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Sleep better: How you can positively influence your night's sleep

Sleep better: How you can positively influence your night's sleep

Sleep disorders are not uncommon in today's society and many people suffer from a deficiency due to sleep problems. You may also have noticed the negative effects of sleep deprivation a few times and have been less alert and have difficulty concentrating and performing at your best. In this article you will find out why restful and good sleep is so important to you and how you can influence your optimal sleep.

A third of life is spent sleeping. Your sleep quality is related to your physical condition and your mental performance. A sufficient night's sleep is therefore crucial for your performance during the day. Are you finally tired of having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and feeling like you haven't turned a blind eye? We will now explain to you what the background to your sleep problems can be, why sleep is so important and how you can finally sleep better again.

 Woman wakes up happy in the morning

Sleep Better: What is Sleep?

Sleep is a state of calm and vital for all people. When you lie down in your bed and sleep, you come into a changed state of consciousness. Your body is practically in stand-by mode. Your consciousness is switched off, but your brain is permanently active during sleep. Your organism can recuperate and relax in sleep, while it goes through active regeneration phases for your body and a muscle-building state is achieved. This phase of active regeneration also helps to process impressions, experiences and what has been learned and transfers them to long-term memory.1

Neurotransmitters act on different groups of nerve cells called neurons in the brain that control whether we are awake or asleep. The neurons in the brain stem that connect the brain to the spinal cord produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine that keep some parts of the brain active while awake. The neurons that signal us to fall asleep then switch off the signals that keep us awake.2

the stages of sleep in a sleep cycle

There are five stages of sleep, which are different in depth. These are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase. The first two phases are characterized by light sleep. Phases 3 and 4 can be combined and are deep sleep phases. The REM phase in which you dream is particularly important. A sleep cycle lasts about 90-110 minutes, of which you have several during the night. Several sleep phases are also passed through in a cycle.

It is best if you always wake up between two phases, as this will make it easier for you to get up. It has probably already happened to you that you have been woken up in the middle of a deep sleep phase and have felt exhausted.

You spend half of your sleep time in phase 2, around 20% in the REM phase and the remaining 30% in one of the other phases.3

 

Sleep Better: Restful Sleep and Its Benefits

It is important that you don't just sleep, but that your sleep is also of good quality. You benefit from improving various body functions

  • capacity
  • willingness to learn
  • Stress resistance
  • Attention
  • attentiveness
  • better mood
  • nice skin

Woman is happy outside in the sun

In order for your nervous system to function properly, you need sleep to be awake and able to concentrate. When you are sleepy, it affects your memory and physical performance. Your organism has more energy through optimal recovery and ensures a better mood. Regeneration helps you to internalize new knowledge better and can also improve the complexion of your skin through optimal sleep.4

Some experts believe that sleep gives neurons the ability to repair themselves while awake. Without sleep, neurons can become so low in energy or contaminated with by-products of normal cell activity that they would malfunction. During sleep, the brain can also train important neural connections that could otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity.

Sleep helps you to save energy and other resources so that you are efficient in everyday life and your organism works. That is why sleep is also important for a healthy immune system and defenses.5 It is not for nothing that it is said: "Sleep is the best medicine!"

But it is not always so easy to go to bed in the evening and fall asleep quickly in the daily hustle. With a few tips, however, you can ensure that your body and mind come to rest before you go to sleep.

 

DEEP SLEEP1

If you often have trouble falling asleep or you find it difficult to fall asleep, then you can DEEP SLEEP1 help with melatonin. It contains a composition of natural plant extracts such as hops, Passionflower and lemon balm, minerals such as zinc and magnesium in combination with the natural sleep hormone melatonin, which contributes to healthy sleep and shortens the time it takes to fall asleep.

Tips to sleep better: how biohackers prepare their sleep

The biohackers and ahead-Founders Philip and Johannes tell you on our YouTube Channelhow to optimize your sleep so that you can bring your full performance the next.

In summary, this means that you should do relaxed things before going to sleep, preferably avoid blue light so that your body should Melatonin forms and can prepare for sleep. It is for this helpful if you adjust your sleep rhythm and go to sleep at the same time every day and make your bedroom as dark as possible during your resting phase.

Use a special light alarm clock that prepares your body for waking up even before the doorbell rings. To have positive associations with your bed, it's best to avoid working or studying in it. Only drink enough that going to the bathroom doesn't wake you up at night. Also, consuming alcohol, coffee, or other caffeinated beverages, or eating large and sugary meals is not conducive to a good night's sleep. After all, your body should deal with regenerating itself during the night.

 

Why better sleep is particularly important for athletes


For those who want to achieve physical and mental performance, sleep is an even more important point. On Lack of sleep can lead to an increased feeling of hungerwhich can cause serious problems, especially in weight-class sports.6 In the case of a lack of sleep, lower leptin levels and an increased ghrelin level were measured. The two hormones are antagonists, with leptin suppressing appetite and ghrelin stimulating appetite.

Furthermore, lack of sleep makes it difficult to burn fat (by 55% with constant weight loss) in obese people.7

Sleep quality appears to be the most susceptible of top athletes, especially before major competition events, during intensive training sessions and after long-distance travel to competitions. Many athletes suffer from the symptoms of insomnia, which can impair training or competitions, for example through fatigue or sleep-related fear of performance.8 Sports performance can therefore be negatively influenced by insufficient sleep. In the worst case, you are not focused or alert during your training, which increases your risk of injury.9

Sleep is therefore not only important to refuel your energy reserves and regenerate your muscles, but also to carry out your training in a focused manner.

Woman goes jogging outside in the forest 

The optimal length of sleep

The optimal sleep time is around 7-8 hours. A study from the University of Warwick found that the mortality rate increased by 6% in people who sleep less than 12 hours and by as much as 30% in people who sleep more than 9 hours.10

It was also observed that a variation of the DEC2 gene ensured that people could sleep up to 2 hours less than the average without any problems.

The question of the optimal length of sleep is therefore not easy to answer. In the case of athletes, for example, there may not be enough time to regenerate sufficiently. In a study with college basketball players, for example, improved athletic performance was achieved after 10 hours of sleep.11

Every person should therefore rather sleep a little more than too little during increased physical activity.

 Woman lies happily in bed

Sleep Better: Causes and Symptoms of Lack of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

There are many different causes of lack of sleep and sleep disorders. Often it is due to worries and fears that can not get out of your head and lead to fatigue the next morning. But also stress The increasing demands in our modern way of life or work are causes of difficulty falling asleep and disturbance to sleep, often in combination with long periods of sitting and the use of electronic devices.

The Nation Sleep Foundation surveyed people about their insomnia. Almost half of the respondents suffered from occasional insomnia, 22% even (almost) daily. Within the work week, 15% said they slept less than six hours. 95% of those surveyed use electronic devices several times a week, one hour before going to bed. Artificial light can reduce the quality of sleep by passing through the retina and the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the pineal gland, from producing melatonin.12

The consequences of chronic lack of sleep are probably familiar to many and have already been experienced.

Effects of lack of sleep on your life

A lack of sleep causes more cortisol to be produced, which leads to more cytokines, which are pro-inflammatory. The immune system is weakened and you become more susceptible to colds and infections.13 White blood cells, which are roughly described as important in the defense against infections, are negatively affected. The concentration of C-reactive protein, which is a clue or marker for inflammation, also increases due to lack of sleep in the organism.14

In addition, lack of sleep increases systolic blood pressure and leads to hunger pangs for sugary and fatty foods.

Some people suffer from insomnia caused by nocturnal pauses in breathing (sleep apnea) or restless legs syndrome. But grinding your teeth and sleepwalking can also have an impact on the quality of sleep. When traveling by air to other time zones, jet lag brings the sleep-wake cycle out of balance and your sleep rhythm can be confused for a while.2

 

Chronic lack of sleep can lead to serious disorders

If the lack of sleep is permanent, the body can suffer more serious damage and possibly promote the following symptoms, e.g.

  • Weight gain15
  • Insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes16, 17
  • mental illnesses such as depression18
  • different forms of cardiovascular disease19
  • premature aging
  • memory loss

Woman holding her head because of her headache 

Summary

There are still many questions about the functions of sleep that are still unanswered in sleep research, but it is clear that sleep disorders and lack of sleep can lead to a significant and permanently reduced performance after just a few days. Symptoms such as daytime sleepiness or mood disorders are often made small and overlooked as warning signals. The need for sleep is important for your body because cell renewal processes take place, the immune system is activated, the metabolism is regulated and premature aging processes are prevented.20

In everyday life, sleep is often neglected at work and leisure activities. The negative effects of sleep problems are often not taken as seriously as they should and can lead to serious problems in chronic sleep disorders. But even with short-term lack of sleep, negative effects on your body and your mental well-being can be felt, which shows how important and diverse the sleep functions are. With a few tips you can change your behavior before going to sleep in order to be optimally rested and to start the day with plenty of energy.

 

For more exciting tips and information, also follow us on Instagram!

 

1Melatonin helps alleviate the subjective feeling of jet lag. Melatonin helps reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

 

[1] https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01390384/document

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279322/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12530990

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14737168

[5] https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep / what-is-sleep /

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15583226

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287

[8] https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs40279-016-0650-6.pdf

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27367265%20

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20469800

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119836/

[12] https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/sleepinamericapoll/SIAP_2011_Summary_of_Findings.pdf

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19139325

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16466124

[15] https://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d2712

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23835691

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16983057

[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21300408

[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16149210

[20] http://www.prosomno.de/schlafmedizinisches-zentrum/schlafwissen/