Sleep is supposed to be a peaceful and pleasant experience. However, many of our regular habits can hinder this experience. Simple activities from the position you sleep, the amount of sleep you get, the type of mattress you use, and even to the placement of your pillow can have a positive or negative effect depending on what you are doing.
A common myth is that everyone should get 8 hours of sleep per night to be well rested. This is close, but not correct. In order to ensure yourself a good night's sleep, you need to sleep on 1.5 hour intervals. That's right, you need to sleep on 1.5 hour intervals. This is because your rapid eye movement or REM sleep is the deepest sleep you can have. REM sleep cycles on 1.5 hour intervals. That means if you get 30 minutes less sleep or 7.5 hours instead of 8 hours of sleep, you will feel more well rested. The reasoning behind this is that you ended your sleep on a full REM cycle. Even 6 hours of sleep is more beneficial than 8 hours since you are completing 2 full REM cycles. In essence, you can sleep less and have more energy!
Why is it that after a power nap do you not feel so powerful? That is because most people take a quick 20-30 minute power nap and actually wake up less energized. This is from waking up mid REM cycle. If you are going to take a power nap, take it for 1.5 hours since this is how long a full REM cycle of sleep takes. By doing this, you will have more energy.
Another myth is that there is no right way to sleep. This is also false. You should avoid sleeping on your stomach at all costs. Sleeping on your stomach can result in swayback and back strain. This is due to the fact that you are removing the body's natural lower back curve. Sleeping on your side with your knees bent or on your back with a pillow under your knees is the proper way to sleep.
Lastly, the type of mattress is important for a good night's sleep. You want to sleep on a mattress that is firm, but comfortable. Like anything else, this varies from individual to individual. It is important to avoid sleeping on soft and sagging mattresses or cushions with little or no support. You should also never use more than two pillows under your head.
In essence, sleep is supposed to be a peaceful time where you can re-energize to take on the world tomorrow. If you follow these guidelines and ignore common myths, you will ensure yourself a proper and beneficial good night's sleep.