How to Get More Restorative Sleep & Why It's Important
Are you sleeping through the night yet still find yourself waking up feeling tired or groggy instead of revitalized and ready to take on the day? You’re not alone. While you may be getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, that sleep may not be what experts consider restorative sleep.
There are a number of factors that may disrupt restorative sleep, leaving you running on empty by midday. We’re taking a look at how to get more restorative sleep and why it’s important to your overall health and wellness.
What Is Restorative Sleep?
Not all sleep is the same. In fact, there are different stages of sleep commonly referred to as the sleep cycle. Each sleep cycle is made up of four stages, and the average person getting proper sleep each night goes through four to six of these cycles while they snooze. The cycle is broken down into:
- Stage 1: Non-REM sleep referred to as N1 (1-7 minutes)
- Stage 2: Non-REM sleep referred to as N2 (10-25 minutes)
- Stage 3: Non-REM sleep known as N3 or deep sleep (20-40 minutes)
- Stage 4: REM sleep (10-60 minutes)
So what is restorative sleep? Of these four stages, the last two are what is collectively referred to as restorative sleep and are when your body and mind experience the most healing.
Benefits of Restorative Sleep
Your body and brain may be at rest, but there’s a lot happening while you sleep that facilitates healing, re-energizes your body, and improves cognitive function. Scientists and medical experts continue to study how sleep impacts the body, but current evidence has shown that learning how to improve restorative sleep may lead to:
- Muscle repair
- Better memory
- Improved problem-solving capabilities
- More creativity
- Tissue growth
- Stress reduction
- Stronger immune system
The numerous benefits restorative sleep provides make it invaluable to your overall health and wellness. While learning how to get more restorative sleep may bolster these benefits, sleep deprivation can have a negative impact and put you at an elevated risk for health conditions like obesity, heart disease, mental health deterioration, and more.
How to Get More Restorative Sleep By Avoiding Disruptors
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the potential benefits, let’s take a look at how to get more restorative sleep by avoiding disruptors. Common disruptors to restorative sleep include:
- Elevated stress levels
- Screen time before bed
- Sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea
- Excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Certain medications
Reduce Elevated Stress Levels
One of the biggest impediments facing people seeking out how to get more restorative sleep is stress. Stress is a part of our daily lives and raises our cortisol levels, the natural “stress hormone” produced by our bodies. Left unchecked, the long-term effects of stress on the body can progress to more widespread mental and physical deterioration.
There are a plethora of options for how to lower cortisol levels naturally and manage your stress each day. One popular method is with mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation gives you the opportunity to center your mind and focus on the present, acknowledging your thoughts without judgment. It’s a great way to calm your mind and body before bed, making it a contributing activity for how to get more restorative sleep.
Other activities people have integrated into their daily routine as part of how to improve restorative sleep include using a zero gravity chair to reduce stress. These modern recliners are more than just your average chair, offering a wide variety of potential health benefits for the mind and body. Integrate a zero gravity chair into a relaxing night time routine in order to help lower stress levels while simultaneously enhancing how the body heals itself for a more holistic approach to your overall wellness.
Bonus: Learn how to combine these stress management techniques in our guide for 5 ways to reduce stress with zero gravity meditation after you finish this article.
Reduce Screen Time Before Bed
We live in a world filled with screens. Chances are high that you carry one around in your pocket or handbag all day long in the form of a phone. Did you know that your nightly routine of unwinding while watching TV until it’s time for bed may actually be detracting from restorative sleep?
Screen time right up until bed is actually counterproductive to learning how to get more restorative sleep. Blue light emitted from screens such as phones, television, tablets, or computers counteract our normal circadian rhythm, suppressing melatonin levels and delaying our body’s inclination to become sleepy. Even if you do go to sleep afterward, it may be more difficult for you to stay asleep, resulting in poor sleep quality.
To avoid this restorative sleep disruptor, turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Ideally, you’ll turn off screens an hour or more beforehand to allow your body time to prepare itself to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Treat Common Sleep Disorders
Next up as we discuss how to get more restorative sleep by avoiding common disruptors come sleep disorders. Common sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia can have a large impact on your sleep cycle, preventing you from achieving restorative sleep and waking up feeling exhausted.
In addition to being counterproductive to how to get more restorative sleep, both insomnia and sleep apnea come with elevated risks for conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It’s crucial that you consult your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of these conditions in order to develop a plan for treatment.
Once more, those living with sleep disorders have turned to the benefits of zero gravity chairs as they seek out how to improve restorative sleep. The reclining design of the zero gravity position helps improve sleep quality and alleviate common symptoms and catalysts of common sleep disorders, helping you get the good night’s rest your body needs. Bonus features like heat therapy and massage features enhance the experience further, providing you a safer sleep position and deeper relaxation so you can go to sleep and stay asleep.
Avoid Excessive Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
As you may have expected, excessive caffeine or alcohol intake can also be counterproductive for those learning how to get more restorative sleep.
Caffeine intake too close to bed or excessively throughout the day reduces the amount of deep sleep your body is able to achieve. As “deep sleep” is one of the two stages of the sleep cycle considered part of restorative sleep, the impact here is clear. Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant that can lead to feelings of sleepiness, but excessive consumption has also been linked to symptoms of insomnia and poor sleep quality.
To avoid these disruptors, reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption in the late evening so your body has more time to process it without interrupting sleep quality. For caffeine intake, consider switching to non-caffeinated herbal teas or decaf coffee at a certain point each day.
Be Aware of How Medications Affect Restorative Sleep
Last, but not least, as you’re seeking out methods for how to get restorative sleep, talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of any medications you may be taking. Some medications may have adverse side effects that impact your ability to achieve deep sleep or REM sleep stages. If you’re experiencing these disruptors, consult your doctor about possible alternatives.
Learning how to get more restorative sleep is crucial to your overall health and well-being. Experts have shown its correlation to different areas of bodily healing as well as mental health improvement. If you’re waking up tired, consider the common disruptors we’ve explored, see what small changes you could make, and how they may have a positive impact.
Ready to wake up feeling reenergized? Learn more about how zero gravity chairs improve sleep quality then take the time to compare zero gravity chairs to determine which is best for your needs.