* The outcomes of this diet depend on the person's individual predispositions and cannot be guaranteed in every person. We advise you to consult your doctor before you start a diet programme.
How to fall into good-quality sleep faster
Sleep stages: NON REM and REM
There are different types of sleep stages. During the night, NON REM and REM stages, which differ greatly, alternate several times.
Non REM stage (non rapid eye movement)
- No rapid eye movements occur.
- It accounts for 75–80% of total sleep time.
- Dreams occur only exceptionally in this sleep stage.
- The body regenerates during this stage.
- It is divided into 4 sub-stages:
- NREM1 – transition period from being awake to falling asleep, twitching may occur;
- NREM2 – this stage accounts for 45–55% of the total sleep time;
- NREM3 and NREM4 – the deepest stages of sleep, sometimes nightmares may occur.
REM stage (rapid eye movement)
Sleep and weight loss. How are they related?
Nutritional specialist Jiří Skála says: “In general, people today have significantly reduced the length of sleep. It has been found that if a person sleeps less than 6 hours a day (chronic sleep deprivation) it carries with it a large number of health complications, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, etc.
Lack of sleep disrupts the activity of hormones ghrelin and leptin, which are responsible for regulating food intake. Therefore, we are hungry more often. As a result, we increase our caloric intake, develop poor eating habits and gain weight.
Another hormone that plays a vital role in this is cortisol. Sleep deprivation induces a state similar to the stress response, when sympathetic nervous system is activated. The result is elevated blood pressure and increased cortisol levels, which in the long term contribute to insulin resistance, fat production and reduced leptin function.”
Jirka says: “Increased fatigue after insufficient sleep reduces daily physical activity and contributes to the consummation of energy-dense foods. This puts us into an energy surplus, which again results in gaining weight.”
If you sleep less than 6 hours a day, you can cause yourself a number of health complications including obesity.
What else happens during sleep?
- Blood pressure decreases.
- Breathing and heart rate slow down.
- Growth hormone is released, which makes muscles recover better.
- Immune system strengthens, which can help us to fight disease better.
The Ten Commandments of sleep hygiene
If unpleasant thoughts haunt you in bed, try one trick: Instead of counting sheep think of a movie for every letter in the alphabet (from The Avengers to Zulu). Believe me, it’s quite a feat. It is just better to fall asleep.
Did you know …?
5 herbs for a restful sleep
Lemon balm in addition to soothing insomnia problems helps with headache and calms an upset stomach. You can make lemon balm tea for children as well. If you plant it in your garden, expect it to grow abundantly.
Valerian shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and combats migraines and mental tension.
Chamomile helps you fall asleep, supresses nausea and heartburn.
Breckland thyme induces psychological well-being (acts as a natural antidepressant).
Lavender smells wonderful. Enjoy a bath with lavender oil before going to bed or put a lavender pillow under your pillow.
Problems with falling asleep
Long-term problems with falling asleep and poor quality of sleep are related to neurology. If these problems bother you in the long-term visit some of the sleep-wake disorders centres. They focus on diagnosis, treatment and research of sleep disorders. They deal with
- general sleep disorders,
- sleep-disordered breathing (most famously sleep apnoea),
- narcolepsy or excessive sleepiness,
- sleep movement disorders (e.g. restless legs syndrome),
Author: Tereza Břízová