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The Science Behind Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do. The amount of sleep you get each night can have an impact on your overall well-being, productivity and health. Here’s the science behind healthy sleep!

Beds

In order to get a good night’s rest you need the proper foundation, so it all starts with your bed and mattress! A mattress that supports your body in a neutral position is needed. If it’s too firm then it can push main pressure points out of alignment. If it’s too soft, your pressure points won’t be supported correctly. Memory foam is a great invention, especially if you have trouble getting comfortable at night. Also, make sure your bedding is breathable, comfortable and will help to lull you to sleep at night. You also need to be mindful about the age of your mattress. Experts recommend you replace your mattress every 8 years.

Why Sleep is Important

Human beings have to sleep in order to maintain normal levels of cognitive function that includes speech, memory and flexible thinking. For children, it’s integral to their brain development. It’s also been shown that sleep deprived people have difficulty responding to rapidly changing situations.

A lack of sleep can also be the culprit behind weight gain because people who don’t sleep enough want to eat breakfast less but snack more. So, if you’re trying to drop a few pounds then you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night!

How Much?

It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It also may be beneficial to shoot for a 20 minutes nap each day if you can. It has been found that napping for 20 minutes between 1pm and 4pm, is the most restorative and beneficial.

What Happens When You Sleep

There are four stages to sleep. The first is light sleep where you are half awake and half asleep. This is generally when a lot of twitching occurs. Stage two is when your heart rate and breathing slow down, and this usually occurs after about 10 minutes of light sleep in stage one. Stage three is deep sleep. This is where breathing and heartrate are at their lowest and there is very little movement. This is the stage where some children experience nightmares, bedwetting or sleepwalking. The final stage is known as REM sleep. It usually happens around 70-90 minutes after you first fall asleep. This is also the stage where you dream. You cycle into REM sleep 3-5 times per night.

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