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Sleep – The Ultimate Fashion Accessory

by Wild Fabrik

Sleep is a basic requirement for humans that serves as a foundation for good quality health and wellbeing throughout one’s life.  But, not everyone can fall asleep quickly, and many of us face disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and sleep paralysis.

If you have trouble falling into deep slumber every night, you can discover solutions to all of your sleep-related concerns right here!

REM sleep (rapid-eye movement) and Non-REM sleep are the two primary sleep cycles that alternate when we’re asleep. Irregularities in these cycles can affect our ability to dream and cause sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and sleep paralysis. 

If you have problems getting a good night’s rest, you might want to reach for some pills thinking they are the quick solution to catching some Zzzz. But there are some other non-chemical ways you can improve sleep. 

We spoke to sleep expert Julia Worrall about how you can improve your sleep quality to wake up refreshed and ready to glow!

good night sleep, sleep, happy sleep, girl sleeping
WILD FABRIK: Why is sleep so important?

Julia: Sleep is vital to our overall health and wellbeing. Adequate, proper sleep safeguards both our physical and mental health so we can maintain a good quality of life. While you’re asleep, the brain organises events from the previous day, prepares the brain for the next day, and activates hormones that regulate energy, mood and mental sharpness.

The brain requires at least 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep to perform this activity. Therefore, anything less will adversely affect your focus, attention span, creativity, ability to learn new things, mood regulation, and general productivity throughout the day. 

sleep well, dog, pug, sleeping, fall asleep
WILD FABRIK: What is a sleep cycle, and when do we dream?

Julia: A sleep cycle consists of alternating intervals of REM and NREM sleep.

Healthy sleep can be divided into four stages. The cycle typically begins with Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep in healthy people, further broken down into three distinct phases. We become further disconnected from the outside world as we progress through stages 1 and 2 until deep sleep is achieved in stage 3.

While in deep sleep, both brain and body activity plunge to their lowest point during the cycle, and blood redirects from the brain to the muscles. The brain waves gradually slow down and become more synchronised throughout these stages while the eyes remain motionless. 

REM is the fourth and final stage of sleep in which our brains become even more active than while we are awake. The brain organises and synthesises memories and emotions during this stage, necessary for learning and higher-level cognition.

Disruptions to REM sleep causes issues in cognitive and social processes, impaired memory, and concentration difficulties. 

We go through three to four such alternating cycles throughout a good night’s sleep, each going on for between 60 to 90 minutes. 

woman yawning, yawn, sleepy, tired

When it comes to dreaming, many sleep experts believe that the characteristic rapid eye movements of the REM cycle are linked to having dreams. This is because people who wake up from REM sleep usually report having just had vivid and unusual dreams.

During this cycle, muscles in the arms and legs are briefly immobilised, which some researchers believe to be a neurological block that prevents us from physically acting out dreams.

WILD FABRIK: Why do we dream?

Julia: Researchers and sleep experts are still divided over the meaning of dreams or why we dream, despite years of study into the topic. Nevertheless, there are generally held ideas and hypotheses about dreams found in various scientific areas, ranging from psychology to psychiatry to neurobiology. On the other hand, some scientists feel that dreaming has no direct purpose and results from different biological processes during sleep. 

Some current theories about why we dream include:

  1. The brain responds to metabolic changes and electrical impulses.
  2. It is to facilitate creative tendencies.
  3. To achieve psychological and emotional equilibrium as the brain works through challenging, complex, and unpleasant ideas, feelings, and experiences.
  4. Memory processing.
  5. A type of consciousness that consolidates information from the past and present while preparing for the future.
girl napping, sleeping, fall asleep
WILD FABRIK: What are some common sleep issues, and how can they be avoided?

Julia: Approximately 70 million adults in the US struggle with a sleeping disorder. Among the 80 different types of conditions, the most common ones include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. To avoid these problems, you need to make conscious decisions in improving your sleeping habits by following the tips below.

First and foremost, ensure that you allocate yourself enough time to get the full 7 to 8 hours of sleep so that your mind and body can undergo the necessary processes.

Next, follow these tips to help you fall asleep at night:

  1. Have a set bedtime schedule and routine – try to wake up and go to bed at the same time daily.
  2. Avoid staying up late or sleeping in too often as it can disrupt your sleep-wake rhythm.
  3. Create a comfortable sleep environment by using earplugs to block out noise or blackout curtains to minimise outside light.
  4. Allocate at least an hour of quiet relaxation time before bed, which means no strenuous activity, and avoid using devices that emit blue light, which may keep you awake.
  5. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine as their effects can keep you up for hours.
  6. Avoid heavy meals at least a few hours before bed.
  7. Keep the body and mind active throughout the day but limit activity between 5 or 6 hours before bedtime.
  8. Meditate to maintain a positive frame of mind before bed.

sleep, fall asleep, dog, sleeping

Following these suggestions will definitely help you to improve sleep and fall asleep quickly without sleeping pills. 

If all else fails…

If you continue struggling with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or sleep paralysis, you may want to discuss them with your physician to get an exact diagnosis and treatment. 

Falling into a deep, REM sleep does not only affect our ability to dream. Getting quality sleep every night is essential so we can be our best self, and promote our overall health and wellbeing. 

Waking up feeling fresh and ready for the day ahead, full of energy and looking your best, has always been — and will continue to be — in fashion.

“Approximately 70 million adults in the US suffer from a sleeping disorder.”

Julia picture, sleep expert

Popular on the wellness and sleep conference circuit, Julia Worrall, RN, has used her medical training, specialisation in respiratory health and interest in the mechanism of sleep and its impact on all aspects of health and wellbeing to forge a career as a specialist. Using her insight into how sleep issues, breathing problems and health are all interconnected, Julia has become a highly respected voice in her field. 

Julia continues to join the dots for previously unconnected health issues and quality sleep through her business, The Sleep RN and now as editor in chief of Best Sleep Magazine. This holistic approach to solving sleep issues by examining other health and dental factors, and vice versa, is helping patients and readers the world over to improve their sleep and health. 

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