Sleep is a naturally necessary practice we take part in daily. The average adult will spend 36 percent of their lives asleep. So, for one-third of this time on Earth, we transition from the vibrant, thoughtful, active organisms of the daylight hours and power down into a quiet state of hibernation for eight hours, in best-case scenarios.

Vital sleep sanctuaries in which we humans adopt a horizontal position of solitary unconsciousness, the bedroom can be treated as a ‘dream vacation’ so to speak. And if things don’t work out well there, well, they won’t work out well in the living room either.

How to benefit most from this mandatory downtime has fascinated researchers for many years. An important fact to consider is that getting a good night’s sleep is an all-day affair. How and where we wake up, what we do during the day and our nightly routine before bed can all affect the quality and quantity of our sleep.

This naturally recurring state of mind and body is characterised by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory movement, reduced muscle activity and that of almost all voluntary muscles during REM rapid eye movement sleep. Plus, totally reduced interactions with our surroundings.

Sleep has traditionally been divided into four stages, which all produce different brain waves as a result of the brain’s electrical activity. These range from light sleep – the first stage – to deep sleep and the rather special REM sleep, and back again.

Getting the right amount of sound sleep plays an important role in physical health. It’s involved in the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels, while ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.

So sleeping well directly affects mental and physical health. Fall short on this and it can take a serious toll on daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance and even weight. However, we humans have much more control over the quality of our sleep than is likely realised. The way we feel during our waking hours often hinges on how well we sleep at night, so a solution for sleep difficulties can often be found in daily routine because unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices can have adverse effects.

Preparing for a good night’s sleep means investing in a good mattress. Remembering that we spend an average of 24 years of life sleeping, a mattress that helps induce sound slumber (not necessarily the most expensive one) is vital. Choose the mattress best suited to both individual morphology and budget. Lie on it, try to test it. Don’t rush the procedure.

For the full article see Habitat #274 November / December 2019 | Habitat Online #4 December / January 2020


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