REM Sleep helps us maintain emotional stability and is when our brain processes memories and experiences. It’s also when most dreams occur. If you don’t wake up during a dream, then you likely won’t remember it, and if you’re not awake for more than 5 minutes during the night then you don’t remember it either.
When it comes to performance, sleep is necessary for us to recover and for our muscles to adapt to all the work they’ve done exercising. An extended period of not sleeping can have even bigger health impacts. Chronic insomnia, in fact, has been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders, more frequent trips to the emergency room, and a higher risk of car accidents. People who suffer from chronic insomnia are also 10 times more likely to miss work.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t sleep enough and we don’t sleep well. Quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. Yet, up to 30% of adults have intermittent insomnia and sleep issues and 10% have chronic insomnia, which means it lasts for three months or longer.
Falling Asleep & Staying Asleep
The first step to sleeping well is improving your sleep habits. This is known as sleep hygiene.
- Eliminate illuminated screens up to an hour before bed, especially the blue spectrum of light (which comes from digital screens). Bright light and blue light decreases natural melatonin production.
- Avoid stimulants, like coffee, after noon. Caffeine has a half-life of five hours, which means it can last long into the evening. Cold medicines and nicotine can also be stimulants.
- While alcohol is not a stimulant, it can cause arousal during the night, making you wake up repeatedly.
- You can also take a hot bath before bed — as your body cools off, it causes you to become drowsy.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule, waking up and going to bed at the same time. Your body produces melatonin naturally in conjunction with your regular schedule.
- Avoid taking naps during the day.
- Limit the amount of time you’re in bed without sleeping.
- Sleeping with a pet can also be disruptive, as can sleeping with a spouse who snores.
- Expose yourself to bright light when you first get up, as your body responds to the light and wakes you up.
- And be sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool — the ideal temperature is 65–69ºF.
There are also sleep aids which can be helpful. We have designed our own called REM Sleep Aid. It is a non-lethargic and non-habit forming sleep aid designed to help you wake up refreshed the next morning!
If you continue to have sleep problems, the first step is to have a sleep study done and to see a doctor who actually specializes in sleep issues. Since most complaints tend to be vague, a sleep study can help pinpoint trouble sleeping or drowsiness during the day. Sleep apnea, in which you stop breathing briefly while asleep, can actually cause frequent wake ups during the night even if you aren’t fully awake and don’t remember it.
We hope this information will get you on track to a better nights sleep today! If you have any questions about our REM Sleep Aid, call or text (210) 600-2776.
Your Friends at Blue Shield Nutrition