What do our brains do while we sleep?
What do our brains do while we sleep?

There are few things more satisfying than a great night’s sleep, but there are times where it can feel like a royal waste of time. Let’s face it, time is money and there’s money to be made, not to mention adventures and life to live. As most strive for a quality life over a “live hard, die young” philosophy, power sleep is one of the best ways to take advantage of your downtime.

Research indicates that sleeping 6-8 hours a day can not only extend your life expectancy, but creates an environment where your body and mind perform optimally, ensuring you’re the best version of yourself in your waking hours. 

Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to stress, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, diabetes and a string of avoidable issues. If you’re looking to up your life game, learn how to sleep right. Heres how!

Get No Less Than 6 Hours Sleep

Studies show that you need to get in at least 6 hours of sleep a night to function at your best and, live a longer life. In the study of just under 10 000 subjects, less than 6 hours was associated with a 12% increase in mortality risk.

The exact reason why too little sleep is detrimental to your health is unclear to scientists. Theories, however, point to a lack of sleep increases levels of inflammation in the body, an increase in stress hormones and even increased appetite. This can lead to overeating and other related health issues.

Sleep No More Than 8 Hours a Night

So there’s such a thing as too little, what about too much of a good thing? 

The same study showed that sleeping too much had an even worse impact on life expectancy. The researchers uncovered that more than 8 hours of sleep a night pointed to a 30% increase in mortality risk.

Researchers suspected that underlying health problems are what cause individuals to sleep longer hours. Treating those health issues would ultimately restore health and help the body to take on normal sleep patterns without feeling exhausted.

Focus on Sleep Quality

Quality sleep, supports a sharp mind with superior processing ability, who wouldn’t want to make both larger life choices and low level decisions with purpose and mental clarity?

In an ideal sleep environment, a person’s first sleep cycle takes around 90 minutes. The average person will go through four to five sleep cycles per night, each lasting between 100 and 120 minutes. Sleep trackers are excellent tools to help you measure your sleep quality.

Natural Sleep Hacks

The reality is, more often than not, there’s something that keeps you tossing and turning. If sleep is eluding you, there are a few basic sleep hacks you can apply in your bedroom to ensure you get some quality shut-eye.

  • Comfort is Key: Try and maintain a constant temperature in the room and ensure the mattress you’re sleeping on provides the right support to avoid waking from aches and pains. Your your sleeping style impacts on your spine alignment so pick out the best pillow for combination sleepers if you are prone to sleeping on your back, stomach and sides.

  • Eliminate Noise: If noise is a problem, invest in noise cancelling products. This could be anything from ear plugs, curtains or carpets help to absorb noise from neighbors or city living.

  • Block Out Light: Lined curtains which not only dampen noise, but block out light. Avoid devices before bedtime as Blue Light emitted by devices suppresses the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin and will make it harder for you to fall asleep.

  • Clean Air: Sleep can be interrupted by allergens in your room, mattress or bedding. If you are an allergy sufferer, choose products that eliminate spores and dust mites. Install an air purifier in the room to remove pollutants from the air.

  • Essential Oils: Essential oils have also proven to calm the nerves and help towards better  sleep. A widely used and affordable option is lavender, but if you want to take your sleep next level, invest in products made from the wood of the Stone Pine tree.

Not only does it have a calming effect, but Stone Pine contains flavonoids (plant chemicals with antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties) that significantly reduce a person’s heart rate. According to scientific studies, it can save you up to 3 500 heart beats per night and extend your life by reducing stress on your heart. Mattresses and pillows can be infused with fine shavings from the tree.

  • Avoid Certain Foods: Spicy foods and heavy meals high in protein disrupt sleep when eaten too close to bedtime because they are harder for the digestive system to break down. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine.

  • Supplements: Magnesium, calcium, B6 will help tip the scales towards relaxation and a great night’s rest. Most of these vitamins and minerals are available in over the counter supplements if your diet is less than ideal.

To sum it up, you can’t “cheat” yourself out of getting the right amount of sleep. The sweet spot is a perfect 7 hours of quality rest and a resulting lower mortality rate. The fact that you get to live longer makes going to bed a little earlier way more appealing. 

Obvious side effects from a good night’s rest are that its mood-enhancing, it improves your immune system, your metabolism, and your overall health. 

While we’re on the topic of a longer life, scientists are not unclear about the direct link between health and life expectancy while smoking, drinking alcohol, and a lack of physical activity. Let us know what your most challenging vices would be to give up, and if sleeping 7 hours a night is worth living a longer life?


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