Seven tricks to sleep well that we have learned from one of the greatest experts in sleep medicine in Spain

Seven tricks to sleep well that we have learned from one of the greatest experts in sleep medicine in Spain

Whether better or worse, more or less hours, we all sleep. However, despite the importance of sleep for life, data from the World Health Organization estimate that Half the world’s population sleeps poorly. And the most serious: This figure is expected to increase if the habits and lifestyle that we lead in modern societies are not modified. But don’t panic, because there are professionals like Dr. Nuria Roure, who have spent years helping people of all ages to have a more restful sleep and wake up rested. She, in particular, has been doing it for fifteen years, moreover, through her own method, the details of which she now shares in a book: I finally sleep (Vergara, 2022)

“Going back to sleep well seems like an impossible mission to someone who has been sleeping poorly for years. How many people have resigned themselves to poor sleep because they believe they can’t do anything to improve their sleep?“, this is how Dr. Nuria Roure begins to break down myths in a book that aspires to change the life (and dreams) of everyone who reads it, and adds: “Many people take it for granted that as one gets older poor sleep is unavoidable. We, the health workers and specialists in sleep disorders, have failed in something when people who begin to have sleep problems throw in the towel and accept this disorder, living it as something normal in their day-to-day life.

Roure speaks knowingly. With a degree in psychology and a doctorate in sleep medicine, she is an accredited specialist in sleep disorders by the European Sleep Research Society and, for more than 10 years, she has also been a member of the Spanish Sleep Society and the Biomedical Research Institute of the UdL . Throughout her years of experience in this field she has been constantly researching and studying all the advances related to sleep pathologies for thus staying at the forefront of new treatments. So yeah, we’re very interested in what you have to say about it.

Because, as she herself says throughout the 224 pages in which she explains a method baptized as “Sleep, Rest, Live”: “what greater satisfaction is felt when, once sleep has been recovered, one feels vital again, serene and healthy. With her book, the doctor has convinced us that do not settle for the loss of quality of life caused by poor sleep. Of course, for your strategy to work you have to follow it to the letter, he warns. Let’s see some things that we have learned and that have been useful to us in this fight:

I'm finally sleeping: The definitive method for a good rest (Practical book)

I’m finally sleeping: The definitive method for a good rest (Practical book)

Sleep is not independent of wakefulness

“The vigil and the dream form a whole, they are complementary and they need each other”, affirms the doctor in which it is the premise from which her method starts. Namely, our life affects our sleep and our sleep affects our life and we cannot separate them or understand one thing without the other. “Sleep starts to take shape when we wake up in the morning. Everything we do during daytime will affect our sleep,” explains Roure further.

The dream begins to develop from the moment we wake up

It’s known that our brain takes about sixteen hours to manufacture sleep. It’s what’s known as “sleep pressure” and this is something that starts to build the moment we wake up in the morning. As the expert explains, we need to spend enough time awake to be able to manufacture the night’s sleep. Thus, if you get up at half past seven, you should arrive well at the end of the day and hold on with energy until bedtime, around eleven at night. “If we’ve slept well and long enough at night we shouldn’t be sleepy during the day.”

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Walk through the door of sleep when it opens

As detailed in I finally sleepthe ideal time to sleep usually appears in adults around half past ten or eleven, and in children around eight or half past eight. It manifests itself with high sleep pressure and decreased alertness (regulated by the circadian system: our internal clock that is guided by sunlight, noise, routines…).

This ideal moment is what experts in the field call “the gate of sleep.” Normally, this opens when we have been between sixteen and eighteen hours without sleep and we feel sleep pressure, there is no light and melatonin levels are adequate. It is then that we easily fall asleep.

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Nevertheless, If we don’t pay attention to the signs (drowsiness, drooping eyelids, muscle strain…) and we let the door of sleep close, just as if we try to open it before time, we will find it difficult to sleep. This happens to us, for example, when we ignore the signs when we want to finish watching a movie or finish the chapter of a book, “forcing” wakefulness. Later, when we go to bed, it will be very difficult for us to fall asleep, according to the doctor.

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Sleep comes and goes naturally

It may be that, by normalizing insomnia and easily solving it with sleeping pills, we may have healthy forgotten that it is normal “for sleep to come and go naturally” and, if it does not, “it means that there is a sleep disturbance that , if it persists, it could generate a sleep pathology”, explains Roure.

Virtually everyone has trouble sleeping at some point in their lives, but the book specifies that we speak of insomnia when difficulties appear to sleep at least three days a week for a month. If these last more than three months, it is considered chronic insomnia. In both cases it is very important to know how to identify the cause that is generating this difficulty sleeping because “insomnia is a symptom”.

That is why, despite the fact that under normal conditions sleep appears naturally, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare it. The doctor affirms that sleeping well “depends on our behaviors, our thoughts, our routines and our emotions. That is why sleep problems have a solution, and the solution is within our reach.” Of course, the reasons why we sleep badly can be many and there are more than forty causes of sleep disturbance…

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Control our nightly routine

Most people perform automatic rituals at night that inform the brain that bedtime is approaching and that, therefore, it has to start relaxing. Some examples that Roure gives in the book are: clearing the table, going to the bathroom, brushing our teeth, reading a story to our children… “Those routines before going to sleep are very beneficial, always repeating the same thing more or less at the same time and in the same places helps the brain to facilitate the entry into sleep“.

According to the doctor, when we sleep well, “when we finish our routines and enter our room, our brain associates the environment and the bed with the moment of sleep. We lie down and turn off the light, and soon the dream appears in U.S”. On the other hand, when we do not sleep well, we adopt behaviors close to bedtime, in our bed or in our room, “that are not typical of sleep and rest. This confuses the brain, which no longer knows when or where to sleep. We’re sending you the wrong signals“.

This affects our health and our body not getting enough sleep

The bed is only for sleeping

For sleep experts like Nuria Roure, there is a golden rule and that is that “you only sleep in bed and in bed you only sleep. This would be the key to re-associate the bed (and its environment) with sleep in our brain.” That is, we will not sleep anywhere other than the bed and we will not use the bed for anything other than sleeping. Although the sex is allowed, tranquility, but not activities such as reading; watching television; looking at the mobile; working; answering the email…

In fact, everything that requires concentration will be carried out outside the bedroom. However, the doctor makes a concession about reading for those who like to do it in bed and before going to sleep: “we can read a paper book, as long as it helps us to relax and only for about 20 or 25 minutes. If a novel hooks us, has us on edge and we can’t stop reading, it’s not a good book for bed.”

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Always get up at the same time

As we have already seen, the brain needs to be awake between sixteen and eighteen hours for sleep to appear. Establishing a regular time to wake up will help us to fall asleep at the same time.points out the expert.

In the case of not having a fixed work schedule or a morning obligation, we should try set a time to get up that we can keep most days and the rest with a margin of 30 minutes Of diference. In addition, on weekends we should try not to move the time of getting up more than 60 minutes.

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