Last updated on February 7, 2022

A good night’s sleep is something that’s so imperative to us that our entire well-being depends heavily on it. Without quality rest, we hamper our thinking process, physical health, and more if we avoid it only for 24 hours. Plus, this should be consistent. Today’s lifestyle change is keeping so many people awake and having restless nights. These reflect in their day-to-day subconscious habits and much more.

Therefore, it’s also important to maintain healthy sleeping hours consistently. Going to bed and waking up at the same time can also help you aid your sleep scheduling. Besides, there are other things like sleep journaling, sleep tracking, mandatory stretches before sleeping, and more that can prove to be helpful!

However, let’s put them all together for you in a better way so you can understand how to retrieve your good night’s sleep and call it a night once again!

Sleep: An Overview

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: Is Rest and Sleep the Same?

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.

Whereas sleep is a form of rest that 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 and much more no matter how much you rest.

The Importance of Having a Good Night’s 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. You can take a deeper look at the importance of sleep and follow sleep habits consistently.

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:

good night's sleep benefits

1. Improved focus and concentration

Concentration and attention are important for learning abilities and retaining new information. Maintaining healthy sleeping hours also helps improve memory, boost creativity, problem-solving skills, and improves judgement.

good night's sleep benefits

2. Improved mental health

A well-rested person thinks more clearly and calmly than one who doesn’t. And if this goes on, it takes a serious toll on your mental health that reflects on your daily activities. With a good night’s sleep, you tend to cut down overthinking, negative self-talk, and much more and grow into a newer self!

good night's sleep benefits

3. Control of bodily inflammation

Good sleep allows your body to control inflammation. Body inflammation is the process where your body fights against objects that can possibly cause harm for eg, toxins, infections, etc. When they damage your cells, release of chemicals encourages the immune system to respond.

good night's sleep benefits

4.A balanced appetite that requires fewer calories

Good sleep allows you to absorb the nutrients in your diet. Plus, it also helps you maintain a balanced appetite that requires fewer calories. Your system functions properly and avoids problems such as gastric issues, etc.

good night's sleep benefits

5. Decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases

Good sleep reduces the risk of various cardiovascular diseases as well. Studies show the growing trend in heart diseases in youth that people can aid majorly with just maintaining good sleep!

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.

Understanding the Stages of Sleep: What happens when you sleep?

While sleeping, your brain undergoes 4 stages of sleep. Each stage has a unique function to maintain your brain’s cognitive functioning. Sleep can be categorized broadly into Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and non-REM or NREM sleep. Stages 1 to 3 are NREM and the third stage is the final REM sleep.

Moreover, each and every stage repeats itself multiple times and the REM sleep duration increases. As it happens, your depth of sleep increases. With that said, let’s look at the 4 stages of sleep in detail.

4 Sleep Stages of a Good Night’s Sleep

  • NREM Stage 1: It is light sleeping where it’s easy to wake up from. It’s the transition session where you move from wakefulness to sleep. It lasts roughly 5-10 minutes. During this stage, your brain gradually slows down along with your breathing, eye movements, and heartbeat. This is when your body starts to relax as well and your muscles sometimes twitch. Moreover, your brain is active in generating theta waves of high amplitude mostly in your frontal lobe.
  • NREM Stage 2: As your heart rate slows and temperature reduces, you undergo light sleeping. At this stage, the body is preparing for deep sleep. You also become less aware of your surroundings. This stage lasts 20-25 minutes each session. Your brain generates bursts of rhythmic brain wave activities called sleep spindles. They help your brain gather and process the information that you learned and sieves in new memories that you made during the day.
  • NREM Stage 3: In this deep sleeping stage, generally any noise fails to awaken you. You are no more light sleeping. But if you wake 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. This is when your brain strengthens declarative information like facts or general knowledge, personal experiences, etc.
  • REM Sleep: 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 the right mattress help you get the REM sleep you need every night.

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

lack of sleep side effects

Memory loss and impairment

lack of sleep side effects

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?

Sleep deprivation happens when you don’t get the required amount of sleep every night. Human beings 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 that we will discuss right now.

What are the Lack of Sleep Side Effects?

Due to lack of quality sleep scheduling, your body and mind suffer. And with time, the effects increase 10 fold if you enter the sleep deprivation stages. Here’s what will happen if you don’t get the regular quality sleep:

1. Physical fatigue

Ofcourse, with less sleep your body is the first to respond with fatigue. You will feel sleepy as your brain signals you so. You may not retain new learnings and information.

2. Involuntarily dozing off

Your fatigue may be so much that you will tend to take microsleeps. They tend to last for 30 seconds. Throughout the day, you will take occasional microsleep and not know about it as well!

3. Poor mood

Mood swings are one but staying in a bad mood is worse. And this is what exactly happens. When you consistently have poor sleep, your poor mood then affects your mental health.

4. Increased anxiety

You experience more restlessness and overthinking. This is due to the increased anxiety that you develop without sleep. This is one of the lack of sleep side effects that are destructive to the human mind and hence, physical health as it reflects.

5. Difficulty focussing

You will have difficulty in processing new information as at night, your brain did not get enough time to retain and consolidate the ones before. Hence, you will find it difficult to concentrate and lose memory as well.

6. Waking up with difficulty (sleep inertia)

You will tend to wake up in the morning feeling groggy. This is called sleep inertia. This may hint that your sleep cycle was not complete and hence headache can accompany during sleep interia.

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.

More Lack of Sleep Side Effects

These side effects cater to the categories where you have an impact. This way, you can understand from an overall perspective what happens if you don’t have a good night’s sleep. 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. In fact, healthy sleeping habits include following proper food habits and discarding the ones that leave a terrible impact. Even though we’d suggest keeping away from sleep supplements as much as you can but they do work for cases that need dire medication. Here are some pointers as to how your diet can help you sleep better.

good night's sleep

1. 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.

good night's sleep

2. 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.

good night's sleep

3. Recommended Foods for Better Sleep

Look for foods that have micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, tryptophan and melatonin. For example, having warm milk at night can induce sleep and the like. These recommendations help aid sleep and every bit helps when you want to improve your sleeping patterns.

good night's sleep
  • 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.

good night's sleep
  • 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.

good night's sleep
  • Fish, Poultry and Eggs

Eggs and turkey are two foods that are rich in tryptophan which 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.

good night's sleep
  • 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. You can follow them and develop your understanding of the best way to sleep with the repeated routine.


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. You can do a bedroom makeover and apply these tricks to make the space more conducive to sleep.

Play 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.

Moreover, also consider which side is best to sleep on for optimal health and rest. This will also take care of your posture and sleeping positions.

Use 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. Better yet, you can add a lighter curtain underneath it so you can choose to keep it when you want light but not keep the screen open. You can also consider using these techniques in your kids bedroom ideas and make them habitual of a good sleep-inducing environment.

Place a Comfortable Mattress

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! better yet, understand the 13 best pillows for sleeping that works wonders for your sleep.

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.

Moreover, you can learn how to choose the best mattress for back pain and bring home a great one!

Pick the right mattress for yourself. Experience the difference.

What Habits to
Develop for Better Sleep

Sleeping habits include a lot of things especially when you are starting now after a history of improper sleep. From doing stretches before sleep to using sleep tracking apps, you can do a lot of healthy sleep hygiene checks to fix your sleep schedule! Let’s look at some key factors of better sleep habits.

What are some Key Factors for Better Sleep?

Better sleep consistently improves your mental health and analysing abilities. But there are some factors for better sleep. They are:

Sleeping environment

Regular exercise and activity

Good diet with less sugar

Positive attitude

Minimal screen-time before bed

Sleep yoga works wonders for inducing sleep right before bed. Also, yoga for sleep helps exhaust your muscles for bedtime! You can also do a little anxiety meditation with breathing exercises. Inhale deeply and slowly, hold your breath for 2 seconds, and then exhale slowly. This itself calms you down majorly. You can also try sleep journaling as a routine right before bed. Maybe pen down what your tasks for tomorrow will be.

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.

Moreover, sleep journaling is another way to help you understand your sleep thereby being another helpful sleep therapy. 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

Does it feel like the best temperature for sleep? 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. For example, yoga for sleep can help engage your body muscles and help make you fall asleep faster. 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.
  • Do stretches before sleeping – This helps engage your muscles and make you tired soon. This way, you’ll fall asleep much faster.
  • 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 How to Get a Good Night's Sleep

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 or polyphasic sleep 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 best 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.

Here are some healthy sleep habits that you can follow to retrieve your long lost 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.

Here are some things you can do as healthy bedtime sleep hygiene:

  • Practice guided sleep 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.

You can follow these steps to fall asleep quickly:

  • Meditation,
  • Yoga,
  • Simple relaxation,
  • Breathing techniques,
  • Listening to sleep meditation music,
  • Dimming the lights,
  • Switching off the TV and distancing oneself from digital devices,
  • Using comfortable mattresses and pillows are some of the natural ways to fall asleep fast.

These are some of the home remedies for sleep.

Here are some things you can do to overcome sleep insomnia:

  • Have a disciplined nighttime routine
  • Create the right setting in your bedroom to fall asleep
  • Avoid caffeine afternoon
  • Limit alcohol several hours before bedtime
  • Avoid smoking
  • Stay physically active every day
  • Limit your screen time before bed
  • You can also look at the top pillows for sleep that supports your neck in the best possible way.

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