Sleep well series, part 1: Well rested?
In the context of a multi-part series the editorship team of FindMyHome.at Premium Living concerns itself in detail with the topic sleep. What does good sleep mean and how much of it is necessary? What is the role of choosing the right bed, mattress, etc. – and how do I find them?
You’ll find everything you need to know about the topic here on our blog every Wednesday for the next few weeks. And we start right away with the most important thing – what does good sleep mean?
We sleep through about a third of our lives. While we do this, complex processes take place and ensure that we wake up rested in the morning.
Mostly it is paid far too little attention – our sleep. It is only when there are problems falling asleep and staying asleep that we turn our attention to it. Sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being: While we sleep, our immune system is strengthened, harmful substances are expelled in the course of metabolic processes, and growth hormones are produced to renew cells. At the same time, our brain processes the impressions of the past day and stores some of them. What happens when depends on which sleep phase we are in.
The four phases of sleep
Fall asleep phase: This first phase marks the transition from wakefulness to sleep. The body relaxes, one falls into a light twilight state.
Light sleep phase: In this second phase, the processes deepen, as it were: the heart rate decreases, the body temperature drops, the relaxation becomes deeper. At the same time, brain activity decreases significantly.
Deep sleep phase: The third phase of sleep is characterized by maximum relaxation. This leads to the fact that the organism can start regeneration. This is one of the reasons why the deep sleep phase is considered the most important phase of our sleep.
Dream sleep phase: This fourth sleep phase is also known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Brain activity picks up again, and dreams become particularly vivid, as evidenced by the sleeper’s rapid, jerky eye movements, among other things.
Healthy sleepers go through these four stages, known as the sleep cycle, about four to seven times per night. The average duration of a sleep cycle is between 90 and 110 minutes.
The role of hormones
Hormones play a central role in the human body. When it comes to sleep, these are mainly melatonin and cortisol. The former is released more in the dark and makes us feel tired. When it gets light, the concentration of melatonin decreases again. The stress hormone cortisol, on the other hand, whose concentration is highest between six and eight in the morning, ensures that we wake up.
But other hormones are also involved during our sleep: The growth hormone somatotropin, for example, ensures cell regeneration and repair, while leptin reduces the feeling of hunger at night. In women, estrogen and progesterone also have a positive effect on sleep. If these hormones decrease during menopause, this can lead to sleep disorders.
Some people get by on four or five hours of sleep, while others need at least eight or nine hours – individual sleep needs vary greatly. In any case, it is important that the quality of sleep does not suffer and that the deep sleep phase is reached several times per night.
Consequences of sleep disorders
If the quality of sleep suffers, this can have a variety of health consequences. These can even be massive if there is a persistent lack of sleep due to sleep disorders. The spectrum ranges from irritability and concentration problems to a drop in performance and increased susceptibility to infectious, cardiovascular or metabolic diseases, diabetes and an accelerated aging process.
Getting a good night’s sleep is therefore essential. What you can do about it, read next week in this blog: Tips for a healthy sleep.
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