Quick nap in the van

10 Amazing Tricks To Improve Your Sleep Efficiency (Works Quickly)

10 Amazing Tricks To Improve Your Sleep Efficiency (Works Quickly)

You may have asked once: Why do we sleep? A simple question yet a very intriguing one for experts in health science. To get to the bottom of this dilemma, scientists analyze how sleep works and what happens to your system when we don’t get enough sleep.

Till date, there is a lot to learn about sleep physiology that involves many region of our brains added to a complex mesh of hormones and factors, existing knowledge describes the sleep mechanism and reveals how sleep is connected to physical, emotional, and mental health.

10 Amazing Tricks To Improve Your Sleep Efficiency

The Sleep Cycle:

The minute you fall asleep, notable changes start affecting your brain and functions.

It’s important to understand that sleep is a dynamic that progresses through multiple cycles. Each cycle lasts between 70 and 120 minutes.

There are four stages of sleep divided into 2 categories. The first 3 stages are called non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The fourth stage is REM sleep.

These stages are described in the table below.

Category of SleepSleep StageOther NamesNormal Length
NREMStage 1N11-5 minutes
NREMStage 2N210-60 minutes
NREMStage 3N3, Slow-Wave Sleep (SWS), Delta Sleep, Deep Sleep20-40 minutes
REMStage 4REM Sleep10-60 minutes

Stages 1 and 2 involve a slowing activity in the brain and body. Stage 3 is the deepest part of NREM sleep. In this stage, brain waves display a clear pattern of slowed activity that is markedly different from waking brain activity. Studies suggest that this stage plays an important role in the recuperation of the body as well as analytical thinking and memory.

Stage 4 is the only stage of REM sleep in witch brain activity picks up significantly, and most of the body experience temporary paralysis. Although dreams can show up during any stage, the most intense dreaming takes place during REM.

The body regulates sleep with 2 fundamental approaches: sleep-wake homeostasis (the longer you’re awake, the more you need sleep) and the circadian alerting system (a part of the biological clock). These two factors directly affect how plenty your body feels a need for sleep, reflecting your biological clock, the time of day, your light exposure, and how long you’ve been awake.

A wide range of factors can influence those approaches. For example, stress or hunger may disrupt your normal process of sleep regulation. Caffeine consumption or exposure to light from electronic devices are other examples of how behavioral choices can adjust the body’s underlying structures for coping with sleep.

These multifaceted approaches are managed through numerous parts of the brain including the hypothalamus, the thalamus, the pineal gland, the basal forebrain, the midbrain, the brain stem, the amygdala, and the cerebral cortex. The fact that so many parts of the brain are involved in wakefulness and sleep, including the sleep stages, is a demonstration of the biological complexity of sleep.

bear on laptop

Insomnia

Insomnia is a disorder defined by chronic difficulty with sleep onset and quality. People affected by insomnia struggle with sleep at night and suffer from immoderate day sleepiness. Nowadays 10-30% of adults are estimated to live with some types of insomnia. Insomnia is caused by many factors that fall into 3 groups: predisposing elements, precipitating elements, and perpetuating elements.

Predisposing elements include the demographic, genetic, and psychosocial characteristics of an individual. For instance, it’s widely known that women in their midlives are more vulnerable to have insomnia. Similarly, divorced and widowed individuals suffer more often from sleep disorders. Also, low income, smoking, alcohol, and many other social factors increase the rate of insomnia.

Precipitating elements encompass stressful life events and medical conditions that disrupt sleep like respiratory problems, physical disability, depression, and anxiety.

Perpetuating elements consist of behavioral changes that arise as a result of insomnia. An acute episode of insomnia will not result in chronic insomnia without these perpetuating elements like frequent naps, spending immoderate time in bed, increased fear and anxiety related to sleepiness. Defying those elements medically is defined as cognitive-behavioral insomnia therapy.

10 Amazing Tricks to sleep quickly and overcome Insomnia

we will investigate some of the sleep tips used by experts to promote, consolidate and maintain sleep. The following practices may fall under behavioral-cognitive therapy, pharmacological therapies, and parapsychological interventions.

teddy bear going to sleep

1-Sleep Hygiene

Your behaviors during the day, and especially before bedtime, can have an important impact on your sleep. They can induce healthy sleep or contribute to sleeplessness. Sleep hygiene is a medical methodology and one of the essential bases of cognitive-behavioral interventions for insomnia (a set of non-pharmacological interventions based on psychology and habit). Generally, it’s described as recommending the behaviors that assist sleep and discourage those that intrude with sleep. A listing of useful guidelines is given to those who go through this therapy. The major tips are:

  • Don’t try to sleep: It’s crucial to avoid forcing sleep and stressing about it. The more you think about it, the greater you consider it, the better the mind awakening activity will be thus leading to negative results
  • Avoid stimulants: It’s critical to avoid caffeine, nicotine, high sugar within the afternoon and the nighttime
  • Maintain a regular sleep time table 7 nights per week to consolidate your biological clock circuits
  • Avoid naps
  • Get regular exercise, at least 6 hours earlier than sleep time
  • Keep the bedroom dark and quiet
alarm is on

2-Stimulus Control

It is also a cognitive-behavioral technique for insomnia that is described as a behavioral treatment aiming to change behavior related to bed and bedroom and establish consistency in sleep patterns. This approach pursuits to restrict the bedroom for sleep only since non-sleep activities and the bedroom environment can serve as stimuli that interfere with sleep. The essential recommendations for this remedy are:

– Go to bed only when sleepy

– Use your bedroom for sleep only. Do not read, watch TV, talk to the phone, worry, or plan activities in the bedroom.

– If unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes, leave the bedroom.

– Do no longer nap for the duration of the day and set your alarm to awaken at a regular time each day.

– Don’t eat a large meal earlier than bedtime. If you are hungry at night, consume a mild, wholesome snack.

– Reduce your fluid consumption before bedtime.

quick nap in the van

3-Sleep Restriction

First, you spot how much sleep you get on common over a period of about two weeks. It may help to preserve a sleep diary. Another half an hour of time spent falling asleep is introduced to the average sleeping time. That’s the time between “lighting out” and actually falling asleep. The best time, so one can go to sleep, is then calculated “backward,” using your wake-up time as the start line: For example, in case your alarm is set for 6:00 a.m and you want six hours’ sleep in addition to half of an hour to fall asleep, you’ll visit bed at 11:30 p.m Adjustments like those may want to help you discover the best length of time to spend in bed in order to get a good night’s sleep. It’s a therapy that is based totally on experimental evidence that sleep is regulated by circadian and homeostatic procedures. The sleep restriction strategies increase homeostatic sleep drive by decreasing time in bed and keeping a steady wake time in the morning to reinforce circadian rhythms. Therapists suggest patient to:

–  Set strict bedtime and rising schedules.

–  Increase time in bed through advancing bedtime via 15-30 minutes whilst the time spent asleep is > 85% of the time in bed.

–  Keep a set wake-up time, regardless of real sleep duration.

–  If after 10 days, sleep efficiency is decreased by 85%, further limit bedtime by 15-30 minutes.

psychology

4-Cognitive Therapy

It’s a psychological therapy that aims to pick out, challenge, and replace dysfunctional ideals and attitudes concerning sleep and sleep loss. These beliefs increase arousal and tension, which impede sleep and similarly give a boost to dysfunctional ideals. Sleep therapists will help you to project unhelpful ideals and fears about sleep like overestimating the hours of your sleep and stressing that it’s impossible to manipulate the sleep and getting sleepy after missing a sleep opportunity. The therapist will layout behavioral experiments to test your beliefs about sleep and regulate them when needed which will do away with mental blockage and fear inflicting insomnia.

Relaxation

5-Relaxation Techniques

The goal of relaxation strategies is to achieve physical and mental relaxation. They are intended to reduce physical tension and interrupt the idea methods which can be affecting sleep. Studies display that humans who’ve found out rest strategies sleep a piece longer at night. These techniques will help you to go to sleep extra quickly however for many unknown reasons, they don’t have an impact on every person. To date sleep, therapists have studied many relaxation strategies.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: also called Jacobson’s or deep muscle rest: This technique includes tensing a group of muscle mass all over the body one by one and consciously relaxing them progressively.

-Autogenic Education: Autogenic training involves focusing awareness on special components of the body and consciously relaxing them. At an advanced degree, even involuntary physical features like pulse and respiratory may be encouraged to obtain deep physical relaxation.

Biofeedback: This method lets you experience how your frame reacts to tension and relaxation. It entails putting electrodes for your frame to measure muscle anxiety, pulse, and mind hobby. You can screen those ones of kind measurements on a display and see how muscle relaxes. Needless to mention that biofeedback is ideally achieved through a specialist.

-Imagery (visualizations): Another commonplace type of relaxation method is imagery, in which you visualize peaceful, pleasant scenes or believe yourself breathing quietly, gently falling asleep, and having a very good night’s sleep. It’s the most commonly recommended technique via sleep therapists since it is a smooth method and does not require taking a course to learn how to practice the relaxation exercises.

limit alcohol

6-Limit Alcohol Intake

It’s known that alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes brain activity to slow-down. Alcohol is the most commonly used sedative in the world but the consumption of alcoholic beverages has been linked to bad sleep quality and short sleep duration. People with alcohol addiction are acknowledged to be afflicted by insomnia signs. But why? Drinking alcohol before bed can lead to the suppression of REM sleep during the first 2 cycles. As the night progresses, this can create an imbalance among the sleep phases of a cycle thus decreasing overall sleep quality with shorter cycles. In addition, it relaxes throat muscles thus creating more resistance for air movements during breathing. This leads to disruptive sleep apnea and to heavier snoring. This side effect of alcohol consumption before bedtime is not uncommon. It touches even the individuals that don’t have a chronic sleep apnea problem and occurs for 25% of the moderate-heavy drinkers’ population. It’s important to mention that blood alcohol levels are influenced by gender, weight, number of drinks consumed over a unit of time, and rate of metabolism which explains why alcohol affects people differently and thus explains why a proportion of alcoholics isn’t affected by sleep disorders.

choose clothes

7-The Thermal Environment

A recent study compared the effects of cotton and wool sleepwear, and polyester and wool bedding on sleep at 17°C and 22°C. Surprisingly these small changes in the sleep environment showed shocking differences in the sleep pattern in healthy adults. Differences in fabric properties influence thermal comfort and hence sleep outcomes. Sleep was initiated during the decline in temperature. Wool sleepwear promoted faster sleep onset and deeper sleep than cotton sleepwear at 17°C, but cotton sleepwear promoted deeper sleep than wool at 22°C. Thermal resistance may explain these differences particularly when sleepwear was closely matched for mass and thickness. Given that wool has significantly higher thermal resistance than cotton, wool would be expected to insulate better than cotton resulting in less heat flow between skin and wool.

These outcomes emphasize the importance of optimizing sleepwear with seasonal changes.

social media

8-Social Media

Greater overall social media use was associated with poorer sleep quality. Nighttime-specific social media use and emotional investment in social media are strongly related to poor sleep than overall social media use. This suggests that social media use in bed (main to later bedtimes and shorter sleep duration) and anxiety at not being connected to social media (making it tough to disengage from the social interplay and loosen up at bedtime) may also give an explanation for the discovered hyperlink between social media use and poor sleep. It is also possible that poor sleepers use social media more as a sleep aid, as adolescents commonly report using computers and TV as a sleep helper. Young adults experience enormous pressure to be constantly available and reply to messages without delay. Adolescents who are more emotionally connected to social media sites, feeling disillusioned and disconnected once they cannot use social media, may therefore struggle to relax at bedtime for fear of lacking out on new messages or content material. A strong emotional connection to social media websites affects sleep quality by growing anxiety, which is known to make a contribution to poor sleep quality.

healthy lifestyle

9-The Healthy Life Style

There are many studies showing the effect of a weight loss plan on the synthesis or concentration of melatonin. For example, it’s been proven in human studies that calories limit decreases the discharge of melatonin at night time. In patients with malnutrition, orexin, a neuropeptide launched from the hypothalamus to boost nutrition, will increase alertness. Some studies have shown that vitamin B12, folate, and especially high serum concentration of vitamin D may contribute to insomnia. Contrarily, a rich diet in vitamin B6 and Magnesium helps in the relaxation process and aid sleep.  Additionally, probable insomnia is related to daily high-calorie intake, Trans-fats, sodium, and lower consumption of vegetables. In general, a well-balanced diet strengthens the overall physiology, sleep mechanisms included.

Several research studies have examined the impact of physical activity and exercise on sleep. A positive relation between sleep quality and length of intense physical activity changed was concluded. Moderate workout enhances sleep quality even though overall sleep time isn’t always affected. Similarly, aerobic workout helps to prevent snoring in the overweight population. Snoring is a symptom of sleep-disordered breathing and might lead to arousal from sleep. Endorsing physical activity and regular exercise as a part of a healthful lifestyle is particularly advocated. Walking programs are effective in enhancing sleep quality even in particular illnesses such as the populations of women with breast cancer and adults with diastolic coronary heart failure.

pills

10-Pharmacological Therapy

There are numerous pharmacological options to be used in patients with insomnia. Pharmacological treatments are mostly categorized as benzodiazepine sedatives, nonbenzodiazepine sedatives, antidepressants, orexin receptor antagonists, melatonin receptor agonists, and some herbal supplements. 

Both benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepine receptor agonists have a common physiological mechanism. They work by binding to a particular receptor on gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptors. These two types of drugs successfully treat insomnia-related syndromes along with sleep onset latency, number of midnight awakenings, overall sleep time, and sleep quality within the brief term, but not with chronic use. Prolonged use of these medicines can lead to tolerance, dependence, rebound insomnia, residual awakening-time sedation, motor incoordination, cognitive impairment, and an elevated chance of falls in the elderly population.

Various antidepressants have sedating properties and are often used for the remedy of insomnia. However, adverse consequences which include dizziness, cardiac arrhythmias, orthostatic hypotension, and priapism may be significant in the elderly population.

Melatonin Receptor Agonists and melatonin supplements are commonly effective without a significant rebound insomnia or withdrawal results. There are not related to dependence and reminiscence disturbances contrary to other pharmacological medicines.

Herbal Supplements inclusive of Valerian lacks FDA approval and tracking. There are few studies of valerian in aged people and information is missing in terms of its efficiency in treating insomnia. However, it’s a common para-pharmaceutical drug in Europe and the Middle East.Orexin Receptor Antagonists targets wakefulness-promoting neuropeptides that modify the sleep-wake cycle, demonstrating its efficacy in decreasing sleep latency and in growing overall sleep time.

Conclusion

Sleep, an essential function of the living, is a complex mechanism that is regulated through a mesh of signals. A considerable proportion of the adult population suffer from sleep related problems. In general, those problems could be treated without the need of pharmacological drugs through the techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Those techniques aim to reset the biological clock by creating new habits and defying stress and false beliefs related to sleep proving the famous claim: “Everything is in the mind”. In addition, it’s important to understand that a good sleep require an equilibrated life with a relaxed mindset. Losing sleep is very common in people suffering from mental illnesses. A healthy person with good daily routine have a lower chance of getting sleep problems. In case of chronic insomnia and some physiological and psychological disturbances, drugs could be prescribed. Those drugs in general could develop tolerance and serious side effects especially in elderly leading to the conclusion that further studies on therapies must be investigated.

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Najat Bteich
Najat Bteich is a researcher in cellular biology and an expert in the field of regenerative medicine and pharmacology. She graduated from the Lebanese University with a Master degree in “Stem cells, organogenesis and regenerative medicine” and pursued a researcher career in cellular biology and bioengineering projects between the Lebanese University, The American University of Beirut, and The University of Rouen.
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