We spend about a third of our lives sleeping – with an average life expectancy of 73 years, this means 24 years of our lives. Therefore, a good night’s sleep is one of our basic needs and thus essential for a balanced and healthy life. Sleep disorders should not be underestimated; they can lead to cardiovascular problems, headaches, lack of concentration and a weakened immune system. But what is a healthy sleep?
Before going to sleep
For a quiet and restful sleep a few rules should be followed before going to bed. With these, most sleep disturbances can be prevented. Relaxation is very important: If you are stressed and not relaxed, the body is also not able to calm down. Take a hot bath, drink a soothing herbal tea and listen to relaxing music – this way, you should be able to quickly forget the stress of the day. It is also important not to eat something immediately before bedtime; otherwise the digestive tract keeps the body awake. However, a short walk before going to sleep is recommended because this leads to physical and mental relaxation. Only go to bed when you are actually tired – better listen to your body than to your watch.
For a healthy sleep the environment is particularly important. As the body can only produce the hormone melatonin, which is important for a good sleep, at night, it is advisable to darken the bedroom at bedtime. Sufficient ventilation is also advisable, in the colder months this can be achieved best by intense ventilation shortly before going to bed. The room should not cool down completely. A room temperature of 16-18 degrees is referred to as optimal, however, one should adjust the temperature to one´s own feeling. Plants should not be placed in the bedroom, as these stop the oxygen production in the dark and instead produce unhealthy dioxide.
In addition to external conditions, our sleep phases are still crucial for our performance and well-being the next morning. At night, we sleep at different depths, and are sometimes even in an almost awake condition without noticing this. After falling asleep, it initially takes about 90 minutes until we get from a light sleep into a deep sleep. At this sleep phase, we dream intensively and long. From this phase, you go back to the phase of light sleep and then slowly to the deep sleep phase again. This sleeping cycle repeats during the night up to 6 times and is responsible for ensuring that we are sensitive to noise at certain times and on the other hand “sleep like a rock.” If you analyze your own sleeping rhythm, you can adjust the time of your alarm clock to the phases of light sleep – this allows you to get up much easier.
Last but not least
In addition to the above tips for a good sleep, some other factors such as the right mattress, the correct pillow, the sleep duration, the feel-good factor in the sleep environment and many other things relevant for a restful night.