Every night almost 8 billion people do the same thing. SLEEP. Sleep is fundamental to the daily routine of billions of people all around the world. Approximately a third of our lives are spent asleep. We relax our minds and surrender them the sleep gods, whereas actually, science says it’s a lot more complicated than that. Sleep has a huge impact on cognitive function on those of all ages, and the CDC recommends that all adults regardless of age should get seven or more hours of sleep per night.

  1. The Science of Sleep
  2. Sleep and Mental Health
  3. Top Tips on Sleeping Better
  4. Conclusion
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The Science of Sleep

Sleep is often overlooked by most, but it forms a huge part of your physical and mental wellbeing. The science behind sleep is complex and fascinating and involves multiple different parts of the brain that work together to regulate sleep and wakefulness. Sleep is divided into two main types. REM sleep which is Rapid Eye Movement, and NREM which is Non-REM sleep, which consists of 3 parts. Each stage has a unique role, stage 1 is the transition between being awake and getting to sleep when your muscles and breathing rate relax. Stage 2 is further relaxation like blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Finally stage 3 is deep sleep, once achieved you move into REM sleep where your eyes flicker, and your voluntary muscles are entirely paralysed. To get better sleep you need to spend more time in REM sleep, as this has an impact on a large variety of factors. The importance of sleep is demonstrated in not only being well rested, but also impacts emotions, growth, immunity and decision making to name a few.

Sleep deprivation can also have serious health consequences including an increased risk of chronic health issues like diabetes and obesity. Recognising the importance of sleep and the science behind it is key to combating sleep deprivation and leading to a healthier life. It is important to recognise that it is not just a passive state of rest but is an active process when the day’s events are processed.

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Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep has a powerful impact on our mental health, countless studies show that a good night’s rest can help manage and mitigate the risk of multiple mental health disorders. An example of such is that a paper published by the Columbia University found that the number of sleep disturbances and individual experienced in a night was associated to the increased severity of psychological distress. Sleep deficiency is also related to depression, suicide and risk taking behaviour. Furthermore sleep also helps maintain and develop an individuals cognitive skills, like attention learning and memory. A study conducted by the University of Sheffield suggests that improving an individuals quality of sleep can also have a drastic impact on a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression. Proving it is fundamental to leading a healthy life and prioritising mental health.

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Top Tips on Sleeping Better

1. Stick to a schedule

This one seems self explanatory but sticking to a sleep schedule can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. The CDC recommends adults sleep for at least seven hours each day. By blocking out time to sleep and sticking to a routine it allows you to get to sleep faster by minimising disturbances and reinforces your body’s sleep wake cycle.

2. Reduce blue light exposure

To practice good sleep hygiene practice a device free period before sleeping, doing this reduces your blue light exposure to allow for melatonin production, it also allows you to reduce mental stimulation by devices and apps like TikTok and Facebook.

3. Don’t eat late

Now this is another one that is part of your sleep hygiene, eating late means your body is still digesting food when you should be in bed. Try and avoid eating any heavy meals right before bed.

4. Create the right environment

So this one sounds simple really, but having the right environment to sleep in is fundamental to a good nights sleep. This differs person to person but here are a few things you can do to optimise the environment. Reducing noise, light pollution and other disturbances are key to waking up well rested. Also make sure the room is the right temperature for you to sleep in. Most times a cool room is better than warm, but this can be personal preference. Finally some people prefer light noise to help them get to sleep, so if your having trouble sleeping maybe listen to some relaxing music or white noise to help you get to sleep.

5. Improved diet and exercise

A good diet and adequate exercise is also a big part of sleeping better. For those of you who are coffee fiends, you know who you are, try and ditch the bedtime caffeine and other stimulants like alcohol or nicotine. Stimulants like these are a common cause for sleep problems. Finally regular exercise can help you get to sleep, it allows the body to utilise energy and sleep helps you recuperate and repair overnight. Just try and avoid overexerting yourself right before you go to bed.


In conclusion sleep is a huge part your mental and physical wellbeing, the best sleep occurs during REM cycles when you are in deep sleep, and this can be impacted a whole number of things. The impacts of a lack of sleep can be disastrous and can impact everything from an increased risk of diabetes to increased stress and anxiety. To sleep better follow some of our top tips like sticking to a schedule, reduce blue light exposure and create the right environment.

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