Sleep and the Human Body - 5 Steps For a Healthier You

One of the most important parts of human life is something we spend roughly a third of our lives doing is sleeping. Sleep replenishes our brain chemicals, rests our muscles and processes our memories from the day, choosing what goes into long-term memory and what gets deleted. Unfortunately, many people have trouble sleeping at night, and this has lasting effects that carry over into the following day and, if the problem is persistent, can have long-term negative effects.

Sleep and the Human Body - 5 Steps For a Healthier You

Recent overhauls in mattress design, such as the Koala Mattress, have made leaps and bounds in allowing for better sleep at night, but some persistent habits have made sleep seem impossible no matter what you’re sleeping on. We’ve thrown together a few tips on what might be causing your restlessness at night.

Bed is For Sleep
A little-known factor in sleep troubles is what you do in your bed. It has been conclusively shown that using your bed as an office space with a laptop and/or television can impede your body’s natural rhythms for contextually sorting out your surroundings. 

The theory behind this research is that different areas trigger different mindsets and behaviours in your body and brain, so your office is a place that is contextually linked with doing work and productivity, and your home is contextually linked with relaxing, and so on. Where this becomes a problem for your sleeping is when you use your bed asan area to be productive and awake, doing work, playing video games or studying. 

Your brain learns over time that this area is for work, and so struggles to naturally relax in that area. Try to separate your bed and tasks that regularly require focus and concentration over long periods of time, and you will see an increase in your sleep hours.

Caffeine Conundrum
Coffee, while not strictly speaking the healthiest of morning drinks, is a very widely used stimulant, especially in the 9-5 workforce. When rising early and going to bed late becomes a lifelong rhythm, the call of a hot drink that promises to wake you up and focus your mind on a cold morning seems too enticing to pass up for many people, and for the most part it isn’t a problem to have a coffee in the morning to do just that. 

The problems start when more and more coffee is consumed to reach that same milestone every day. If you are having trouble sleeping, sometimes the problem can be that midday orafternoon coffee having a lasting effect on your brain. As we get older, this effect becomes more pronounced, and so what was fine 5 years ago may no longer be viable if a full night of rest is what you’re aiming for. Try to restrict your coffee drinking to midday at the latest, and see the improvements in your nightly slumber.

Reverse Psychology 
Lastly, we have an idea that will definitely work for some, and may not work for others. If you have experienced feeling absolutely drained all day, dead-on-your-feet exhaustion, then you might have an inkling about what this is about. You get home, you crawl into bed, and you’re suddenly wide-awake. This has happened to the best of us, and it will continue to happen, however we can use the same idea that causes us to snap awake just as we climb into bed, to combat it. 

The brain trying to work through lots of stimuli and thoughts and worries can become overwhelmed, and can make us feel tired all day. Once in bed though, away from all of that worry and thought, it can ease the tension and wake itself up, causing us to lose sleep.

Once in bed, if you are experiencing this very phenomena, try thinking about getting up and doing something you really don’t want to do - a chore you’ve been putting off, or a tedious written task. Often the brain will shut down again, but as you’re in bed this time, you will quickly fall asleep.

This may not work for people who feel guilty or lazy when not doing a task that needs to be done, but everyone else can expect to drift off relatively quickly.

Sleep is very important for our health, and for our mental well-being, and the above methods can help sleep-related frustrations die down, however it is worth mentioning that something as simple as an uncomfortable or old mattress can undo all of the above work.

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