Living well isn’t something you should lose sleep over. No, really… catching those precious zees is actually one of the most beneficial things you can prescribe yourself in pursuit of better health. And it’s easy to see why.
How many times has a rough night with too little rest left you feeling terrible? And what about when a solid sleep helps you wake up feeling like you can take on the world? The quality of your snoozing is vital to let your body repair and restore itself in preparation for the day ahead – but for many of us, switching off isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Maybe that’s partly because sleep is actually quite a dynamic process all round. The average healthy adult will experience 3-5 sleep cycles per night. Within those cycles, there are 4 distinct sleep stages: Light sleep, Deep or Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep and Wake. Let’s dig a little deeper…
KNOW YOUR SLEEP
You know that feeling. That delicious dropping off into your subconsciousness. This first stage represents that physiological process it takes to transition to deep sleep. You may get some of the restorative perks of later cycles at this stage, but with less frequency as your body hasn’t quite switched off yet. It’s thought that the fact that light sleep leaves you still responsive to your environment and aware of your surroundings is its way to wake quickly in event of a threat.
Probably the posterchild of the sleeping world, this stage is when your brain is restored. During this stretch, ideas and skills you acquired during the day become cemented as memories. Yes, it turns out you actually can do that thing with your eyes closed.
It might seem a bit odd including this bit, but it’s still included as a sleep stage because it’s natural to be awake for brief periods many times in the night. It’s normal to experience anywhere from 10-20 moments of wakefulness each night. While they only last a few minutes and you’re not even conscious of them, you can lose upwards of an hour of sleep in the wake stage.
NOW FOR SOME NUTRITION
Of course this was going to factor in at some stage. The fact is, nutrition can heavily influence the quality of your sleep, with certain food and drinks making it easier or harder to get the quality of sleep you need. Rather excitingly (for MOJU fans especially) there’s a fair bit of research going into turmeric right now.
One of turmeric’s active compounds – curcumin – is thought to have real benefits when it comes to getting some decent kip. In a recent 12-week study, participants either consumed curcumin or a placebo. Results showed that the curcumin group improved their sleep quality as rated by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Questionnaire, in comparison to the placebo group.
So why is that? Well, a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) affects cognitive function, learning and memory – and can cause behavioural disorders if out of balance. Curcumin has been shown to improve levels of BDNF – and given the magic that happens during REM sleep – could therefore help with cognitive function, learning and memory.
For that reason, you might want to consider integrating turmeric into your evening routine to help with sleep. After all, it’s quality rather than quantity that really counts.
BONUS TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP
Go dark mode
Light influences the wake stage of sleep – so the darker you can get your room, the more time you’ll get to slip into those sublime restorative stages.
Keep your cool
You’ll fall asleep quicker when your bedroom is slightly cool.
Sack off the screens
Screens are stimulating and keep you awake. Avoid using your phone or computer in bed and you should find it easier to fall asleep.
Cap the caffeine
Set a cut-off time for your caffeine intake. It has a lingering presence for many hours after consumption – so for better sleep efficiency, ditch it at 14:00.
Stick to routine
Try and fall asleep and wake up at similar times each day. This is called sleep consistency and studies have shown it can improve the quality and efficiency of rest each time you hit the hay.
Pick up a handy source of turmeric for your night-time routine right here in our webstore.