The beginning of each new year is an opportunity for many of us to reflect, analyse what happened, and implement changes. Although after 2020, we may conclude that just ordinariness is enough for us to live better. However, it is worth taking the time to work on our habits, state of happiness, satisfaction, or mental efficiency. The common denominator is the underestimated hero of our everyday life – sleep. Why is it so important?
Even though – to put it simply – we cannot survive without sleep, it is still of secondary importance to us. In the rush of daily duties, we forget about what drives us and gives us the energy to act. We reduce the number of hours we sleep. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” you say. “You get used to not getting enough sleep,” you hear. We, in turn, say that a well-rested person is a happy person. Who is right?
“I have to sleep on it”
All of us have heard this sentence, and we may have even said it at times, but rarely do we think about its justification. Why should we postpone a problem’s solution until the next day? Does sleep magically make the problem disappear? This proclamation couldn’t be further from the truth. Problems are more likely to multiply, and their natural environment seems to be chaos. So it’s better to take care of them now. Or, in this case, the next day.
Research on this subject at the University of California has shown that during REM sleep, the brain processes emotional experiences, freeing us from unpleasant events that we experienced during the day. Our brain then separates the important information from what is less important. In the morning, we can look at the problem from a completely different perspective, and it is easier for us to find a solution. According to scientists, when we are refreshed, our creativity and ability to think abstractly increases.
“New year, new me”
Many of us have made such a bold declaration, especially around New Year’s Eve. The will to change is very often related to our relationships and related behaviours. “I will not argue with my wife as much”, “I will work on controlling my emotions”, or “I will try to avoid conflicts and not provoke them” – are all very common New Year’s resolutions. Meanwhile, behind our “incorrect” behaviour is often … chronic exhaustion.
Did you know that our emotional self-regulation ability drops by up to 80% when we are tired? When the body is overloaded and unable to regenerate, we get into conflicts easier, and we become irritable, sad, and frustrated. Not surprisingly, experts note a correlation between sleep levels and persistent relationship problems. It turns out that couples whose “sleep average” was the lowest in life quarrelled more often and separated sooner. So, maybe instead of getting into an argument, it would be better to take your other half to bed?
Turn on the power assist
Although sleep is every human being’s most basic activity, it can be quite tricky, especially when stress overwhelms us. Persistent tension increases the feeling of fatigue and makes it challenging to enter the deep sleep phases. Instead of stuffing yourself with more pills, it may be better to use non-invasive methods based on scientific research.
One of those methods is the use of a weighted blanket, which looks like the standard one, but its secret lies in its filling. The weighted blanket insert consists of glass microbeads that create a gentle pressure effect. Skin receptors stimulated by pressure send information to the brain about the specific position of the body in any given place and space. The brain then interprets our position as unchallenged (covered), like in the arms of someone close. The result? The production of cortisol (a stress hormone) decreases, and the level of serotonin (the happiness hormone) increases. The body relaxes and, when free of the “fight or flight” response, falls asleep easier, into a deeper and more effective sleep. The results are usually noticeable after just a week.
And now you can rest easy. Good luck!