren’t sleeping.
  • Get some exercise every day, it can help you sleep more soundly. There are specific exercise routines like sleep yoga that can really help.
  • Avoid napping for too long during the day, it can make it harder for you to fall asleep on time. If you really want to, restrict yourself to light sleeping.

We’ve all heard our elders tell us “Early to bed and early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise”. The saying holds true scientifically as well because of the body’s internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm.

Our bodies are programmed to fall asleep sometime after sunset, which is when melatonin is produced to aid sleep. However, it can be difficult to follow such a routine in today’s world.

Going to bed between 11 PM and midnight gives you a good chance to get enough sleep and wake up refreshed. With a natural circadian rhythm, you can expect your highest quality stretches for sleeping between 1 – 4 AM.

If you fall asleep before midnight, you are likely to hit your first cycle of REM sleep between 1 – 4 AM. This improves your quality of sleep and also allows you to wake up early, fresh and full of energy.

  • Practice meditation
  • Listen to music 
  • Take a warm bath 
  • Have tea before bed 
  • Read a book 
  • Light candles or incense sticks 
  • Avoid screens

Sleep is when the body relaxes, the heart slows down, the cells repair, and the brain processes crucial learnings from the day.

But all of this can be done only when the natural cycle of sleep is complete— this takes about seven to eight hours in the case of adults.

Eight hours of quality sleep is required for the overall well-being of the body and the mind. Adults over 65 years of age require a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.

Meditation, yoga, simple relaxation and breathing techniques, listening to sleep meditation music, dimming the lights, switching off the TV and distancing oneself from digital devices, and using comfortable mattresses and pillows are some of the natural ways to fall asleep fast. These are some of the home remedies for sleep.

  • Have a disciplined nighttime routine
  • Create the right setting in your bedroom to fall asleep 
  • Avoid caffeine after noon 
  • Limit alcohol several hours before bedtime
  • Avoid smoking
  • Stay active everyday
  • Limit your screen time before bed

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