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Two girls sleeping in grey bed

Understand the importance of sleep

You spend around one-third of your life sleeping. Sleep is essential and nearly as important to our bodies as breathing, eating, and drinking. With good enough sleep, you can maintain good physical and mental health.

Our brain, physical energy, and our memory will recover when we sleep. So, to reach your full potential it is necessary to get enough sleep. In the long run, too little sleep can have severe consequences.

Use the 90-minute sleep strategy

Our sleep occurs in several cycles, which in turn consist of different sleep phases. With a cycle being around 90 minutes long. This typical structure can be made visible by measuring electrical activity in the brain. There are lots of individual differences in cycle length and the variation may be from around 60 to 110 minutes.

When you wake up shortly after a sleep cycle is completed, you will feel much more refreshed than when you interrupt one. It can therefore be a good idea to plan your sleep according to this rule.

There are plenty of calculators online that can show you when to get up, so you don’t interrupt a sleep cycle. For example, if you want to get up at 6 a.m., according to the calculator, you should go to bed at 8:45 or at 10:15.

If it gets later, you can also go to bed at 11:45 or 1:15, but these are not recommended because of the low amount of sleep cycles that you will go through.

Consequences of bad and too little sleep

“Humans are not sleeping the way nature intended. The number of sleep bouts, the duration of sleep, and when sleep occurs have all been comprehensively distorted by modernity.”

― Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality weaken the performance of the immune system. This can increase susceptibility to colds and infectious diseases. People with a bad sleeping pattern fall ill three to four times more often than people with enough healthy sleep. This effect can already be observed in people who sleep only five to six hours a night for two weeks.

In the long term, a weakened immune system is associated not only with flu-like symptoms but can also have a variety of other more severe consequences. If you experience trouble sleeping for a longer period, it is important that you consult a doctor to find a solution. A doctor can make a diagnosis and treat medical conditions.

Lack of concentration due to lack of sleep

Those who get too little sleep will probably experience concentration problems. Forgetfulness, especially when choosing words, is the first sign. You might get distracted quickly and even routine tasks can cost extra effort to accomplish.

This is due to a brain in need of rest, where, due to lack of sleep, the functionality between short - and long-term memory is reduced. Additionally, the ability to react decreases. Under certain circumstances, this can be dangerous when you drive or if you are operating heavy machinery.

Create a good sleeping environment

It is important that we sleep in an optimal environment and lie on a good mattress. You can learn more about this in our bed guide, which answers both big and small about how to choose the right mattress.

Read our Bed Guide

“Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker, PhD.

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