As you know, sleep is the most important part of human life. This is a complex physiological state during which the work of the analyzers (sense organs) is suspended. At the same time, the brain continues to function, processing the information received during the day.
Human sleep: phases
There are several phases of sleep, each of which has a certain duration. The totality of all phases is called a cycle. The duration of one cycle is, on average, ninety minutes. Normally, five cycles of sleep should go through a night.
The first phase is the most superficial human sleep. It only lasts five or ten minutes. At this time, melatonin, the sleep hormone, begins to actively stand out.
The second phase is slow sleep. During this longest phase, certain hormones are produced, in particular cortisol, the stress hormone.
The third phase is REM or REM sleep. At this time, a person sees dreams, and his eyeballs are moving rapidly. This phase is most favorable for waking up. Its duration can be different for everyone. It will be short for those who do not have sleep problems. Or, on the contrary, long in people who do not sleep well at night. In the latter case, its duration can be two-thirds of the cycle. After a phase of non-REM sleep, a person may wake up, get out of bed, walk around the apartment, suffering from insomnia, and then fall asleep again.
What to do before bed?
To ensure a healthy, restful sleep, you should properly prepare for sleep and create the right environment.
It is better if the bedroom is used exclusively for its intended purpose. It should not have a TV, computer, tape recorder, radio, loudly ticking clock and other similar devices.
The room should be quiet and dark. If light from the street enters the room at night (lantern, full moon, advertising sign, etc.), you can hang dark curtains or blinds made of opaque material on the window. The light entering the room at night causes the release of hormones, which prevents a person from falling asleep normally. At the same time, the production of melatonin decreases or stops altogether.
Before going to bed, it is recommended to properly ventilate the room. The optimal temperature for sleep is eighteen to twenty degrees. If necessary, you can cover yourself with a blanket. It is worth remembering that it is better to sleep in a cold room under a blanket than in a stuffy one, but without it. The bed should always be dry, clean and fresh.
You can take a shower an hour or an hour and a half before bedtime. During evaporation, the water gives off heat, and the body temperature drops slightly, which favorably affects falling asleep. In addition, before going to bed, you can put a rubber heating pad between your legs. This contributes to the expansion of the vessels of the lower extremities, causing further heat transfer.
Before going to bed, it is important that nothing irritates the analyzers. Otherwise, nerve impulses will enter the brain, which in turn will perceive and process them. Thus, a person deprives himself of the chance to fall asleep normally.
If you wake up early (for example, in the middle of the night) and have no sleep, you should not turn on the TV, get out of bed, etc. In other words, you do not need to involve the senses in the work. After waking up at night, it is better to close your eyelids and try to fall asleep again, entering the phase of slow sleep.
To normalize sleep, there are two groups of drugs. The first group includes antihistamines of the first class — blockers of H1-histamine receptors. These are simple and safe medicines that can be taken occasionally to make it easier to fall asleep and improve the quality of a person’s sleep.
They usually do not have a withdrawal syndrome and they can be used during pregnancy, including nausea, vomiting in pregnant women, during an airplane flight, etc. In the world, such drugs are available without a prescription and in the protocol for treating insomnia are not included. Although in Russia they are sold by prescription.
If you have serious problems with sleep, you need to consult a doctor who will help you find a cure for insomnia. So, if there are problems with falling asleep, benzodiazepine receptor antagonists or melatonin receptor agonists can be used. In the case when the patient is concerned about constant awakenings (poor quality of sleep, early awakenings), the doctor may prescribe sleeping pills or mild antidepressants. If the problem is “combined”, it is possible to take drugs from the group of imidazopyridines — zolpidem.
Interestingly, dark ripe cherries are one of the few foods that contain pure melatonin. Yes, it is melatonin, and not even the precursors or intermediate forms of this important hormone. For people who have trouble falling asleep, cherries will come in handy. However, to achieve the result, you need to eat a fairly large dose of the product — four hundred grams. Alternatively, you can make concentrated cherry juice.
Tryptophan is known to be present in walnuts. This is one of the eight essential amino acids, which is further transformed into serotonin through complex transformations in the body. And serotonin, in turn, is converted to melatonin. Therefore, before going to bed, you can eat a handful — thirty grams (about five pieces) of peeled walnuts.
Not so long ago, foreign scientists conducted an experiment. A large group of subjects who had problems falling asleep were asked to consume two kiwi fruit a few hours before bedtime. In the course of the study, it turned out that the delicacy of this exotic fruit improves falling asleep by thirty percent.
The thing is that kiwi contains a fairly large amount of serotonin, which, with the onset of darkness, is converted in the body into melatonin. And a sufficient amount of melatonin, as you know, makes a person’s sleep quality and allows him to be in the deep sleep phase for the required time without waking up.
It is worth noting that helper products should not be used just before bedtime, but at least two hours before bedtime, and preferably three. The listed products can also be included in the dinner.
Take the test
Many people think that they know everything about the causes of their own fatigue and are also doing everything to overcome it. Try to sincerely answer these simple questions and check whether there really are no secrets for you in your own fatigue …