We all have that one friend who stays up binge-watching a TV show, one that sleeps for 3 hours a night and runs on coffee fumes and one whose eyes look like bags of dark skin.
Beauty sleep is one thing – Sleeping well is another. We caught up with sleep expert, Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist and Medical Director at London Sleep Centre, to ask him about the essentials of getting your zzz’s.
1. Just because you’re ‘tired’ doesn’t mean you’re ‘sleepy’
Sleepiness and fatigue are separate, connected yet not co-dependent. According to Dr. Ebrahim, our drive to sleep is determined by three things:
How much we’ve slept in the last 24 hours, what the quality of that sleep was [environmental disturbances, disorders], and your body’s Circadian rhythm [built in “clock”] that drives us either to be sleepy or wakeful.
We dug into it and guess what? The jury is still out on why humans need to sleep, while the benefits of getting adequate rest are quite clear.
2. Just because you don’t remember your dreams doesn’t mean you didn’t have any
The LSC expert revealed to is that there’s no such thing as dreamless sleep. Going through the REM cycle [and as recent research shows, non-REM], we all dream when in deep sleep. Sometimes, they’re not quite as memorable.
The difference between the two according to The National Sleep Research Project:
REM dreams are characterised by bizarre plots, but non-REM dreams are repetitive and thought-like, with little imagery – obsessively returning to a suspicion you left your mobile phone somewhere, for example.
3. Your brain can make up sleep debt – up to a point
Dr. Ebrahim explains that our brain makes “more efficient use of your sleep time when you do go to sleep after having lost sleep.“
Additionally, if you need to make up lost sleep the brain will make you sleepy since the symptom of sleepiness is the strongest indicator that you not getting enough (quantity) or good enough (quality) sleep.
4. The one hour before bed-time is crucial
Your phone can disturb your sleep. No, not when it rings. Dr. Ebrahim says
Overuse of your electronic devices, particularly in the one-hour before bedtime, places you at an increased risk of sleep disruption.
Having trouble sleeping? Inculcate these 10 tips from London Sleep Centre into your bedtime routine.
The doctor recommends Magnesium & Melatonin taken one hour before bedtime if you’re having trouble falling asleep.
London Sleep Centre, located on Harley Street in London, has a holistic approach to and treating diagnosing sleep disorders. Take the test to find out if you may have a sleep problem.