Better sleep to live better

Difficulties falling asleep, awakenings during the night, early awakening, poor quality sleep … Those who sleep poorly are familiar with these disorders. However, there are simple ways to prepare the body for sleep and sleep better.

Good sleep is essential not to feel tired of course, but also to optimize your cognitive performance (memory, concentration), boost your metabolism ( prevention of obesity and diabetes), strengthen your immune defenses … sleep also, the brain secretes growth hormone which makes children grow taller and promotes cell renewal. In short, worrying about your sleep is important.

But we are not equal when it comes to sleep: some go to bed late, others go to bed early, one is a long sleeper, the other only needs six hours of sleep a night, and still others. fall asleep when and where they want, while their sleepy neighbors can’t afford any deviation if they want to recover. These trends change little over the course of life, so it is important to understand your sleep needs to better meet them.

Because sleeping little or having choppy nights is not always synonymous with insomnia. Some people live very well like this and stay in bed all day long. If, on the other hand, you feel tired in the morning, you have difficulty concentrating or carrying out your daily tasks, you are sad, irritable, this means that your sleep is insufficient or in quantity or / and in quality.


A good night’s sleep can be prepared throughout the day, by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. After 4 p.m., we ban all stimulants: alcohol, tobacco, but also coffee . And it’s even worse if it is lying down, because it is then richer in caffeine. At dinner, we eat slow sugars so as not to feel hungry during the night, and we avoid dishes with sauce and overly hearty meals that make digestion more difficult. During the meal and throughout the evening, we also avoid drinking too much (soup, herbal tea, water) and completely empty our bladder before going to bed

In his room , we make the dark, we make sure that the temperature does not exceed 18 ° C and we go to bed at the first signs of sleep (yawning, itchy or fluttering eyes …), without too much cover. Do these tips seem outdated to you? Of course, there is nothing revolutionary about them, but they are the basis for good sleep. And specialists find that they are too often forgotten in our hectic pace of life.


If we compare sleep to an airplane, in order for it to take off on time, it must be receiving the right signals. The first comes from our biological clock . Synchronized in particular by light, it indicates whether it is time to sleep (drop in blood pressure, slowing heart rate) or on the contrary to wake up. The second, which depends on our activity and our state of vigilance, specifies if it is day or if it is night. When these two signals are synchronized, takeoff is perfect and night flight satisfactory.

All you need to do is send a signal opposite to your internal clock, for example by exposing yourself to light from a computer screen, tablet or other e-reader before sleeping or at night, to miss your flight. . Likewise, if you go to bed because it’s time or your partner is tired, and not because you want to sleep, the plane will take off without you.

Experts now know that a large number of insomnia is in fact simply due to conflicting messages that we send to our biological clock. The first thing to do is to synchronize these two signals. The ideal is to go to bed and get up at regular times throughout the week.


Install shutters or install blackout curtains so that daylight does not disturb you. Remove as much as possible any electrical device and first of all all screens, whose blue light delays the secretion of melatonin and therefore your falling asleep. Provide earplugs if you are disturbed by outside noises or your partner’s snoring . Your room is not the annex to your office, do not take your phone or your mobile there, which keeps you in a state of vigilance incompatible with falling asleep.

The bedding is important. A mattress is changed every 10 years. If it’s time to renew yours, treat yourself to a 160 cm model, or two 80-inch mattresses, which avoids waking your partner when you roll over or move around often in bed. It is also advisable to turn it over in the fall in order to sleep on the winter side (recognizable by the manufacturer’s headband) and to iron on the summer side from the first heat.

If you sweat a lot or suffer from night sweats , there are night sweaterquilts and toppers and cooling ears to place between your regular pillow and the pillowcase. Others will prefer a magnetic set to be placed under his mattress, in order to protect themselves from geo-biological disturbances, by restoring a natural magnetic field (Auris). And if you have problems with your blood circulation, consider raising your bed on your feet.


First recommended to fight jet lag, this hormone is increasingly used in the treatment of insomnia, in particular to help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. In France, it is sold in the form of food supplements (Chronobiane Mélatonin, Somdor + Mélatonin), generally associated with plants. But it is also available as a prescription drug (Circadin®) for “the short-term treatment of primary insomnia characterized by poor quality sleep, in patients 55 years of age or over”. However, in a February 2012 report, the High Authority for Health referred to “a modest effect”.

Dr Pascale Ogrizek, doctor at the Sleep and Vigilance Center of the Hôtel-Dieu, in Paris, recommends a masterful preparation based on pure melatonin, effective in helping people (especially adolescents) “shifted” who fall asleep and wake up late. In three to four weeks, this allows them to reset, provided they get up early. »But melatonin has limits: it is eliminated very quickly and makes it easier to fall asleep, but does not act on nocturnal awakenings. Prescribing it for more than a month is avoided because there are still very few scientific studies on its long-term effects.

The siest e can also help to resynchronize. As long as it does not last more than thirty minutes, it is ideal to complete a somewhat short night and overcome the sudden change in the early afternoon. No need to go to sleep in your bed, just sit comfortably in a quiet room where the daylight does not penetrate too violently. At first, if you’re worried about sleeping for half the afternoon, schedule your wake-up call. Little by little, you will be able to do without it.

Thanks to Dr Joëlle Adrien, neurobiologist, research director at Inserm and to Dr Serge Rafal, specialist in general medicine with a focus on alternative medicine.

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