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Thu, 20 Jul 2017
Getting a better night’s sleep
Sleep is important for our everyday lives and lack of sleep can have a negative effect on our mood, relationships, work and quality of life. Poor sleep quality can increase the prevalence of illness which in turn reduces our capacity of work and can result in more sick leave taken. The value of getting a good night’s sleep is as important as good nutrition and physical activity.
There are two types of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In healthy sleep, NREM has four stages which get deeper as they progress and last for about 90 minutes. REM sleep lasts for only about 10 minutes and is the period where the brain is most active and where dreams occur.
This cycle of NREM and REM sleep gets repeated 4-6 times throughout the night and the ratio changes over the night as the amount of time in deep sleep (NREM) decreases and the REM cycle increases. Waking up during a period of deep sleep is an uncomfortable time to wake up and therefore a regular pattern of sleeping is important. Our bodies also cycle through a 24-hour sleep and wake cycle which is called circadian rhythm. These rhythms play an important role in controlling the timing of hormone release and the part of the brain which controls this can be affected by social activities, stress and light. 1 Our rhythms can be affected by our behaviours related to sleep which effect both sleep quality and duration. These behaviours are collectively known as sleep hygiene2.
Here are some tips to improve your sleep hygiene1,2,3 :
Hopefully some of these tips can help you improve your sleep hygiene and therefore sleep quality. This will improve your mood and energy meaning you can complete more activities throughout the day and be more alert.
Amy Burr - Principal Physiotherapist
Keeping your body & mind A+
PO Box 96 246, Balmoral,
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