Ahhhhh – sleep – something so many people desire more of or an improved quality nights rest. All over the western world, people are suffering from chronic sleep deficiency.
In terms of brain function and productivity, sleep is really important. A lack of quality sleep lowers a person’s focus, impedes decision making and increases mood swings. And that is just the start! Ask any parent who has a colicky baby that has kept them up for several nights in a row, to choose from two simple choices and it feels like a scholarship exam!
Eric Edmeades, the founder of Wildfit, teaches about the 8 basic needs of humans. The first 3 (in order of importance for the body & brain) are good quality air, natural water for hydration and sleep. Sleep at the number three position might have surprised you as most people predict food to be third on the list – it’s actually number six!
Your brain and body perform amazing feats while you sleep. These include:
burning off fat from the day’s activities
fighting inflammation, infection and trauma
sorting of the day’s memories
creation of long-term memories
ridding toxic waste
energy is recharged (almost like a battery)
The brain works on approximate 90 mins cycles (circadian rhythms) throughout the day and night. At night, as an adult, it is recommended to get 5 full cycles of sleep, while teenagers may require 6-7 cycles for great body and brain function. This may involve going to bed earlier to fit all these cycles in. Dr Greg Wells and Dr Daniel Amen, both prolific brain researchers, talk about the first three cycles being when the brain processes the learning from the day, memory enhancement and memory integrations. The last two cycles are when creativity and problem solving happens. Have you ever woken up with clarity about a troubling problem? Your brain was working on it while you were asleep.
There are many reasons people may not be getting enough sleep and one key factor is increased use of technology and phones. Here are 3 tips, in relation to technology use, to achieving a better night’s sleep.
Tip 1: No technology in the bedroom
To ensure a great night sleep remove all technology from your bedroom. Your bedroom should be a relaxation zone, a time for the brain to unwind, calm and switch off. The last thing your brain needs is more input or the suggestion of more information. Your brain spends its day consuming information, making decisions, creating and thinking and it needs time to recharge. Remove the TV, computers, laptops and phones from the bedroom to create a calm and nurturing space.