Health & Wellness Magazine Live + Thrive Magazine - Summer 2018 - Page 25
Hacking Your Sleep:
Make it Quality over Quantity
THE FEELING of being groggy, tired, and
just plain exhausted can make it hard to get
through the day. But before you blame it on
not getting enough hours under the sheets last
night, you might want to have a rethink.
The key to feeling as revitalized as possible
is to maximize the amount of REM sleep
you get—and this doesn’t necessarily mean
sleeping for longer.
Getting More REM Sleep
Although the amount of sleep you get
undoubtedly has some impact, studies show
that the quality of the sleep is even more
important. Here’s a look at why the quality of
sleep is so important and what you can do to
Understanding the Mechanics of
Most people have seen the zombie-like state of
new parents who are struggling along without
sufficient sleep. However, in many cases, it’s
not the amount of time that’s the problem but
the number of sleep interruptions they have.
Lots of new parents manage to grab naps,
and over the course of a day, this can add
up to a reasonable amount of sleep. The
problem comes because each little doze isn’t
sufficiently long for the individual to enter
into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is
the deepest level of sleep and what’s needed to
feel truly rested upon wakening.
Being asleep isn’t enough to get your body
to slip into the all-important REM state. You
have to give yourself a bit of a helping hand.
You’ve probably heard it all before, but
switching off your screen for a while before
you hit the sack really will help. Too much
bright light tricks the brain into thinking that
it’s not yet nighttime, so when you do drift
off, it will take longer to fall into a deep and
refreshing sleep. This means it’s also a good
idea to block out any disturbing lights in your
room. Wear an eye mask if necessary and
you’ll feel the benefit.
Other factors include getting comfortable, so
make sure your mattress is still in good shape
and the room temperature is right for you. If
you’re not feeling relaxed physically, it makes
it much harder for your brain to reach REM
Don’t Try to Catch Up on Sleep
When you’ve had a long week and have
struggled to get enough sleep, you might be
tempted to sleep in later on the weekend.
However, if you’re trying to improve the
quality of your sleep, this could actually be
It’s easier for your body to fall into REM
sleep when you have a pattern: roughly the
same sleeping and waking time every day.
Extending your sleep by a couple of hours
will have a similar effect to jetlag, leaving
you feeling more lethargic and drowsy than if
you’d had less time beneath the sheets.
Concentrate on Quality
When dealing with sleep challenges, it’s
common to focus on how much you’re getting,
but if you want to feel more alert, you could
need a change of direction. By concentrating
instead on the quality of your sleep, you could
feel far more revitalized and refreshed even if
you’re not getting any more actual hours.