Squeezing The Most Out Of Sleep: What You Can Do For Yourself At Night

Health 2023

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Squeezing The Most Out Of Sleep: What You Can Do For Yourself At Night
Squeezing The Most Out Of Sleep: What You Can Do For Yourself At Night
Video: Squeezing The Most Out Of Sleep: What You Can Do For Yourself At Night
Video: How to Fall Asleep FAST When You CAN’T Sleep! 10 Sleep Life Hacks! 2023, February

We sleep about a third of our lives and, although in comparison with cats (they sleep two thirds of their lives) we still have a place to roam, the figure is still significant. Sometimes it's a pity to waste time on sleep - it seems that in these eight hours you can do a lot of useful things. But it is impossible to do without sleep, for normal functioning it is necessary, and something useful can be combined with it. We will tell you what exactly.

Text: Marina Levicheva


Why sleep at all

Incredible, but true: although sleep affects all systems and processes in the body, including the work of the heart and brain, immunity and mood, its biological function is still not entirely clear. From an evolutionary point of view, sleep (at least in this amount) seems useless - with it, our ancestors wasted time that they could spend searching for food, and exposed themselves to dangers such as attacks by predators. The list of the most viable theories explaining why you need sleep includes the need to cleanse the brain - during sleep, metabolic products are washed out of it, including the protein beta-amyloid, the deposits of which are observed in Alzheimer's disease. Other possible explanations are the need for tissue repair and energy conservation.

Sleep, even brief sleep, can be used to help solve problems. A team of scientists from Lancaster University is confident that the best way to solve a problem that haunts you is to sleep. The group of volunteers who were asked to solve the problem in the evening and asked to solve it in the morning of the next day showed significantly greater efficiency than the group who were asked to solve the problem given in the morning during the day.

Is it realistic to study in a dream

From the textbook lying under the pillow, information does not enter the brain - this is obvious even without research. But experiments with audio learning in sleep began back in the 1950s. Then a group of volunteers, while sleeping, listened to facts from the field of sports, science and history that needed to be remembered in the morning. To the dismay of the researchers, the participants in the experiment remembered almost nothing, and the situation has not improved until now.

In 2014, Swiss scientists once again decided to test the learning capabilities of sleep, focusing, however, on the consolidation of memory that occurs when we rest at night. So it turned out that the group of participants that listened to German words and then fell asleep for four hours was better at language than the group that did not sleep after memorizing. Researchers at the University of Freiburg have found that the scent of a rose can improve the process. Students who inhaled this aroma both during training and during sleep, the information was absorbed 30% better than the control group.

Is it possible to influence dreams

There is little scientific evidence on the topic, but a 2004 study found that nightmares were more likely to occur in those who slept on their left side, and that sleeping on the right side was associated with feelings of relief and security. True, only 63 volunteers took part in the experiment, so it is hardly possible to draw final conclusions. In another study of 610 people, those who slept on their stomachs had vivid and positive dreams. It is clear that the results must be checked many times over - but it is obvious that the way we sleep affects, among other things, the quality and emotional orientation of dreams.

Neuroscientists have long used technology to stimulate the brain during REM sleep to influence and study dreams. Back in 1995, during an experiment, this helped an impressive 78% of participants achieve lucid dreaming. Since then, technology has become more accessible.For example, the Remee sleep mask, created in order to better remember your dreams, acts just during the REM phase, sending out small light signals. The Aurora sleep strap monitors brain activity, eye movements and body movements to provide the wearer - ideally - with the best sleep of their life. But research continues, and it is possible that in a few years we will be able to record, edit or customize our dreams.

When it comes to food that affects dreams, there is a popular belief that cheese can cause nightmares. In fact, cheese (like all dairy products) contains tryptophan, which is involved in normalizing the circadian rhythms responsible for the sleep-wake schedule. Increasing tryptophan levels in the body has been shown to raise serotonin and melatonin levels, each of which are important for quality sleep. Plus, a 2005 study found that 75% of the time, cheese did not cause restless sleep and / or unpleasant dreams. And although it was conducted by the British Cheese Board, obviously an interested party, there are more arguments for cheese at night anyway than against.

How to stop freezing and strengthen your relationship

There is evidence that sleeping without clothes can cope with insomnia and make it easier to fall asleep - and any sleepwear, be it underwear, pajamas, a shirt and anything else, interferes with the body's normal thermoregulation, choosing the most comfortable temperature. Many people sleep comfortably in socks - and this can help them fall asleep faster. Experts believe that putting on socks at night can even help cope with Raynaud's syndrome (when the limbs are constantly freezing and even numb) and hot flashes during menopause.

When it comes to sleeping with a partner, it has at least one important advantage - skin-to-skin contact over a long period of time promotes the production of oxytocin, the hormone of happiness and attachment. For many couples, minutes in the same bed before falling asleep or immediately after waking up is an opportunity to talk about intimate things without being distracted by everyday tasks or gadgets.

Still, sleeping with a partner can have more disadvantages than advantages, including not having a blanket (option is to use two), extraneous sounds from the other side of the bed, the need to open the window (while the partner requires it to be closed), or lack of space. Frequent awakening does not improve the quality of sleep, and then wakefulness. And if a separate dream is an opportunity to rest better, then it will have a positive effect on relationships. The main thing is to openly discuss such a need for a couple, leaving no room for grievances or claims.

Rebuild Muscle and Maintain Back Health

Medical specialists at the Cleveland Clinic say that for back pain, it is best to sleep on your back. Sleeping on your stomach will only aggravate the situation due to the unnatural position of the neck and the uneven distribution of the load on the spine. When a person sleeps on their back, the weight is distributed in the best way. An exception is the period of pregnancy, when it is best to sleep on the side, and on the left (this optimizes the blood supply to the placenta). In the supine position, the outflow of blood through the veins can be disrupted, and sleeping on your stomach after a certain moment will be simply uncomfortable.

Sleep on training days can be directed towards optimal muscle recovery. To do this, experts say, it is important to plan your workout at least three hours before bed, consume caffeine only before (if necessary) but not during exercise, and take a hot shower before bed.

Is it possible to improve the condition of hair and skin in a dream?

Silk is a smoother material than cotton, so when using silk bedding, the friction on the skin and hair is reduced. One study found these pillowcases are worth trying for people with dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis to minimize inflammation.Of course, a silk pillowcase will not do wonders or improve the condition of already damaged hair, but dryness and brittleness of healthy hair will most likely help prevent it.

At night, skin cells are renewed faster, and if the correct components of cosmetics are on the skin at this time, they will work better - which is why night creams are different from day creams. They are often denser in texture (during the day it can be uncomfortable due to makeup) and do not contain sunscreen. True, there is a little confusion in terms of the active ingredients (retinol and vitamin C) - due to the fact that they increase the photosensitivity of the skin, they are often recommended to be applied at night. In fact, you can use them both in the morning and in the evening, and powerful sunscreens will have to be used, even if you apply retinol strictly at night - the active substances do not interact with the sun's rays, but with the skin, which needs to be properly protected during daylight hours.


How to take care of your teeth while you sleep

Brushing your teeth right before bed seems like an immutable truth, but time really doesn't really matter. The main thing is to do this about once every twelve hours in order to get rid of the film that bacteria living in the mouth form on the teeth. What's more, brushing your teeth after dinner, but not right before bed, is perhaps even better - this will give the fluoride in the toothpaste time to build a protective barrier. But in the morning you need to brush your teeth immediately after sleep, then eat before breakfast. Less saliva is produced at night and bacterial plaque builds up faster, so it's best not to give microbes a chance to use the sugar from food for their own purposes.

The tension of the chewing muscles during sleep often leads to abrasion and chipping of the enamel - and if the doctor says that you have bruxism, then this is evident from the condition of the teeth during examination (even if no one has ever said that you are grinding your teeth in a dream). A protective night guard can help preserve enamel (and veneers or crowns, if you have one), relieve muscle stress and prevent temporomandibular joint pain. Such mouth guards are made individually, according to the casts of the jaws - a boxing one from a sports store will not work.

What medicines are best to drink at night

If the medication needs to be taken once a day, it is not always clear whether it is better to do it in the morning or in the evening. While there is evidence that blood pressure medications are more effective at bedtime, in general, doctors recommend discussing each specific drug with the prescribing specialist. It is only obvious that diuretics should not be drunk at night. It is important that doctors do not recommend going to bed (not only to sleep, but in general) immediately after you have taken the pill. You need to wait just a little, sixty seconds - otherwise there is a risk that tiny pieces of the medicine, if it is too active, will damage the esophagus.

Surveys show that many patients take sleeping pills in the middle of the night, which induces daytime sleepiness, decreased concentration and decreased energy levels. Moreover, most drugs of this kind should be taken right before bedtime and at least seven to eight hours before waking up, unless otherwise indicated by the attending physician.

How useful are sleep sensors and heavy blankets

Apps for deep sleep and comfortable awakening, wristbands that track sleep phases and set the alarm clock at the most appropriate time for this, and other similar gadgets are used everywhere today. Technology does not stand still: for example, the Muse S bandage, introduced in early 2020, monitors heart rate, brain activity and breathing, choosing the optimal set of sounds and vibrations for falling asleep. Sounds cool. But not according to doctors, who warn that from devices designed to make sleep as healthy and quality as possible, modern people are increasingly developing a neurosis, also known as orthosomnia.

Weighted blankets are often touted as a means of reducing anxiety and reducing depressive symptoms. Only, in fact, they can not do so much. One study found that a heavier blanket may work for people with sensory sensitivities (although not necessarily effective without therapy), but does not work for children with autism. Plus, perhaps the heaviness of the blanket helps to cope with especially stressful situations in life - but nothing supernatural from it is definitely not worth expecting.

Photos: valkoinen7 - stock.adobe.com, carroteater - stock.adobe.com, elizabethw, dilashome


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