SHA Magazine Health & Beauty
How to measure and improve sleep quality
Getting the necessary restful sleep every night is essential for optimal health and wellbeing
Sleep is the main repairing process of the organism and one of the fundamental elements, together with diet and physical activity, to obtain an optimal state of health and wellbeing. As Vicente Mera, a specialist in Sleep Medicine at SHA Wellness Clinic, tells us, “rest is a vital restorative mechanism because it helps strengthen the immune system, improves cognitive abilities and mood, balances hormone levels, helps maintain a healthy weight, increases energy levels, reduces the risk of suffering from certain diseases (such as diabetes or depression) and prevents premature ageing. In addition, during the rest period, the brain eliminates unnecessary information, which directly influences memory“.
The problem is that, according to the Spanish Society of Neurology, between 20 – 48% of the Spanish adult population suffers from difficulties in initiating or maintaining sleep, with insomnia, restless legs syndrome, apneas and hypopneas being the most common disorders. In other words, more than 12 million people in Spain do not enjoy quality rest and wake up with the feeling of not having had a good night’s sleep, or end the day fatigued.
The good news is that sleep is a habit and, just as it can be lost, it can be regained. Dr. Mera explains what factors influence its architecture and what technologies SHA uses to measure them. “In our Sleep Laboratory, we have pioneering technologies that allow us to monitor the most important parameters involved in both the quantity and quality of sleep, such as latency (the time it takes to initiate sleep), awakenings, the intensity of snoring, the number of apneas (total interruption of breathing during sleep) and hypopneas (partial interruption) per hour, body temperature, heart rate variability, cortisol/melatonin curve before and after photostimulation or blood pressure. To collect all the relevant information, we have different technologies available, such as electroencephalography, which records sleep phases and cycles; electromyography, which measures jaw muscle tension; accelerometry of nocturnal movements, which evaluates the duration of the REM phase; or electrooculography, which monitors eye movements“.
In addition, and so that guests can improve their state of health and wellbeing while they sleep, SHA has just incorporated three HOGO sleep systems, located in the Royal Suites and in the Presidential Suite. Scientific publications confirm that sleeping on HOGO promotes mental balance, reduces oxidative stress, promotes cell regeneration, improves the functionality of the immune system and reduces biomarkers of biological age. All this is possible thanks to the revolutionary design of its ecological cotton cover, which incorporates a patented graphite and silver mesh capable of channeling and absorbing the electromagnetic radiation that the organism has acquired throughout the day and eliminating it through an earth connection. So with HOGO, you don’t just sleep, you get a new lease of life.
6 tips for better sleep
Dr. Mera gives us six sleep hygiene guidelines that improve both the quantity and quality of sleep.
- Prepare for sleep, always before midnight, by practicing some relaxing activity, such as yoga, meditation or conscious breathing.
- Dinner should be light and should end two to three hours before bedtime to give your body enough time for proper digestion. Dine on healthy foods rich in magnesium (nuts and green leafy vegetables), vitamin B6 (fish), calcium (sesame), and tryptophan (legumes, seaweed, seeds) – an amino acid essential in the production of two hormones that regulate rest: serotonin and melatonin. In addition, you should avoid spicy foods, fats, tobacco and alcohol as they affect the nervous system.
- Do constant and moderate physical exercise, but never at night.
- Avoid nocturnal activities in bed that make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, such as watching television, reading or checking social networks.
- Create a conducive environment: the room should be in complete darkness, well ventilated but not draughty, and free of noise and electronic devices. You should also avoid strong aromas and extreme temperatures (22.5°C is ideal).
- Without a comfortable bed it is impossible to sleep well. The perfect mattress should be hard, but adaptable, and with a pillow that allows you to place and keep your head and body in the fetal position.