The Science of Sleep and How To Master It
Sleep. What affects it and how can we master its art? For most of us, the way stressors and technology surround our daily lives is a major factor that influences the quality of our slumber. From the moment we wake up to the minute we clock in for bedtime, we’re either thinking about our next big task, cramming a delayed deliverable, or making sure that we’re up-to-date with the latest social media buzz. The result? Disrupted resting patterns and shorter sleeping times. You may not be fully aware how important sleep is, so here’s a breakdown of how it works and a few tips on how to maximize your rest before you hit that snooze button.
The science of sleep
When we sleep, our brains go through two stages: deep sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement), or the phase associated with memory consolidation, creativity and emotional well-being. A healthy, well-rested person will go through four to five REM cycles in a span of eight hours, while someone who sleeps for only four to five hours will find it difficult to even reach REM. As a result, we get the bare minimum of what our brain requires in order to keep our minds and bodies in shape. Although not mandatory, it is recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep to get the full benefits of REM. Neuroscience professor and sleep expert Matthew Walker explains that lack of sleep impacts almost all physiological systems and mental operations in the body, and increases the risk of obesity, hypertension, and heart disease.
So, what is a surefire way of securing eight hours of sleep? The truth is, there’s no single technique. What works for you may not work for some, but here are four tricks that you can try to doze off in no time.
1. Use a breathing exercise.
When in doubt, breathe. Deep breathing generates a feeling of serenity, and you’ll find yourself snoozing easily after a few rounds of inhaling and exhaling repeatedly. Lie flat on your back comfortably with your feet stretched out, and bring your attention to breathing. Inhale the soothing scent of the YogaLove Relax Essential Oil with pure French Lavender and Bergamot essential oils for four to seven seconds, hold it in, and release your breath using the same amount of time. If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate on your breathing, picture a calming scenario in your head and you’re all set.
2. Do at-home workouts before bedtime.
Contrary to popular belief that evening exercise can keep you from dozing off, working out at night may actually help you fall asleep better and spend more time in bed. Do a full routine of your favorite workout a few hours before bedtime, and give your body ample time to let your temperature come down and your heart rate to regulate. After working out, unwind and feel your body’s rhythm slow down to generate a feeling of calmness that will help you relax in time for bed.
3. Minimize gadget use.
According to experts, lights from gadgets can disrupt the crucial transition from wakefulness to sleepiness. Levels of melatonin, or the hormone released with the onset of darkness, rise an hour or two before bedtime – and when we get immersed in the blue light from our phones, melatonin is suppressed and our brain gets activated into “awake” mode. Set your phone on do-not-disturb mode a few hours before you sleep, and find an alternative way to pass time instead of browsing on social media, like reading your favorite book.
4. Focus on mindfulness and meditation.
Studies have shown that practicing meditation can calm the nervous system, and freeing your mind from distress can induce a sense of peace. Relaxing a few hours before bedtime can help you drift off, and you can achieve this by immersing yourself in a soothing atmosphere and calming your senses. To do this, bring out the Clean + Protect Sanitizing Spray in Relax from the Dear Sleep Set to set a clean and comfortable environment. Spray it inside your room liberally, and let the calming whiff of French lavender, Peppermint, Bergamot, Aloe Vera, and Witch Hazel diffuse while it sanitizes your personal space.
When the mood has been set, use the Relax Essential Oil Roll-On blend with French lavender, Bergamot, Peppermint, and Cedarwood to quiet your mind before dozing off. Roll it on your temples, behind your ears, and on the wrists. Made with the proprietary blend of pure essential oils sourced and studied carefully, it invites deep relaxation and frees the mind from thoughts that may hinder a good night’s sleep.
Ready to snooze? Shop the Dear Sleep Set here and follow the tips above for a better slumber.