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Science of Sleep: Improving Sleep Quality Naturally

Navigating life's chaos? Work stress, anxiety, or study pressure keeping you up? Discover the secrets to better sleep by understanding its stages.

Many of us find it challenging to maintain a healthy sleep schedule especially with all the demands of daily life, whether it's due to anxiety, work responsibilities, or academic pressures. Establishing a consistent and restful sleep routine can seem difficult, but understanding the different stages of sleep can provide valuable insight into optimizing our restorative rest. 

The Four Stages of Sleep

Let's break down the four stages of the sleep cycle and talk about what happens during each. The first stage, known as NREM One (Non-Rapid Eye Movement), is the initial phase of the cycle and is characterized by light sleep lasting around 1-7 minutes. During this stage, our bodies are not yet fully relaxed, and brain activity begins to slow down. Following this, we enter NREM Two, where our body temperature decreases, muscles relax, and brain activity further slows. This stage typically lasts for 10-25 minutes and sets the stage for deeper sleep to come. Deep sleep, or NREM Three, is where things get truly restorative. It becomes increasingly difficult to wake someone up during this stage as breath rate, pulse, and muscle tone decrease. Delta waves dominate the brain's activity, earning this stage the nickname "Delta Sleep." Lasting for 20-40 minutes, deep sleep is crucial for bodily recovery, growth, and immunity. Finally, we reach REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, where brain activity increases, vivid dreams occur, and memory consolidation takes place. The only muscles intended to move during this stage are those responsible for eye movement and breathing. REM sleep constitutes about 25% of an adult's total sleep duration and is essential for cognitive function and emotional regulation.

Creating a Consistent Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep

Now that we've explored the stages of the sleep cycle, let's discuss strategies for achieving a proper nightly schedule. Adults are recommended to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but establishing a consistent bedtime routine is equally important. By determining our desired wake-up time and working backward to establish a routine, we can ensure we're getting the rest we need. Avoiding heavy meals a few hours before bedtime and incorporating red light therapy into our nightly routine can also promote better sleep quality. Additionally, creating a screen-free period before bedtime can mitigate disruptions from blue light exposure, ensuring a smoother transition into restful sleep.

Enhancing Sleep Quality with Nutritious Bedtime Snacks

When it comes to bedtime snacks, tart cherries and nuts are known to aid the sleep process. Tart cherry juice, in particular, has been shown to improve sleep quality by reducing inflammation and promoting relaxation. Similarly, nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews are rich in melatonin, zinc, and magnesium, contributing to better sleep. Incorporating these nutritious options into our evening routine can support overall sleep quality and promote a healthier sleep pattern.

The Sleepy Girl Mocktail: A Secret Weapon for Better Sleep

Here's a simple and fun recipe to experiment with an hour before bedtime! 


  • ½ Cup Tart Cherry Juice

  • 1 TBSP Magnesium Powder 

  • Sparkling Water or Prebiotic Soda

Stir everything together and enjoy! 

While I haven’t yet tried it with magnesium, I've experienced positive effects from just the tart cherry juice alone, which has helped me to sleep. It's worth noting that magnesium is recognized as a muscle relaxant, potentially aiding in relaxation. However, it's essential to remember that this recipe is intended as a fun experiment and not as a cure for sleeplessness.

Let us know if you tried it and if it helped you at all!

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1 Comment

great sleep article and sleep tips, thank you🤗

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