We all know that getting enough sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing. But with our busy lives, it can be hard to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. In this article, we'll explore why it's important to get enough sleep and how you can get eight hours of sleep in just one hour. Before attempting to trick the system, it's important to understand why the system is in place in the first place.
We all have two stages of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep, and each fulfills an essential bodily function. Non-REM sleep has three different stages that play a role in repairing the body's muscle tissues, retaining and developing muscles (which is useful for older people), and strengthening the immune system. REM sleep, on the other hand, refreshes the mind and is crucial for important brain functions, such as memory retention, learning, mood regulation, and brain development in younger people. Consequently, lack of sleep can mean that you are missing out on fundamental bodily processes intended to support your overall health.
So if you're only going to sleep 4 hours in one night, make sure you don't make it a habit. With their demanding schedules and heavy workloads, modern Americans can find it difficult to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night that the Mayo Clinic recommends for adults. But if you feel like you don't get enough sleep, you're not alone. A study conducted by the CDC found that one-third of Americans don't get enough sleep, and it may be affecting our health for the worse. Lack of Sleep “Increases Risk of High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Obesity, and Diabetes” according to an NIH article.
In addition, not getting enough sleep affects mood, performance, concentration, and our ability to form memories. If you're looking for ways to get eight hours of sleep in just one hour, here are some tips that may help:
- Avoid caffeine late in the day. I am addicted to coffee and tend to drink cold drinks or espresso all day long. However, consuming caffeine too late is a recipe for insomnia, so I've learned to keep it decaffeinated after 2 p.m. Not only do I avoid coffee after this time, but I also stay away from any caffeinated beverages such as green tea and diet Coca Cola.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
I have found that wearing clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable inhibits my ability to sleep well. Similarly, pajamas that are inappropriate depending on the season of the year may leave you too hot or cold in the middle of the night.
- Take a warm bath. It seems to me that taking a bath is a relaxing way to clear my mind before going to bed. Research shows that bathing before bed can help improve sleep quality.
But this can only work if you allow some time to cool off after the bath.
- Stay away from technology. Technology can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep and sleep well. According to a study published in Applied Ergonomics, exposure to white and blue light emitted by phones, computers and tablets can suppress melatonin levels in the body, inhibiting our ability to feel sleepy.
- Create a dark environment. Not all people are disturbed by the light but I don't think I can rest properly if the room is too bright.
I use blackout curtains all year round even in winter when it's darker before.
- Go to the bathroom. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of sleep due to the need to empty your bladder. I stop drinking water a couple of hours before going to bed and make sure to go to the bathroom too.
- Avoid eating late at night. Eating at night close to bedtime may have “negative effects on the ability to sleep well” especially for women according to a study published in Scientific Investigations.
I practice intermittent fasting which means I avoid eating after 5 p.m.
- Exercise earlier in the day. While I generally feel physically exhausted after a grueling session in the gym I definitely don't feel tired in a way that makes me want to go to sleep. In fact I feel more energetic and alert after a good workout so I choose to work out in the morning.
- Take magnesium supplements. Magnesium a common mineral in the body contributes to health in many ways including helping you sleep more and better.
Magnesium deficiency can even contribute to insomnia and other sleep problems says Healthline. At night I feel like I might have difficulty falling asleep so I take 800 mg of magnesium glycinate (beware of magnesium citrate which could cause diarrhea) and it doesn't take long before it comes out like a light.
- Listen to calming sounds. Whether you have a white noise machine or prefer the sounds of the ocean finding a sound that relaxes you can help you fall asleep faster. I opt for the rain sound option on my Google Home Mini or some mp3s that I have made from some of my favorite ASMR videos on YouTube.
Keep in mind that even small reductions in daily sleep over time can add up so try your best not get less than seven hours of rest each night.