Sleep accounts for one-quarter to one-third of the human lifespan.
But what exactly happens when you sleep?
When we prepare ourselves for sleep, a complex interplay of physiological processes occurs within our bodies. Networks of sleep-promoting neurons receive chemical signals that initiate the transition into sleep. Certain neurotransmitters are particularly influential in facilitating the onset and maintenance of sleep. Sleep pressure builds up, which leads us to being tired and gradually falling asleep.
Sleep pressure is an unconscious biological response that makes us want to go to sleep.
Without enough sleep pressure, we won’t be able to settle easily or sleep for long.
There are many influencing factors that can increase our sleep pressure, but we all need to find our own unique tools and influencing factors. For example, one study found that taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep.
How is your sleep environment?
One common factor is having a good sleeping environment. This includes complete darkness, decluttered bedrooms, comfiness of your bed and even lavender pillow mist!
tired but can't fall asleep?
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Possibly the most annoying thing… being tired but not being able to fall asleep. If you’re tired yet unable to fall asleep, it could be due to your circadian rhythm being off, daytime napping, anxiety, or many other factors.
The circadian rhythm, explained by sleep specialists, is like an internal timekeeper for everything our bodies do in a 24-hour period, which considers light, dark, and our biological clock to regulate body temperature, metabolism, hormones (including melatonin), and sleep.
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Ditch Your Screens? OR MAYBE NOT
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is key to the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Its production increases in the evening with darkness, promoting sleep and orienting the body’s circadian rhythm. It is possible to naturally increase melatonin levels, which will support a better night’s sleep. Dimming your lights on an evening, reducing screen time, getting sun on your face and cutting back on caffeine can all contribute to increased melatonin. However many Neurodivergent people find that watching something on a screen can help them to relax and switch off…so as usual you need to experiement and find what works for YOU.
Take a Breath
Taking slow, deep breaths is one of the easiest and most basic ways to engage your body’s natural relaxation response, and calm your nervous system. If you find yourself lying awake in bed, start by taking 10 deep breaths. This alone can begin to slow the breath and create a sense of calm.
Soothing your 5 Senses for Quality Sleep
You can help your nervous system through the 5 senses:
Sight: Eye Mask, Low Lighting
Touch: What kinds of fabric do you like to sleep on, Weighted Blanket
Smell: Lavender Scents, Diffuser, Essential Oils
Taste: Food that helps us sleep, Glass of milk before bed, camomile tea.
Ideal sleep, or the best way for you to sleep, is different for everyone!
Some people avoid blue light, while others find watching videos soothing – it’s all about whatever works for you! I
In some circumstances, you do need professional help. Insomnia, snoring, sleep apnoea, sleeplessness and waking up in the middle of the night can be a sign of something larger. It is advised to contact your GP if issues arise.
I was exhausted for a long time…kids, work I just assumed it would get better but finally reached out to my GP and turned out I had Severed Sleep Apnoea. Sleeping with a CPAP machine has changed my life. Igained energy back as I was able to sleep deeply again.
Children affect your sleep too
Sometimes our sleep is affected by our children’s sleep. If everyone is exhausted, your first point of action is making sure everyone can sleep, this is the priority, not routines, not how….just go for the easy solutions. Forget super Nanny.
Many children find sleeping alone in a bedroom quite stressful. Sometimes the best way is to all sleep in one family bed, or other times it works where everyone sleeps separately.
I swear we have had many different sleep arrangements over the years but for most of it, it involved our kids sharing our bed…we ended up moving bedrooms and putting beds next to each other so we could all sleep.
So what's the secret?
The Key To A Great Night’s Sleep:
- Environment. Make it as clutter-free and relaxing as possible.
- Bedtime. What helps you to feel relaxed and ready to sleep?
- Engage your 5 senses.
- Forget society’s norms and sleep where/how works best for you!
FREE GIFTs for a better night sleep below.