The Science of Sleep
We all know how important rest is and the struggle we can face without it. So, what happens when we sleep and why do we need it?
Sleep is incredibly important as it helps the brain to function properly. Without it, we are unable to properly process what we’re told and remember things we learned throughout the day. This is why it can be hard to focus on what would usually be fairly straight forward.
Bad or little sleep can lead to many different complications. Some are physical, such as seizures, high blood pressure and increased likelihood of illness and infection. It can also increase the risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia.
Despite knowing all of the factors that are associated with lack of sleep, I was interested to find out what actually happens when we slumber. So, with that in mind, I went away and did some research of my own.
So, What Did I Find?
Sleep is regulated by our circadian rhythm (also known as our body clock). It responds to light cues and ramps up the production of melatonin – a natural hormone known as the ‘sleep hormone’ which tells our body it’s night time. Once the sun starts to go down and we are exposed to less light, melatonin is released into the bloodstream and as levels begin to rise, we start to feel sleepy. (This definitely makes me feel less guilty about feeling so sluggish in wintertime!)
When we sleep, we experience a four-stage cycle. These cycles are often repeated 3-4 times during the night, depending on how good of a sleep we get.
This stage is the transition between being awake and falling asleep once we get comfortable, close our eyes and begin to relax. This usually lasts about 5-10 minutes.
This is when our heart rate and breathing begins to slow down, body temperature drops and our muscles may twitch. This stage is still fairly light and the brain produces sudden increases in brain wave frequency known as sleep spindles.
This is known as the “delta” stage of sleep due to the delta slow brain waves which take place. It is at this particular stage in sleep that the most growth hormone is produced to service bones, muscles and repair the body. At this point, it becomes a little harder for us to be awakened because we become less responsive to outside stimuli.
Stage four is known as REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), the deepest stage of sleep which we usually enter about 90 minutes after initially falling asleep. This is the stage where the brain is most active, the eyes dart back and forth and breathing becomes fast and shallow. It’s also when our dreams take place. Chemicals that are released within the body render it temporarily paralyzed so that we don’t act them out in our sleep. Each REM stage can last up to an hour and an average adult has five to six a night.
After some extensive research into the science of sleep over the past two years, ARK skincare has recently released two new night treatments. Each is packed full of active ingredients that help to aid the body’s natural repair process when we sleep, allowing us to wake up feeling rested and glowing. You can find more information about these here.
This informative video from The Economist explains each stage of sleep in detail which you can watch here
NHS - How To Beat Insomnia
What a peculiar time we’re living in. Strange - isn’t it? We at ARK are just trying our best to count our blessings and take each day as it comes. Whether you are at home, at work, or somewhere in between, we hope that you’re okay and keeping well.
Please do keep in touch with us via social media, or if you wish to contact our customer services team, please email email@example.com or call 02037403303 and leave a message. We are all working from home but will respond to every message we receive. The ARK Skincare website is still operating as normal and we are continuing to ship orders.
With a lot of us now staying inside, we thought we would share some tips on working from home. For this, we asked our newest member of the team Lucy, our new sales and marketing assistant, to share what she has learned in her first week from working from home.
If you’re like me and finding yourself working from home for the first time, you might be still finding out how to adjust. So, I thought it would be a better time than ever to create a guide for working at home and put together some top tips that I’ve learned.
1. Establish a routine
Although you’re at home, there is still work to be done. Of course, your schedule might be a little more relaxed than usual, but it is still important to get a good night's sleep and wake up at a sensible time so you feel fresh and ready for the day. Deciding when you plan to take your lunch and breaks is important too as then you can work around your own guidelines.
2. Create a workspace
While at home, it’s really important to differentiate ‘being at work’ and being at home. Try to find a quiet space to do your work where you aren’t in the way of anybody else. Then, you can create a set up with everything you’ll need. Try your best to keep out of the way of any distractions like the tv, phones or your other family members.
3. Write a daily to-do list
Write yourself a list of things you want to achieve and then order them most to least important. I find starting with the most important first means I can relax a little knowing it's done and don’t rush through any of my other work. It can be really helpful to do this at the end of the working day so you know what has been done and what your priorities are for the next day.
4. Remember to take breaks
Be realistic with the goals you set yourself. It’s not healthy to be sat down all day consumed in one thing. Aim to take short breaks every few hours to allow yourself some time away from a screen. This could be when you take a walk, make your lunch or catch up with a family member.
5. Get some exercise
Without the need to get yourself to your workplace and with gyms being closed, it can be very easy to forget to keep active, but exercise is so important for both physical and mental health. This article by the NHS explains why sitting too much is bad for us and why it is so important to stay active. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a little bit of sun where you are, it's definitely worth getting out and making the most of it, even if it is just for a short walk!
There are also some great pre-filmed workouts online and even some live workout classes being aired on youtube and Instagram which give a great sense of community and encouragement for those who feel like they need a pick me up.
Please don’t allow yourself to get lonely. This is a difficult time for everybody, but we are so blessed to live in a world where we have technology and phones to be able to keep in contact with those around us. Make sure to keep in touch with family and friends by sending pictures and sharing the things that make you smile to keep the conversation flowing!
7. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. This is something new for everyone and we are all still learning to adjust. Some days are bound to be easier than others and that is okay. Try your best to focus on all the little things that bring you joy and be proud of all the things you are able to achieve. We must keep finding the positives and remember that we will get through this.
In the next few posts we will be sharing some ideas of what you can do in your free time while being at home, so keep an eye out if you're in need of some inspiration!
Also, while we're all washing our hands constantly, we have decided to put together a little gift. A free hand & nail cream will be added to any orders £5 or over - helping you to avoid getting dry hands!
We are excited to announce the opening of ARK's first Skincare Boutique.
Visit us and view our whole product range and receive expert advice in a beautiful, tranquil environment.
We offer a free skin prescription service, we will talk you though the range and identify which products will help you the most, with no obligation to buy.
You'll find us at the top the the High Street - ARK Skincare, 14a High Street, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 2JE.