An aspect of our lives that has a significant impact on our mental health is our ability to get a good night’s sleep. We spoke to Karl Rollins, sleep management expert for a comment on how sleep affects mood.
Is there a certain sleep cycle we should all adhere to?
“Absolutely, our own one and we shouldn’t deviate from it!”
We humans all adhere to our Circadian rhythms or the 24-hour sleep/wake cycle. Within that 24-hour period we are awake, active, sleep then awake again. However, the actual timing of this differs from person to person because we are governed by our genetics on this one.
It’s called our ‘Chronotype’. There are two main types: Morning Larks or Night Owls. Larks naturally go to bed and get up early and Owls are the opposite. Most people fall into one of these two categories. This harps back to when we were cave-dwelling hunter/gatherers. To ensure we would be successful with our endeavours (and to increase our safety) there were effectively two shifts, morning, and evening.
Simple Sleeping Habits:
- “Don’t force yourself to stay up all night if you’re a Lark and don’t take yourself off to bed at nine o’clock in the evening if you’re an Owl.”
Accept your genetic propensity to sleep and stick to it, you’ll notice a decrease in stress and an increase in vitality.
- “Another habit to acquire is to ditch the tech an hour before bed and make the sleep environment as dark as possible.”
This gives the brain a very clear signal to start producing the sleep hormone melatonin.
In the morning, get as much light into the eyes as possible, this stops melatonin production.
- “Another recommendation is to stay hydrated but avoid sugary drinks.”
This is all simple and obvious, but the best advice usually is.
“A thing to remember about sleep is that it is a very complex series of 90-minute cycles which are broken down into stages. Each stage performs a different task and one of these is to repair damaged cells and flush out toxins. This can only happen when we allow a cycle to complete and are hydrated enough for efficient flushing. When we sleep well, we feel well. I don’t know about you but when I’ve had a great night’s sleep my stress levels are low, my productivity is high, and I feel like I can cope with life so much easier.”